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DeSales Alumna Distinguished as Physician Assistant of the Year

by Paige Hawk Jun 14, 2021

Most medical professionals work in an office, but Nani Cuadrado M’02 is constantly on the move.

A former assistant professor at DeSales, Cuadrado is now a program director and physician assistant (PA) for Valley Health Partners Street Medicine. This means that she sees patients wherever they are most comfortable—whether that’s under a bridge, at a soup kitchen, in the woods, or in an alley.

“Valley Health Partners Street Medicine is a special medical practice that cares for persons experiencing homelessness,” says Cuadrado. “The team strives to offer holistic care by addressing, not only medical needs, but a patient’s social determinants of health—other barriers that might prevent a person from accessing care.”

Cuadrado’s commitment to practicing street medicine has led her to be distinguished by the American Academy of PAs as PA of the Year. This honor is bestowed upon an individual who goes above and beyond to provide excellent and accessible healthcare to their patients and community. 

For Cuadrado, working and studying at DeSales played a major role in determining the sort of PA she strives to be.

“The DeSales humanistic tradition laid a foundation for providing excellent care to vulnerable populations. St. Francis de Sales’ quote, ‘Be who you are and be that well’ is the embodiment of the PA program and the street medicine team.”

Cuadrado offers this advice to individuals who are thinking about becoming a PA:

“Follow your heart and serve where God calls you. For me, PA school was the hardest but most rewarding work I’ve ever done. It was life changing. Most importantly, listen to your patients; they will be your greatest teachers.”