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Physician Assistants! Say hello!

  • 1.  Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 03-17-2020 08:59
    To every and all PA reading this, Welcome to the Academy Communities!! I wanted to say hello to you all and welcome each of you to say hi, tell us about yourself! Over the next few months I want to get to know you, what your clinical needs are, and how I as your PA Chairperson on the board can help you.

    A little about myself: I am full time clinician in center city Philadelphia at the Jonathan Lax Treatment Center. I have been at the Lax Center since graduating in 2007 doing primary care for people living with HIV. I specialize in coinfection treating, multi-drug resistant HIV, substance use disorders and my true love, DIABETES CARE! I am an educator, a preceptor, a mentor, and a HUGE advocate for PAs in healthcare. When I am not in the office seeing patients, you can find me distance running around Philadelphia, in a gym lifting weights, or traveling with my amazing group of friends. 

    Say hi, say hey, say hello! lets see how many PAs we can get to sound off on the new Academy Communities!

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    Angela Kapalko, PA-C, MS, AAHIVS
    Physician Assistant Chairperson for AAHIVM
    Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers
    Philadelphia PA
    akapalko@fight.org
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  • 2.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 03-18-2020 08:58
    Hello. So glad there is a PA community within AAHIVM, and send thanks to Angela for starting this conversation.
    I have been in HIV care in New Haven my entire career since graduation in 1988, and provide HIV primary care, PrEP, treatment for HCV, STIs, and some general ID, as well as HIV/ID consultant at an HIV skilled nursing facility.
    My non-professional passions are family, singing, traditional American and English dance, and creative worship at our United Church of Christ church (which has had to get a whole lot more creative in the last week!)

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    Carol Amico
    Yale-New Haven Hospital-Saint Raphael Campus
    North Haven CT
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  • 3.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 03-27-2020 13:53
    Hello fellow PAs!
    My name is Gina Tomkus, and I have been a PA since 2014. I graduated from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and shortly after graduation I was recruited to join the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps. Over the last 6 years I have worked in a correctional health care setting, an area of practice that I was not too keen on at first but now am very passionate about. This is a group of underserved people, many of them who have never had proper medical care EVER in their lives, who deserve a health advocate, educator and competent medical provider. I have worked in a federal prison as well as various detention centers throughout the United States. I became passionate about HIV care and ID during PA school after listening to several lectures from the amazing ANGELA KAPALKO, PA-C (name drop). I had the distinct pleasure of completing a rotation with her at the Jonathan Lax Treatment Center with Philadelphia Fight, one of the major highlights of my my entire PA school experience. 
    Currently I provide tele-consultations supporting other medical providers on the front lines who are working in various detention centers throughout the United States. Instead of sending our patients out into the community for their infectious disease needs, (which costs time, money, and can impact the security of the institution), the providers instead contact me and my team and we have the ability to provide professional ID consultations "in house." We have the ability also to do videoconferencing with patients too, although this is an area that we are still working on expanding. The majority of cases I consult on are HIV, tuberculosis, other STIs, as well as some hepatitis C. 
    I am always wanting to know more and learn more. I am currently working on my doctorate (DHSc) at A.T Still University with a concentration in global health, and also I am in the middle of completing the AAHIVM Core Curriculum and hope to get credentialed soon!

    I wish all of you well during these uncertain times, and I am grateful we have a virtual learning platform that we can all collaborate to share our knowledge. 

    Best,
    Gina C. Tomkus, PA-C, MS
    gctomkus@gmail.com

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    Gina Tomkus
    San Diego CA
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  • 4.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 03-28-2020 16:34
    Hello Everyone! My name is Katie Huynh and I am a PA practicing in HIV medicine for the past 17 years in Philadelphia. I work in a small FQHC that is co-located with an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility. We do lots of MAT, HCV and HIV. I recently left a larger HIV practice and I am excited to oversee the expansion of my new organization's HIV care. 
    I have had the honor of working alongside Angela Kapalko and look forward to the sharing that will be happening on this page.
    Thanks!

