Need advice about PA school? Check out these HSC students’ Instagram

By Diane Smith-Pinckney

PA students; Jana Brown and Ashley Boehm

Jana Brown and Ashley Boehm are just like sisters. 

They finish each other’s sentences. They chuckle in unison, both have male Tabby cats and both are second-year physician assistant students at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC). 

“I literally could not go through school without Jana. It would just be impossible,” Boehm said, explaining how these relationships help balance the rigor of graduate school. 

Positive friendships are key to social wellness – a growing theme for many graduate students as they continue their academics in the age of COVID-19.  

Friendships also promote social harmony. This July 30, people around the globe are highlighting International Day of Friendship to promote peace. The first International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly.  

At the HSC campus, Brown and Boehm use their friendship to encourage other physician assistant students. On Instagram they are known as “the_blonde_pas.” And yes, they are both blonde. 

“Follow along our journey to PA-C,” urges their account. 

The account has 966 followers. 

Brown and Boehm said there is a tightknit PA community on social media. 

“It’s really surprising that people reach out to use from all over the country. It’s not just friends I knew or people who went to the same undergrad as me,” Brown said, adding that this reach allows them to give advice to a bigger circle of PA students. 

The account originated as Brown’s COVID-19 quarantine project formerly called “Jana The PA.” 

“I know what it feels like to be so desperate for information about what PA students do and how to get into PA school because it is so competitive,” Brown said of the project. 

The account evolved into its current format after Brown and Boehm first met at HSC School of Health Professions in September 2019. 

“Jana showed up – and I don’t know – it was like I had known you my whole life,” Boehm said. 

Their friendship continues to grow. They talk every day, Snapchat, text, and go on many walks. 

During Texas’ snowstorm and power outage earlier this year, Brown lived with Boehm and her husband for a week.  

“Jana lost power and water – I think that’s when we got really close,” Boehm said as the two started laughing.

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