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The Catalyst

MUSC celebrates Physician Assistant Week

By Megan E. Fulton
Department of Neurosurgery

AAPA SC House of Delegates reps Victor Gomez, from left, Megan Fulton and Chad Robinson attend the 2014 AAPA meeting in Boston. photo provided

MUSC, in conjunction with the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants, would like to wish physician assistants a happy PA Week.  

National PA Week is Oct. 6 to Oct. 12 and we would like to recognize the 68 practicing PAs at MUSC for their hard work and dedication.

A physician assistant is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional who works as a part of a physician–led team to help provide medical care to patients. PAs are trained to take a medical history and examine patients, diagnose illnesses and injuries, assist in surgery, prescribe medications, and counsel on preventive care. PAs can practice in all specialties of medicine and are represented in almost every department at MUSC.

SCAPA is the state organization for PAs. Gabrielle Poole, PA-C, a PA with the Department of Orthopaedics, is the current SCAPA president.  Each year, SCAPA sends representatives to serve on the American Academy of Physicians Assistants House of Delegates, the policy making body, to ensure their voice is represented on important decisions affecting how PAs practice.  Megan Fulton, PA–C, a PA with the Department of Neurosurgery, attended this year’s conference in Boston as one of three S.C. delegates.

This year SCAPA created the ASPIRE Committee, chaired by Rebecca Cumbee, PA–C, a PA with the Department of Urology, to offer opportunities for students desiring to enter the PA profession to learn more about PAs.

SCAPA partners with the Physician Assistant Program here at the Medical University. Currently, MUSC is home to the only program in the state, matriculating around 60 students each year. The PA program is a 27–month curriculum in which students earn a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies upon completion.  

First–year PA students have several exciting events planned to help celebrate PA Week this year.  They will participate in the Health Fair at the Dream Center’s Hope for Healing Walk on Oct. 4 and will host an information session about the PA profession at the College of Charleston, a luncheon to show their appreciation for their faculty and Anatomy teaching assistants and a bake sale to raise funds for students to attend the national conference next May.  

PAs at MUSC have been participating in the Advanced Practice Professional Task Force over the past two years.  The task force was developed to assist MUSC administration in identifying PA and nurse practitioner role definition, education and training, work productivity and reimbursement services. MUSC PA’s who have helped in this process are Gabrielle Poole, Megan Fulton, Paul Jacques, and Beth Griffin.

There is a lot to celebrate during PA Week here at MUSC.  Poole said, “It is an exciting time for PAs in our state and within our organization. Working as a part of the health care team, PAs are able to help increase access to quality health care for a greater number of patients.  

“One of the greatest joys of my job as a PA for the Department of Orthopedics is taking time with each of my patients to help them understand osteoarthritis and how it can be treated to positively impact their quality of life.”


October 12, 2014



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