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    Katherine Huynh
    PHMC Care Clinic
    Elkins Park PA
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  • 5.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 05-27-2020 17:14
    Hello everyone,​

    My name is Faith Richard. I work in Family Medicine & HIV specialty in an FQHC. Nice to meet you all, virtually. My goal is to get the AAHIVM certification. I would love information on that and how to succeed in going about it.

    Thanks and stay well.

    Faith Richard, MSHS, PA-C
    Doctor of Medical Science Student


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    Faith Richard
    Cleveland OH
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  • 6.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 05-27-2020 17:29
    Hi Faith! thanks for sending the message! its always great to hear from PAs around the country. I think there are a few who are working toward their AAHIVS this cycle. While it is "open book" it is def a tricky one, and rightfully so. The one good thing I have always felt is we as clinicians now need to know alot of info but also where to access the info if we dont know it, which we can't know everything. the Fundamentals book is a great start but the answers are not all there. I have had to access the DHHS guidelines a few times when taking it, but had to dig deep if it was a question about the outcomes of a clinicial trial that led to some important change in practice. so I think starting with fundamentals and then knowing big access points are key. and wildly, if you did the CMEs needed to register and they werent just from fundamentals but from some other source like Ryan White conferences or meetings, you have more knowledge than you know. I see you are in a doctorate program! which one? Im interested myself but COVID changed the game for me right now. welcome to the crew!

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    Angela Kapalko
    Physician Assistant Chairperson for AAHIVM
    Philadelphia FIGHT CommunityHealth Centers
    Philadelphia PA
    akapalko@fight.org
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 05-28-2020 16:30
    Hi everyone!

    My name is Katherine Lawerence and I have practicing in HIV care for 2.5 years now. I work for a large health system in Long Island, NY. I particularly work with a younger cohort of patients, typically those under the age of 30 in an outpatient setting. I also run a PrEP clinic in Jackson Heights Queens on Tuesdays evenings. This is mainly to engage our Spanish speaking and undocumented folks. I run another PrEP clinic in Bellmore Long Island ( partnered with a CBO) twice a month open for all but mainly engaging our MSM youth.We also care for those of TGNCNB experience. I am very fortunate to work with a wonderful multidisciplinary team consisting of clinicians, medical case managers, out reach/ community mobilization and mental health providers. I quickly learned teamwork is everything when providing quality care to these challenging populations. Before providing HIV care I practiced in a large family medicine practice in Woodhaven Queens for 2 years. I really enjoy going to attending local and national conferences and look forward to meeting more of my fellow PAs. 


    Katherine M. Lawrence
    Physician Assistant, AAHIVS
    Center for Young Adult, Adolescent and Pediatric HIV
    Center for Transgender Care
    Cohens Children's Medical Center
    865 Northern Boulevard Suite 101
    Great Neck, NY 11021
    Tel: 516 622-5070
    Email: klawrence7@northwell.edu


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    Katherine Lawrence
    Great Neck NY
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  • 8.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 05-29-2020 02:07

    Hi Katherine,

    Nice to meet you!! My name is Elizabeth Giron, and I'm a fellow New Yorker PA practicing emergency medicine at NYP. I hope to use my HIV knowledge in the ER soon enough but in the meantime, I try my best to stay up to date with current/breakthrough HIV information via conferences, CME lectures and of course, with the academy. 
    Like you, I too enjoy meeting fellow PAs through NYSSPA events such as district dinners and yearly conferences; which fun fact, was how I met Gary Spinner and became involved with the committee! Once again, nice to meet you and welcome! 



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    Elizabeth Giron
    Brooklyn NY
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  • 9.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 09-10-2020 06:01
    Hello fellow PAs!!
    I wanted to reach out and see if anyone has had experience or knows anyone who attended Lynchburg or ATSU DMSc programs?
    I am considering starting this fall and would love any first hand opinions. TIA!

