Health Careers in Alaska

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Physician Assistant

Eva Sensmeier


The person…

Eva Sensmeier is an Athabascan originally from Ruby and Galena. In 1972 Eva began working in the health field as a Medical Lab Technologist at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. However, because she did not like living in the city, she decided to move back to Galena. In 1977 she met and married her husband, and soon after they moved to Yakutat where Eva was delighted to find a community health aide position at the clinic.

“I found my skills as a medical lab technologist allowed me to slip right into that position.” During her tenure as a community health aide, Eva was left alone for two summers in a row when the physician assistant position went vacant. “I began to think to myself, if I am going to be doing this work all by myself, I might as well go back and become a physician assistant.”

The job…

In 1981 Eva attended the physician assistant (PA) program at the University of Washington. Upon completion, she returned to Yakutat to work at the Yakutat Community Health Center, where she is currently employed. Eva also occasionally travels around Alaska taking temporary PA assignments. She recently spent a month in the village of Togiak working at the clinic there.

Advice to students…

When asked to give advice to high school students, Eva said, ” Good math and science skills are important. You don’t necessarily need to take chemistry in high school, but you should have good study skills and good self-discipline. Finish what you start and be sure you give yourself enough time to finish a task. Don’t have too many goals in a short amount of time.” Eva believes community health aides make ideal physician assistants. “I’m an advocate for community health aides. They’re from the community and they know what it is like to live in a village. A community health aide’s rapport with local people is so much better than with someone coming from outside of the community. I think a community health aide position can be an excellent career ladder into a profession like a physician assistant.”

During her free time, Eva busies herself with a variety of traditional activities. She enjoys tanning and sewing animal skins, beading, and preparing subsistence foods. “I love working on subsistence foods; it’s a peaceful way to pass the time.”

This page was last updated by janice on November 14, 2006

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