Innovative Community Service Project by Franklin Pierce University MPAS Student

Sep 4, 2014

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Cody Pulsipher

Franklin Pierce University Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) student Cody L. Pulsipher completed an internationally focused community service project for his capstone project. All MPAS students are required to do a senior thesis or capstone project that impacts a health outcome in the community, whether through education or implementation. Although most projects are locally based, Pulsipher proposed an international project that was close to his heart: impacting access to clean water. 

After Pulsipher graduated from the University of Utah in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, he went on a medical mission to Guatemala with the Flying Doctors of America. The international group of medical professionals offered basic health care to long lines of people who waited for their services. Pulsipher met Dr. Michael Pagliacci there, who spoke about water and how it affects everything: economic growth, education, health care, women and children, families – ultimately, the essence of life. “It’s a basic human need,” said Pulsipher. “I chose to focus on a capstone project about water because of the enormity of the problem, and the crisis that I was made aware of, but also because of the practical solutions that are possible; there’s a way out.”

Dr. Pagliacci introduced Pulsipher to work that the Flying Doctors of America do for The Future of Khmer Children Organization, which provides free education and primary health care to communities in Cambodia, including access to fresh water. Pulsipher decided to create a video about water for his capstone project and named it “The Tyler Water Project” after his first cousin, Tyler Pulsipher, who spent two years in Cambodia on a service mission before succumbing to brain cancer in 2011 at the age of 29. "The Tyler Water Project is a way to leave behind his name and legacy with the people he loved,” said Pulsipher. 

Pulsipher wrote the video script and recruited several MPAS classmates to narrate and serve as on-screen spokespeople. A local videographer, Chris Cammock, agreed to do the filming and editing. The video, which can be found at , was designed to create awareness of the issue of water shortage and to serve as a catalyst for creating solutions. The end of the video asks for financial assistance through Go Fund Me ( ) to build three water systems in three separate communities for a total cost of $3,500. Pulsipher is tracking the results through an app; as of Sept. 4, he had raised $3,100 through the video. 

Pulsipher, who will graduate in March 2015 from Franklin Pierce’s MPAS program, was attracted to the profession several years ago after talking to a Physician Assistant (PA) who explained the versatility of the PA role. He appears to be well suited to the profession, already finding innovative ways to positively impact health care. Pulsipher said, “After I first heard Dr. Pagliacci speak about water, I felt I had a moral obligation to act. Here’s my chance to really make a difference.”

Photo caption: Franklin Pierce University MPAS student Cody L. Pulsipher explains his project.

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