PA students present research at statewide professional conference

PA student Matt Prokey stands next to a poster he presented
Matthew Prokey (M.S.P.A., ’22) stands next to his poster “A Case of Chest Pain as the Presenting Symptom of Esophageal Tumor."

Four second-year students from the University of New England’s Master of Science Physician Assistant (M.S.P.A.) program recently presented case studies at the Maine Academy of Physician Assistants (MEAPA) annual conference.

Class of 2022 students Samantha Day, Matthew Prokey, Catherine Napoli, and Brittany Catling all presented posters at the event, which, for the second year, invited students from Maine’s only physician assistant program to provide poster presentations.

Prokey’s poster, “A Case of Chest Pain as the Presenting Symptom of Esophageal Tumor,” examines a case from his time at an emergency department (ED), in which a patient’s main complaint of chest pain — initially considered to be a common ED diagnosis like acute coronary syndrome or pulmonary embolism — led health workers to discover a large tumor wrapped around the man’s esophagus.

In his presentation, Prokey discussed the progression from gastroesophageal reflux disease in the man’s esophagus to epithelium dysplasia and then to metastatic adenocarcinoma. He also outlined risk factors, symptoms, progression monitoring, and prognosis of the diagnosis.

“It was an honor to represent UNE and physician assistant students from Maine at our state’s PA conference,” Prokey said of his experience.

Diane Visich, Ed.D., PA-C, associate program director of assessment for the M.S.P.A. program at UNE — who was recognized at the conference for her outstanding service to the PA profession — remarked, “We are very proud of our students’ efforts and of their representation of the UNE physician assistant program at our state conference.”

The remaining students’ projects were as follows:

  • Catling: “A Case of Substance-Induced Psychosis”
  • Day: “A Case of Fournier Gangrene”
  • Napoli: “A Case of Melena with a Significant Finding of ‘Watermelon Stomach’”
Brittany Catling
Samantha Day
Catherine Napoli stands next to a poster
Catherine Napoli