Osmosis News

How Osmosis Scholarship Winner Mirah-Aizza Galuego Plans to Reach Further as a Future Physician Assistant

Osmosis Team
Published on Dec 21, 2020. Updated on Dec 22, 2020.

We’re pleased to shine a spotlight on Osmosis’s caring community of future health professionals this week with interviews with all six of our 2020 Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship winners! Today, meet winner Mirah-Aizza Galuego, a PA student at Oregon Health and Science University. Mirah-Aizza’s application showed us how she plans to embody the Osmosis value “Reach Further”in her clinical practice. Check out Mirah-Aizza’s full video on our scholarship page, or scroll down to the bottom of this article to watch it!

How did you hear about the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship? 

I heard about the scholarship through my email and from the Osmosis platform, since I use Osmosis regularly to help me study. 

What was your Osmosis Scholarship application process like? 

The application process was straightforward and fun! I enjoyed reflecting on all the adventures I’ve had and everything I have gone through to get to where I am today. It was nice to look back and think wow, I did that! The questions were thought provoking and had me thinking about ways I could do more in the future to get to where I want to go and all of the possibilities of what I could do next. Four times seems to be the charm for me since that’s how many times I redid my video. I changed my hairstyle several times and tried to decide whether or not I should wear my glasses before finally coming to the conclusion that my first video was as good as it was going to get :)

Advice for others in the future: the first take usually is the best take!

It’s clear that you Reach Further, but if you had to choose another Osmosis Value, which one would you pick, and why? 

It would definitely have to be “Spread Joy” simply because smiling is contagious! I always find a reason to smile despite receiving the worst news. I try to see the good in things and in people and I think that is the best way to approach any situation. Always having a glass half full kind of attitude will make most hardships bearable. I have been told that there is a light inside me that is brighter than sunshine, and a hope inside me that can get through anything and I attribute all of this to my outlook on life. Lending an ear, extending my hand for comfort and offering a smile to those in need of a pick-me-up are some of the ways that I spread joy. 

How do you think healthcare systems can reduce the amount of time it takes to see a patient and remove that barrier to treatment? 

Having PAs is a great way to lessen that barrier! In the mid 1960s the PA profession was created in an effort to provide access to healthcare to all despite the shortage of physicians. PAs are trained as generalists but may have backgrounds in different specialties making them extremely unique when it comes to providing high quality overall patient care. Having more PAs in practice means more patients are able to be seen which means less time waiting to see a provider and more time spent providing and obtaining high quality care! A definite win-win.

What are some ways you’d like to provide patients with clearer information and empower them with the ability to make better decisions about their health?

Using visual aids is a great way to provide patients with clearer information and Osmosis is a great tool to do just that. I like to use different types of visuals from infographics to videos, to handouts and even drawings of my own to try to explain things to my patients in ways that are clear and easy to understand. Laying out different options in a step-by-step fashion and explaining my thought process aloud makes my patients more involved in their care and more  likely to want to engage in their overall health.  I like to ask my patients to sum up what we discussed to check their understanding of the information, and if anything is still unclear, I try to make sure to find other ways to convey the information so that my patients feel like they have all the proper tools needed to take charge of their health and well-being.

If you could do one thing different on your journey to PA school, what would you change? 

My journey to PA school was extremely unique in that each catastrophic event that happened during the course of me applying and reapplying turned into a blessing in disguise. I think that having the mindset of never giving up speaks wonders. Never Give Up On Your Dreams and never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. With hard work and determination, you can do anything and the fruits of your labor will be in abundance. I am extremely humbled by everything that has happened in my life thus far and am thankful for the lessons that I have learned along the way. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and that some of the challenges we face make us better in the end. 

With that said, I would not change anything.


How does it feel to have won an Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship? Anyone you want to shout-out or give thanks to? 

I would like to first thank my two biggest fans, my mother and my grandmother, both of whom have sacrificed so much to get me where I am today. Salamat po sa lahat ng bagay na binigay mo sa akin. Thank you for cheering for me and continuously motivating me to never lose sight of my dreams.

Thank you also to my mentors along the way: Dr. Joni Doherty, Dr. Jack Shohet, Eugene Yamamoto PA-C, Les Howard PA-C, Dr. Rosslynn Byous, Natalie Houser PA-C, Alexandra Laursen PA-(S)oon to be C. Thank you! I am extremely humbled by all of the guidance I have received over the years and am excited to pay it forward to help others like me accomplish their goals! 

Lastly, a kind thank you to the Osmosis team for the recognition and for letting me tell my story to hopefully inspire others to reach further!

How has COVID-19 impacted your studies, and what advice do you have for students navigating these circumstances?

COVID-19 has made my time in PA school definitely one for the books! We transitioned into online learning towards the end of our didactic year which made learning new information extremely more difficult. I found myself in panic mode since I live in a studio. I had to create a space that would allow me to maintain my sanity so I rearranged my furniture to create a sense of new scenery. Having to sleep, eat, study, exercise, and repeat in the same tiny shoebox was difficult but I made it work! 

On the bright side, OHSU did a great job in seamlessly transitioning my class to online learning. They really catered to the needs of each individual cohort and found innovative ways to deliver the material. We had lectures and meetings using WebEx and I was able to join study groups with my classmates using the same platform. We would have virtual happy hours to check in with one another and make sure everyone was doing ok mentally since it was a complete 180 in how we were previously learning information. We also used a telemedicine model for our clinical skills training and were still able to practice with standardized patients virtually. Overall, OHSU made sure we had all of the materials we needed in order to make a smooth transition into the clinical year. 

My advice for students during this COVID-19 reality would be to be very familiar with the “F” word… FLEXIBILITY! You will need to be able to embrace change in order to navigate the unknown. 

You will also need to be mindful of your mental health and know when to ask for help whether from a friend or from student health services. What I found was that during times of stress, different issues would manifest. I started getting palpitations, noticed I was falling asleep in class more often and found out it was all related to STRESS! 

With everything going on in the world today that is out of our control, one thing we can control is our mental and physical health. So my advice would be to be mindful of your body and your limits. Take breaks, go for walks, get some sun, use breathing/exercise apps, EAT, call loved ones, go boxing! Generally anything that will bring you happiness and allow you to find inner peace. 

About Mirah-Aizza

Mirah-Aizza Galuego is a second year Physician Assistant student at Oregon Health and Science University located in Portland, Oregon. Mirah-Aizza is interested in Family Medicine, Otology, Pediatrics, and Women’s Health and is looking forward to the different sites she will be placed at for rotations during her clinical year. Prior to PA school she worked as a medical scribe in an otology clinic where she grew to love ears! She really enjoys boxing and spending time with her family and friends and hopes that by telling her story she can help others turn their dreams into a reality.

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Interested in applying for the Osmosis Health Education Impact Scholarship? As part of the process, we ask for a video telling us how you plan to embody one of the six Osmosis values in your clinical practice. You just might win one of six scholarships on offer: one $5,000 prize and five $1,000 scholarships are available. Applications will reopen in 2021!