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College of Medicine’s physician assistant students win 29th annual National Challenge Bowl

On May 20, 2019, a team from Penn State College of Medicine’s physician assistant program won the 29th annual National Medical Challenge Bowl in Denver, Colo., held during the American Academy of Physician Assistants Annual Conference.

A record number of teams, 104, met the eligibility requirements for participation in this competition. A total of 37 states and Washington, D.C., were represented. Six Pennsylvania schools participated, with two Pennsylvania schools – including Penn State’s team – advancing to the second round.

Each Challenge Bowl team consists of three members plus one alternate. The first round consists of teams answering a rapid sequence of questions on a response system in the audience. Each subsequent round has the teams answering questions on stage in a Jeopardy-style tournament format.

In the first round, the rapid-fire general medical knowledge questions eliminated 68 programs; the top 36 teams advanced to the second round. That round consisted of nine four-team contests, with the winner of each contest advancing to the third round. The third round had three competitions with three teams advancing.

Penn State, Rush Medical School and Charles Drew University advanced as a result of winning their contest in the third round. The fourth team entering the championship round was chosen as a result of all programs answering 10 rapid-fire questions. University of Alabama, Birmingham qualified as that wild card team.

After having two consecutive years as second-place winners, the College of Medicine won the national challenge bowl this year for the first time. The team consisted of Jamal Benson, Brandon Kinneman and Brendan Comerford. Lolita Feld served as the team’s alternate. This team also won the Pennsylvania State Medical Challenge Bowl in October 2018, which gave Penn State its fourth consecutive state victory.

The fourth class of physician assistants graduated from Penn State on May 18, 2019, and a new class received their white coats .

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