PA Program Near and Dear
Melissa Bader Lewis was an environmental scientist, but as a college student at Rutgers University, she worked as an emergency medical technician (EMT), delivering care and comfort to patients. Her boyfriend (and later husband), Ian, was an EMT as well, and they envisioned their children following them into the profession. It’s a tradition, says Bader’s mother, Rochelle “Shelley” Bader, Ed.D. ’93, that runs strongly in the EMT community.
Unfortunately, Melissa never got the chance to see that tradition fulfilled. At the age of 33, she suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism, despite the efforts of the EMTs who rushed to her aid.
“My husband and I wanted to do something to honor the memory of our late daughter,” Bader explains. She and her husband, Barry, established a $230,000 endowed fund through their estate plan to support scholarships for physician assistant (PA) students who previously served as EMTs.
“The PA program at GW has always been near and dear to my heart,” she says. “My husband and I believe in trying to honor the memory of people and paying things forward.”
Bader, who was a staff member at the GW Himmelfarb Library and the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) for 36 years (she retired in 2007 as associate vice president for educational resources), and Barry also established a $140,000 endowed fund to support an annual, one-day development retreat for SMHS librarians.
Patrisha Creevy, PA-C ’79, says that not only was the PA program near and dear to her heart, but it also became home. “I loved GW,” Creevy says. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Creevy, who didn’t have much money as a student, worked part-time with a few of her classmates at a health clinic to make ends meet. After graduation, she decided to stay in the area. A cardiology specialist, she worked at several hospitals in the District, and her ties to GW remained strong; she volunteered as an interviewer for the GW PA applicants, a group of students she describes as “rocket scientists, for sure.”
“I like to give back, I like asking questions and getting feedback, and [I like] just being nice and encouraging to [the applicants],” she says.
Creevy had also regularly donated to the GW PA program, but after retirement, she decided to include GW in her estate plan with a gift to support scholarships for PA students.
“I just felt like I had to give back and help somebody who needed it like I did,” she says.