PA alumna builds on life experience, hopes to inspire other Black students to attend OHSU | OHSU Foundation

Support the Abortion Care and Training Fund. Give Now

heart Give Now

Morgan Logan, PA ’23, had a varied professional background before becoming a physician assistant. Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, she served as a birth doula, an elementary school teacher, an ophthalmic assistant and an aid in an assisted living facility.

“I’ve been able to travel the human experience literally from birth until death,” Logan says.

Logan was convinced she would not be accepted into the OHSU School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program despite her extensive resume. She admits that academics were not her strength, but her friend encouraged her, reminding her she wouldn’t know unless she applied.

“OHSU was a top-10 school,” Logan says. “I thought, ‘There’s no way I’m going to make it in an out-of-state school that’s so acclaimed.’”

Logan applied to the OHSU PA program in the summer of 2020 during nationwide turmoil: the COVID-19 pandemic and George Floyd’s murder were dominating news coverage. As a person of color, Logan had concerns about moving to Portland with its predominantly white population. She appreciated seeing an anti-racist statement prominently featured on the homepage of OHSU’s website.

“I had not seen that on the other programs’ pages,” Logan says. “I knew that OHSU is where I need to be.”

“Being a family practice PA allows me to be a jack-of-all-trades. … The ability to be personable, knowledgeable and compassionate in an attempt to alter the outcome of someone else’s health life resonates with me.”

Morgan Logan

Logan wanted her work over the previous decade to be a stepping stone she could build upon. After specializing in retina health as an ophthalmic assistant, she learned she would rather care for a broad spectrum of patient needs than specialize in one area.

“Being a family practice PA allows me to be a jack-of-all-trades. I’d rather know a little bit about everything,” Logan says. “The ability to be personable, knowledgeable and compassionate in an attempt to alter the outcome of someone else’s health life resonates with me.”

Logan was accepted into the PA program as a member of a 30-student cohort, smaller than a typical incoming OHSU PA class due to COVID-19. Her cohort was unique in other ways: Nearly half of the class of ’23 came from out of state, the class was essentially balanced between those who identified as men and those who identified as women, almost half of the class were persons of color and their class included more Black students than in any other cohort.

The class of ’23 bonded deeply and supported one another amidst the challenges caused by studying during the pandemic, but Logan still struggled. She is grateful for the help she received from her advisor, Margot Chase, M.P.A.S. ’11, PA-C. Logan credits her academic success to Chase’s guidance. Chase also supported her during times of personal distress.

When Logan arrived in Klamath Falls for a clinical rotation, she considered relocating to a different site after being called a racial slur. She called Chase to recount her experience and ask for advice. After discussing the situation, Logan decided to remain in Klamath Falls and complete her rotation, knowing Chase supported her and would back her decision if she changed her mind.

Logan was committed to improving the experiences of other students who identified as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color) at OHSU.  She served as student representative with the OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion. She also helped with admissions panels, answering questions from BIPOC students and sharing her own experiences. Applicants asked her whether Portland had hair salons that catered to Black clientele or whether local churches would feel familiar. Though she sometimes struggled to find these types of resources in and around Portland herself, Logan felt supported by OHSU. She believes the PA program incorporated anti-racism into its curriculum.

During June’s PA graduation ceremony, Logan was honored to receive the Class of 2023 Sandra Ford Award for Service and Advocacy. She had previously met and spoken with Ford, a PA with 42 years of experience advocating for the underserved. As a Black woman working in a predominantly white field, Ford offered Logan insights about navigating racial inequities while standing firm in her work. She told Logan, “You know who you are. Let the world know.”

Logan wants to remain connected to the OHSU PA program and hopes students of color will see themselves reflected in her experience. She visualizes participating on admissions panels or perhaps precepting in the coming years.

“I want other Black students to know that it’s OK to come to OHSU. You don’t have to stay out east,” she says.

In return for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship she received while attending OHSU, Logan has committed to provide primary care health services in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) for two years. Her commitment will take her to Ole Health, a family medicine clinic in Napa, California.

As she and her classmates scatter to begin working in clinics throughout Oregon and beyond, Logan is confident that the class of ’23 will stay in touch and continue to depend upon each other.

 “I’m sure we’ll stay in contact,” she says. “I’ve never lost a friend.”