Veterans

In 1969 the MEDEX Program was founded as a means to bring highly trained returning military veterans into the US workforce. The war in Vietnam had produced skilled medics and corpsmen, individuals experienced in delivery life-saving medical care to fellow soldiers under the most harrowing conditions of battle. But without the proper credentials of a medical school, all remained underutilized upon their return home. By 1974, MEDEX dropped its restriction on admitting only ex-military medical personnel. Men and women with civilian medical backgrounds were admitted into PA programs. Today, MEDEX Northwest remains true to its military roots with nearly 30% of its students coming from some branch of service.

Explore the experiences of men and women from a military background that found their civilian career path through MEDEX.



Lena Redkina, PA-C

Without Them, I Wouldn’t Be Here

After thirteen years in the US Navy and reserves as a medical corpsman, Lena Redkina of MEDEX Seattle Class 50 was sworn in as a lieutenant junior grade at the completion of her PA studies. Now, she’s off on a duty assignment to Japan with the 3rd Marine Logistics Group. Looking back, she’s clear that mentoring by those who went before her made all the difference in her successful career transition.

November 13, 2018 / Veterans
Coty Holm and Anna Zakharova

A Venerable Legacy of Veterans as PAs

In 1969 MEDEX Northwest was founded in order to facilitate trained military veterans into civilian healthcare. Today this goal remains as important as ever with 19% of the 2018 incoming class representing veterans. Two of these individuals—Coty Holm and Anna Zakharova—tell the stories about their path to becoming a PA.

August 8, 2018 / Veterans
Paul Hastings

Knowing What Right Looks Like

Paul Hastings of MEDEX Seattle Class 51 spent over seven and a half years in the US Army as a Special Forces combat diver and medic. His time in Afghanistan and throughout Asia has prepared him for this new chapter, a transition from the “sticks and rags” medicine of war to civilian medicine.

November 9, 2017 / Veterans
Robert Jackson

The Mission Hasn’t Changed

Robert Jackson of MEDEX Spokane Class 20 has colorful stories to tell. Born into a military family, raised on Naval bases around the world, Robert spent his teen years surfing on beaches off of Guam. After six years of service as a Marine on Whidbey Island, there was marriage, family and a successful career in marketing. Two college degrees followed, then a gradual shift into the work and passion of healthcare for the underserved. His is a rich and varied life, and a great MEDEX fit.

December 20, 2016 / Veterans
Andrew Merrick

Running Towards The Problem

Andrew Merrick spent four years in the US Navy in damage control aboard the destroyer Spruance DD963. Essentially a firefighter, he was able to parlay the first responder aspect of that duty into the civilian world upon discharge. Now Andrew is a didactic year student in MEDEX Anchorage Class 8, deepening his skills at the service of small town Alaska.

November 9, 2016 / Veterans
Al Noriega

It Makes You Really, Truly Love Medicine

With a combined experience of 13 years as a US Navy corpsman, Al Noriega developed a civilian career as medical examiner investigator. His military medical training informed this second career, but the stressors of that job carried an expiration date. Now, at age 47, Al is embarking on his third career as a physician assistant. He has a particular passion: to see his future patients leave with a full understanding of their own role in their healthcare.

July 12, 2016 / Veterans
Doug Aguirre

A Lot of Veterans Just Have It

A Special Forces medic for 9 years, Doug Aguirre embodies the qualities common to many veterans enrolled in the MEDEX physician assistant program: modest, experienced, capable and accustomed to functioning in all sorts of challenging conditions. Soon to start his clinical year at MEDEX, Doug talks about his path to PA school and where he sees himself ending up once he graduates in 2017.

June 9, 2016 / Veterans
James Chally, Seattle Class 49

A Dedication To Our Country And Our Profession

James Chally, a member of MEDEX Seattle Class 49, has been honored yet again for his hard work and service both as an Army medic and as a MEDEX student. Chosen earlier in the school year as a Pat Tillman Scholar, and more recently given a UW Husky 100 Award, Chally has just received the SSgt. Craig Ivory Memorial Scholarship/ Veterans Caucus Scholarship from the Veterans Caucus of the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

May 24, 2016 / Veterans
Amber Huynh

It’s Just So Cool

During four years of service as an Army Healthcare Specialist, Amber Huynh performed tasks that ranged from mundane to unusual. Whatever the job was, she had the guidance of PAs to count on each step of the way. Now, she looks forward to being the knowledgeable professional she once looked up to.

March 15, 2016 / Veterans
Lamont Scott

Doing Your Job Well

Lamont Scott — MEDEX Seattle Class 49 Before the year’s end, we ran into Lamont Scott taking a break just…Read More

January 1, 2016 / Veterans
Mike Grennan

Beyond Treat ‘em and Street ’em

After years of experience as a Navy Corpsman and Lieutenant/Paramedic, Mike Grennan rejected the notion of retirement in favor of becoming a civilian physician assistant. Admitted to the MEDEX program with class 48, Mike’s plans were interrupted by an Afghanistan deployment. Today, Mike is a proud member of Seattle 49, and the most senior student of the class.

December 21, 2015 / Veterans

The Next Mission: MEDEX & the Military

This video follows four current day PA students as they transition from medically trained military personnel during the time of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, to their new careers as civilian physician assistants. In contrast, we hear origin stories of the profession from three members of MEDEX Class 1 (1969), who all came to this new occupation after service during the Vietnam War. Each generation describes the role the military played in shaping their career in medicine, and how the PA profession answered that call. Running time 31 minutes, color, HD format

May 19, 2015 / Veterans