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    Katherine Huynh
    PHMC Care Clinic
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 10.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 09-10-2020 10:07
    Hi Katherine,
    I am currently in my 3rd year at ATSU's DHSc program. The program has been LONNNNG and so far a lot of work. The courses are 10 weeks each, and you do one or two at a time. You can choose a concentration in one of three areas which are education, admin, or global health. I am doing the global health track. The last year and a half is the ARP or "applied research project" with is a step by step process, one painful class at a time, to do your research. :) The program is distance learning, so most people do quantitative exploratory or descriptive type research studies using survey data, or secondary type resources. I would have really loved the experience of doing face to face research with actual human subjects, so maybe I should have done a PhD- but I could not do that and work full time. I am doing this program for free because I am using my GI bill. If it wasn't paid for, I am not convinced that I would pay for it myself. But overall I think it is a very good experience, and is helping me to be more proficient at critically appraising research papers which is so important for practicing good EBM as clinicians. The online experience is well organized, and for the most part I have found the instructors to be very professional and knowledgable. Also many people that take the course are from a multitude of different disciples, so its nice to have the multidisciplinary perspective so many other health professions. 
    I have heard the Lynchburg program is a little more clinical focused, but I'm not sure. 
    Good luck! :)

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    Gina Tomkus
    San Diego CA
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  • 11.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 09-10-2020 10:40

    Good morning Katherine,

    I'm currently enrolled in the Lynchburg DMSc program, I'm in my third term and I absolutely love it!! I began in January 2020 pre-pandemic, and unfortunately my family was hit hard with Covid, I basically fell off my coursework due to a family death and the staff were just so understanding and worked with me to get back on track. They're a wonderful program, I especially liked it because like Gina said, it is more clinical in nature with the option of 2 tracks; one being clinical vs the educator one. I debated a while between DHSc vs DMSc and honestly, the price and timeframe lured me away from DHSc, predominantly because I wanted one that was more clinical based and shorter! Regardless, all the staff are PAs and either have a DHSc themselves, a Phd or like one of my professors, a DHSc working on here DMSc!! 

    I don't think you can go wrong with either choice, they way I compared was comparing the classes and the staff, good luck!



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    Elizabeth Girón
    Brooklyn NY
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  • 12.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 09-10-2020 18:34
    Thank you my fellow PAs. I love all the support you have offered. I think I decided to go with ATSU mainly due to the core courses seeming to be more up my alley- a focus on behavioral and social assessments, considering the community role and quality improvement in healthcare. This is in contrast to the core courses at Lynchburg- which are healthcare admin, healthcare law and disaster medicine for example. I will hopefully be able to give you some feedback soon and help others decide in the future!

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    Katherine Huynh
    PHMC Care Clinic
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 13.  RE: Physician Assistants! Say hello!

    Posted 09-10-2020 11:31
    Hello Katherine,

    I am soon to be a doctorate degree holder from University of Lynchburg DMSc program. I have 1 class which I am about to finish by the end of this month then I am done. I choose The University of Lynchburg due to it's curriculum which was very appealing to me. I like that the program is made for PAs by PAs. It focuses on the important stuff that you need and not extra fillers you don't. You can be done with the program in 1yr if you choose to go fulltime. I got so overwhelmed with work and the humanitarian work I do, so I scaled back so it has taken me longer than 1yr. The instructors, professors and the leadership for the DMSc program are super helpful. They really treat you like a colleague. I chose the clinical track, but they also have the education and leadership track. They also have certificate programs that you can choose from if you don't want the doctorate degree, but I would recommend that you go for doctorate. Check out their website for more information.

    Ps: I paid for the program. For me it is worth every penny for the goals and ambition I have for my future.

    If you have any questions, let me know.  

    Goodluck
    Faith

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    Faith Richard
    Cleveland OH
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