Whitney Kinsey, MMSc (Left) and Victoria Kottyan, MMSc (Right)
Two Yale School of Medicine Physician Assistant Online (Yale PA Online) Program students in the Class of 2022—Whitney Kinsey, MMSc, and Victoria Kottyan, MMSc—were selected to receive the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Loan Repayment award.
Kinsey’s Story: Delivering Babies in D.C.’s Spanish-Speaking Communities
Kinsey grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Residing in a primarily rural state, she had an early sense of health care disparities associated with underserved communities. Prior to starting the Yale PA Online Program, Kinsey was working as director of family ministries at a United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., where she gained a desire to help people in need.
Winning the award means a lot to Kinsey, having been turned down for the NHSC scholarship the previous year. “It was disappointing, as I had been planning on working for a Federally Qualified Health Center after graduation,” she shared. “It made me question what trajectory my career would take.”
Now that her persistence has paid off, Kinsey feels confident she is on the right path. She is not sure where she will end up on assignment but hopes to remain in the D.C. area. During her clinical rotations in the PA Online Program, she worked with local Spanish-speaking immigrants, which inspired her to take immersive language courses so she could communicate bilingually to help patients feel more at ease.
Long term, Kinsey would like to work in labor and delivery. She delivered more than 20 babies on her rotations and particularly enjoyed caring for uninsured patients living in the country without legal permission at a mobile health unit. “It was a very meaningful experience,” Kinsey recalled. “Birth should be a joyous time, but for many of my patients, it became stressful and unpredictable. My patients often struggled to navigate impending parenthood on top of being a new immigrant to our country, while having to understand our complex health care system. Providing a small amount of stability and helping patients feel like they have an advocate as they go through the process was very energizing.”
Kottyan’s Story: Gaining General Practice Experience
Kottyan spent her early childhood years in the beautiful rolling Appalachian foothills in the small rural town of Millfield, Ohio. She moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to earn a graduate degree in human nutrition from Winthrop University.
Helping underserved communities has always been a passion for Kottyan. Prior to joining the Yale PA Online Program, she spent 17 years working as an acute care clinical dietitian, in addition to volunteering for uninsured patients in Albemarle and Concord, North Carolina. For the last five years before starting PA school, she focused on ICU and gastrointestinal surgery patients.
Winning the award enables Kottyan to do what she loves while lessening the financial strains of pursuing higher education. Kottyan graduated from the Yale PA Online Program in May and plans to stay in the Charlotte area and work in primary care, which will give her a broad base of medical knowledge and experience. “I have truly enjoyed all of my clinical rotations in various areas, so it’s hard for me to pin down where I see myself ultimately settling,” she said. “As a new PA, it’s helpful to be exposed to many different areas of care and learn my strengths.”