Director of Clinical Affairs
As a child in Atlanta, Georgia I broke my leg and was in traction for several months. While I was laid up, I had lots of interaction with the nurses, medical providers, and hospital staff. I was able to bond with them, and I suppose that planted the seed for my future career.
I come at the PA profession from a military background. During the my early days in the US Coast Guard I was asked to consider one of 24 career training paths. I elected to become a corpsman, a.k.a. health services technician. I spent nine years as a corpsman before entering my PA training through IPAP, the Interservice Physician Assistant Program, at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. After graduation I received my commission as an ensign, and my first assignment was in family medicine in Portsmouth, VA. For three years I treated active duty military and their dependents along with a large group of retirees. During my time in Portsmouth I was temporarily assigned to the USCGC Polar Sea, an icebreaker home-ported in Seattle. I spent six months under way as the underway medical officer, where I was the sole provider aboard a ship that traveled to locations both incredible and occasionally remote: Antarctica, South and Central America, and Australia. From 2003 to 2007, I returned to the same IPAP program I graduated from and taught infectious disease and ophthalmology.
Looking back, my career as a PA has been largely serendipitous and not by design. I stumbled into something that I enjoyed doing— helping people in medical need— and I got good at it. After 21 years, I retired from the service and began my new career at the University of Washington. In my short years at MEDEX I’ve moved from didactic instructor to clinical coordinator, and into my current role of Director of Clinical Affairs. The military taught me to step up to do the job as required.