We kick this podcast off with the who, what, where, when, and why of this work including our passions and our purpose.
Welcome to the PA Path Podcast where prospective PAs, PA students, and current PAs can learn more about the profession and the paths that PAs take to serve their communities. The podcast team will be interviewing leaders from around the world to help us all understand how to navigate the journey to becoming a certified PA and to better understand the PA profession.
The purpose of this podcast is to provide news and information on the PA profession and is for informational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and guests and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of the University of Arizona.
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Welcome to this episode of the PA path podcast. I'm your host, Kevin Lohenry. And we're glad you could join us as we seek to better understand the PA profession.
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Hello from the Trojan pa Studios in Los Angeles, California. And thank you for joining us today on the PA path podcast, we thought it would be a good idea to start our first episode with the five W's in no particular order, the who, what, where, when, and most importantly, why. So our listeners could catch a glimpse of our purpose, our passion, our presence. And our point. Starting a podcast was not high on our list of things to do in 2021. Let's face it, we are just starting to come out of a global pandemic. And our priorities are really focused on returning to some sense of normalcy. And starting a podcast is not returning to normal. But over the past year, myself and several of my colleagues started to recognize some trends within the PA profession that concerned us. We were starting to see more and more applicants to the profession who were submitting applications that lacked substance. And there were some repeating styles or stories that seem to be seeping through the mass of applications. And exploring these issues and speaking candidly with applicants, we developed clarity regarding the number of consultants who are offering their expert insights into applying to PA programs for a fee that some of these consultants offer free services to entice the applicants to spend time in their website. And applicants have indicated that they take advantage of these free resources. But those with the financial means to go further often do. Get the expert consultants rarely, if ever, have the level of expertise that we believe will benefit applicants. In reviewing the profiles the experts are typically PDAs who have made it through PA school. But they're not pa educators who have taught TAs or spent time on admissions committees selecting PDAs for the programs. Ironically, the PA profession has a long standing history have priding itself on the unique nature of each program. And each program will often have some unique aspect of the curriculum or purpose that influences the admissions process. So a cookie cutter approach may not be the best use of time or money. The other issue that applicants face is where to spend their hard earned dollars. Applicants are already faced with chasing down prerequisite courses to meet the unique demands of their favorite programs, while also attempting to maintain the best possible grades to shine. They are volunteering in health care community settings to build a portfolio of service to highlight their commitment to communities. They're working in hospitals, clinics are riding on ambulances as EMTs to build their clinical hours. So their time, energy and money are extremely valuable. And in many cases, they and their families rely upon that money to survive. So we felt it would be a good use of our time to build a podcast that applicants could rely upon that is authentic, and provides the most accurate information available from experts in the field, who sit on those admissions committees and who lead the 273 accredited programs. Who better to guide prospective pa applicants and the people who make the final decisions on their classes each year. Our experts, our PA educators and leaders who will provide insights into the profession and will share what makes a great applicant for their programs. They will share insights into their programs and what makes them unique. And we will provide information from reliable sources on how to best position yourself to successfully enter the PA profession. We will also highlight the various paths that PA is taking their careers including leadership roles, clinical specialties, and even careers outside of the profession that were the result of a career as a PA and we will interview international leaders as well who will provide insights into the ever growing profession globally. For those who are unfamiliar, a PA is a physician assistant, but we typically just use PA. According to the American Academy of PA We are medical professionals who diagnose illness and develop and manage treatment plans. But in truth, we are far more complex than that.
