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Division of Student Affairs

Cougar Health Services’ Abby Howard recognized as Staff Woman of Distinction

Department: Health and Wellness Services

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Abby Howard, medical clinic physician assistant for Cougar Health Services, will be honored at this year’s Women’s Recognition Celebration as the 2019 Staff Woman of Distinction.

Howard is recognized for her work, dedication, and commitment to creating an inclusive WSU community, particularly through serving students who identify as transgender, an estimated 1-3 percent of students. By providing gender-affirming healthcare, Howard assists students in addressing their mental and physical health needs. However, Howard does more than provide medical services and referrals. She works to build strong relationships with each of her patients.

“Early on in our planning, Abby shared with a patient that she was going to be one of the clinicians here on campus to provide transgender healthcare and the patient hugged her,” said Renée Coleman-Mitchell, executive director for Cougar Health Services. “I think that characterizes the compassion and understanding that Abby possesses.”

Originally from Pennsylvania, Howard has a B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of Delaware and a Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She arrived at WSU in 2016.

During her time at Cougar Health Services, she has developed transgender health training for other providers and staff members so that they can be more responsive to student needs. As Matthew Jefferies, director of the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC) notes, “Abby has helped dozens of student become who they were meant to be.”

“I feel very honored to receive this award,” said Howard. “In reflecting on it, I am most thankful for my patients who have always been my best teachers.”

Howard will be recognized at this year’s Women’s Recognition Celebration on Monday, March 4 at 6 p.m. in the CUB M.G. Carey Senior Ballroom. To RSVP for this event, visit