Students come to Concorde from backgrounds as diverse as they are numerous. When you chose Concorde, however, your stories converged into a shared journey - a journey to become America's next generation of health care professionals. That was true for Cameron York, a 2016 graduate from Concorde - Aurora's Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program.
York and his wife moved from Maine to Colorado on a whim to pursue a future in physical therapy after he completed a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science in Ohio.
"I knew I enjoyed working in the PTA environment," York said. "My wife and I both love the outdoors and the mountains, so we thought it'd be cool to live in Colorado. I started Googling and came across Concorde."
A move worth making to become a physical therapist assistant
York's hunger to pursue a future as a Physical Therapist Assistant started long before moving to Colorado.
That hunger was stoked when he was a patient undergoing physical therapy after herniating two disks playing college basketball.
He worked hard to regain the normal functions that were compromised due to his injuries. That, coupled with working as a Physical Therapy Aide at a hospital in Maine, helped him recognize that he enjoyed interacting with the diverse scope of patients and injuries.
And so, they moved. York jumped into the PTA program with both feet and swam strong from Day One, recalled Concorde - Aurora's PTA Program Director Aileen Paez.
"He came in already knowing what he wanted to accomplish and was super committed to seeing it through," said Paez. "Even with long program days and lots of work, he never complained. He'd approach each task and say, 'one more egg in my basket.'"
Helping others find healing as a physical therapist assistant
A highlight of his time in the program and a pivotal moment for York was joining Paez and Operation Walk Denver on a medical mission trip to Panama in November 2016.
York reminisced about the 50-plus surgeries the team performed. "The trip itself was pretty cool," said York. "I was able to scrub in with the doctors and help with different procedures. And, they taught while they worked."
During one of the surgeries, a doctor called him over to see an internal area they were working on, commenting that it was most likely the source of the patient's pain.
But it wasn't just the surgeries that stuck with York. It was the work he was able to do with patients afterward.
"All of them spoke very little English," said York. "Even so, you could tell how super grateful they were and how much they wanted to get up and moving on their new knees or hips."
Paez said, "Cameron's extensive background working in various settings made him a great candidate for the trip."
One of her favorite memories of the trip didn't happen inside an operating room at all but in a recovery room.
"We told all the patients that after they had surgery that they got a spa day," she said. "I came around the corner and Cameron was sitting at the end of a patient's bed, holding a bottle of bright red nail polish, meticulously painting her toes!"
Diversity keeps things hopping
Today, York serves as a PTA at two facilities that each serve a slightly different clientele.
He landed the position at Rocky Mountain Urgent Care thanks to a connection through a classmate.
"Most of the patients suffer from injuries sustained during car accidents," said York. "So it's a lot of neck and back therapy."
At the second Rocky Mountain Urgent Care location, York works with a variety of different patients in a more family medicine environment, helping to treat anything from orthopedic concerns to cases of vertigo.
"I enjoy working with patients... making them better, making them laugh," said York.
And York isn't stopping. He has his sights set on a different title - Dr. York.
"When Cameron was a student, he was a sponge," said Paez. "The way he tackles challenges with a can-do spirit makes him special."