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PDAs provide life saving care to hundreds of 1000s of patients worldwide every year. PDAs care for patients by taking medical histories, conducting physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic studies and diagnosing and treating illness. They develop treatment plans prescribe medications counseled patients on preventive care Perform a multitude of medical procedures and assist in surgery. Pa can work in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, long term care homes, and PA is even worked in the White House caring for the President, Vice President, their families and the staff. There are a PA worldwide in the embassies of the United States, caring for diplomats and the PA profession is growing in other countries around the world. Pa is have served in our US military since the inception of the profession in the mid 1960s. And we even have a PA serving in the United States Congress. So what expertise do I bring to the podcast? Well, truthfully, this is my first one, so probably not much. But I've had 50 plus years of experience in life with a variety of things that may contribute to an entertaining experience. Okay, entertaining may be a stretch, but let's suffice to say, I have tinkered in many aspects of digital media, including building websites, design work, and recording music as a guitarist and a piano player. I also claim fame to a lineage of work in radio with my father, who was a DJ on the Armed Forces Radio Network in the 1950s, while serving in Elmendorf Alaska, so hopefully I inherited his radio voice. The aspect I hope to offer to the podcast the most is my 25 years of experience as a PA, a PA educator, a program director and a leader. I became a PA in 1996, following seven years in the United States Navy. As a search and rescue Hospital Corpsman, I met my first pa in the Navy while stationed in South Weymouth, Massachusetts. And after working with a PA during those years, I never lost the bug to join the profession. It took me a while to decide to leave the Navy to pursue an education as a PA, as the Navy had their own PA program, which seemed logical to consider. But when I realized they would lock me in for another four to six years in the service for the possibility not reality of entering their school, I felt I had a better chance was civilian programs. I graduated from PA school and immediately began practicing internal medicine with a group of three internists at A West Suburban clinic in Wheaton, Illinois. The job included hospital rounds on all of our patients and an outpatient schedule where I typically saw 18 to 25 patients each day. ternal medicine is a complex field that cares for adults from the age of 13 to 100 plus, and the older patients are often coming in with simple issues but complex medical histories that keep us on our toes. The practice was run by an outstanding group of physicians who placed a priority on great compassionate care for patients. So I was truly fortunate to work alongside these brilliant people who entered medicine for the right reasons. A few years later, I began to precept students from a local program and began to develop a love for teaching, which led to a part time role as a PA educator, and ultimately a full time career leading PA programs. Currently, I
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serve as the Associate Dean for Graduate Student Affairs at the Keck School of Medicine's health and biomedical sciences education team for the University of Southern California. My main role is to lead the division of PA studies where we have housed a PA program since 1972. And in that role, I have had the privilege of meeting and counseling hundreds of prospective applicants and their journey to become a PA. My pa career has been an incredible gift particularly for someone who initially thought they might become a physical therapist. I had never heard of the PA profession before the Navy and yet here I am 25 to 30 years later, having found a career and a job that I love nearly every day. It is a privilege to care for people in need. And that privilege carried over to educating PA students who go on to provide great care for our communities. I've also been honored to serve our profession on several national organizational boards and committees including my role as president for the physician assistant Education Association, and as director large for the National Commission on certification of Physician Assistants. These two organizations gave me plenty of opportunities to grow as a professional. And I hope to bring you a variety of national leaders to this podcast, so you can learn where we are heading as a profession. You can learn about issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion for the profession, how to provide equitable care across this world, and many many other topics. For now, suffice to say we are starting a journey together to learn more about the PA profession. If we are successful, we will probably have provided the over 20,000 prospective pa applicants that are applying to PA schools annually with valuable information about the path to becoming a PA including the programs, the leaders, the specialties and the experts who can not only help them identify their path to the profession, but will also hopefully provide key strategies on how to successfully navigate the curriculum. Once they have been accepted, join us next time as we meet three students in various stages of their path with a first year, second year, and third year student who just graduated and passed her national certification exam. They will share their strategies to get into PA school and the strategies to be successful while they were in PA school. Until next time, I wish you success with whatever path you are heading towards in life. And thank you for joining us
Associate Dean for Graduate Student Affairs; Clinical Professor and Director
Kevin Lohenry, PhD, PA-C, Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, currently serves as the Associate Dean of Graduate Student Affairs and Director for the Division of Physician Assistant Studies at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Dr. Lohenry was a practicing PA in Family and Internal Medicine providing inpatient and outpatient services to his patients. Dr. Lohenry has served as a Director at Large on the Board of Directors for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and served as President of the Physician Assistant Education Association in 2011. From 2012-2013 he served on First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Initiative focusing on military veterans and families. Dr. Lohenry has received numerous federal grants focusing on interprofessional education and practice and many state funded grants focusing on the PA workforce and diversity. He has published in the Journal of Physician Assistant Education, the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and Medical Education Online. He is the host of the PA Path Podcast that focuses on leveling the playing field for all applicants and he is a veteran of the United States Navy.