Kari S. Bernard, MS, PA-C
On the day I started my Master’s in Business Administration at Boston University, I mailed in my application for PA school. One year later, I was sitting in the front row of the PA classroom at Arizona School of Health Sciences. In addition to my studies, I focused early on professional involvement through my position with the Student Academy of the AAPA as Student Director of External Affairs. Through this leadership role, introducing future physicians to the importance of the Physician-PA team, I found my voice as PA advocate. Upon graduation with my Master’s degree in PA Studies, I began work in cardiology and urgent care, and later moved into emergency medicine. This field allowed me to participate in a satisfying clinical practice while having time to continue volunteering through the Arizona State Association of PAs. In addition to state and national lobbying, I planned continuing medical education conferences in Arizona and finally began teaching at these events myself.
After moving to Alaska in 2014, I began lecturing for the University of Washington’s MEDEX PA program in Anchorage. When a faculty position opened up, I knew it was time to transition into academic medicine. I started as PA faculty in November 2014, and am now chairing Anchorage’s Behavioral Medicine course, in addition to lecturing on Pathology and Adult Medicine topics. I also work with the student society on national involvement. My work as PA faculty offers yet another way for me to give back to a profession that has already provided me with so many rich experiences. In addition to my work with MEDEX, I also teach Community Health Aides– village-based health professionals that staff remote Alaskan clinics– and practice in the emergency department at the Alaska Native Medical Center.