This profile is the first in a series designed to highlight the importance and impact of the hospital’s teaching mission and the work of the MGH Executive Committee on Teaching & Education (ECOTE).

Mark C. “Andy” Andrew, a student in the MGH Institute of Health Professions’ new Master of Physician Assistant Studies program, shares his experiences in the classroom and clinical setting.

Why did you choose this area of study, and what is your ultimate goal upon completion?

I chose to join the physician assistant (PA) field because I worked with PAs during my prior health care experience, admired what they did and aspired to perform that role on a similar team. My ultimate goal upon completion of the MGH Institute of Health Professions PA Program is to administer the best medical care to every patient, using the tools I learned during my rotations at the MGH.

What was something new you learned in the past week? How did it make you feel to learn something new?

Every day of physician assistant school is a chance to learn. This past week, I learned about the unique clinician-patient relationship established in family medicine. At the MGH Everett Family Practice, patients form a bond with their medical provider that promotes long-term health based on a longitudinal knowledge of the patient’s medical history. I realized how much the patients appreciate their relationship with MGH Everett staff and the continuity of care they receive. It is an honor to learn from these highly-respected clinicians who are so respected by their patients. 

How has your learning experience been AFFECted by MGH teachers, staff and other role models?

Throughout my rotations at the MGH, I am continuously impressed with the expertise and professionalism of the teachers, staff and role models. The faculty at the MGH Institute of Health Professions are respectful and they offer excellent mentorship to the students. All my MGH preceptors were incredible. Each rotation brought opportunities to learn from qualified clinicians with years of experience. My preceptors each acted as role models during my rotations and contributed greatly to my career. Every staff member I came across contributed to my education and was patient to answer any questions. During my time at the MGH Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit, for example, the entire staff provided a welcoming experience and often spent extra time teaching me about why they chose a particular treatment.

When patients hear the words “teaching hospital,” what do you think comes to mind? What does it mean to you to learn at a teaching hospital?

A teaching hospital is an environment where the next generation of health care providers develops into professional clinicians. I know it can be intimidating for patients to know a student is present or performing a procedure. I try to address that concern and assure patients that all students are trained and evaluated on procedures prior to performing the same procedure in the hospital. Even after the applicable training, there are protocols in place to ensure a student is always supervised as they gain greater autonomy. This sequence of growth promotes patient safety and allows for an optimal learning environment. This structure is reassuring because it gives me the confidence to do the procedure properly every time.

Why is the MGH’s commitment to education important?

MGH’s commitment to education ensures tomorrow’s health care providers are well prepared to care for the population. The MGH offers students and residents a unique opportunity to practice in one of the world’s elite hospitals and learn from the best. Educating the next generation of clinicians is important, and it is only one of the many reasons the MGH continues to lead the world in medicine.

To nominate learners or educators – from any profession and any career stage – email Andrea Paciello, executive director of Teaching & Education, at 

Read more articles from the 05/26/17 Hotline issue.