November 16, 2020 – Jordan Minugh ’20 has always loved medicine and knew she would pursue it as a career. What she didn’t know upon enrolling at UTSA is that she would find an unorthodox path to medicine – and earn a major scholarship along the way.
Minugh didn’t discover the field of public health until her second year at UTSA, but once she did, it put everything together for her.
“Public health is not just the straight science part of medical studies,” she said. “It includes things like sociology, and you learn about all the disparities happening in the world right now. Having a public health background made me a better provider overall.”
That’s not to say there was no practice for medical studies. In her third year, Minugh conducted an independent study, guided by professor Erica Wallace, on vaccine-preventable diseases.
“Jordan was truly one of the brightest and most empathetic students I’ve worked with at UTSA,” Wallace said. “She was earnest in her desire to prepare herself to be a great physician assistant, and I am very proud of her and everything she will accomplish.”
Minugh is now pursuing Physician Assistant studies at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Because of her dedication to serving communities in need and her academic achievements, her education is being funded entirely by the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).
The NHSC Scholarship Program awards scholarships to students pursuing eligible primary care health professions training. In return, scholars commit to provide primary health care services in Health Professional Shortage Areas.
“To me, as a Public Health major, that’s my dream,” Minugh said. “It was a win-win, because I want to do that anyway.”
Minugh will pick her service area next year before she enters her clinicals. She’s looking forward to serving those in need, especially if her service area is local to the city she was born and raised in.
“Medicine is great in a lot of ways, there’s a lot of potential for making a high salary,” she said. “But you shouldn’t be in medicine if you don’t want to help people. I want to provide access to care to people who need it most.”
Her physician assistant studies are demanding, but she credits her time at UTSA for giving her a solid foundation. “If anyone is wanting to be a PA, I would highly recommend majoring in Public Health,” Minugh said. “It’s going to make you a better provider in the long run. You’ll have a more well-rounded education and will understand the communities that are really needing this healthcare. You’re going to be able to understand all the disparities. You’re going to have a deeper understanding of the people you’ll be treating.”
And to Minugh, that’s what really counts – and that’s what medicine is all about. “If I can actually help people and make a difference in these communities, there’s no price on that. That’s what has always kept me motivated even when it’s hard – knowing that I’m going to be able to help people that truly need it one day.”