One of the guiding principles of my life is to be careful to maintain an attitude of service in all the work that I do, as well as in all my relationships. I want to approach each person with respect and humility, and this has certainly been true in my work as a PA, whether it be with patients, colleagues or students. My desire to serve is what motivates me.
An attitude of service, this core trait of the profession, is what helped inspire many of us to become PAs. We have an innate drive to better the health of patients and communities. My family nurtured my passion to provide humanitarian aid.
Through this desire to serve, I met my husband with whom I share a family and more than 20 years doing humanitarian work. We were living in Pakistan when 9/11 happened and we had to leave the country. When we returned home, I decided to become a PA.
In 2007, we moved to Kabul, Afghanistan, where I worked as a mother-child health coordinator, provider and program developer to improve services to women and children, and as an educator to local doctors, midwives and nurses. It was a busy local clinic that served over 4,000 patients a month. During that time, I was the only female provider, resulting in a heavy OBGYN patient load for me. There was a dire need for prenatal services so I developed a prenatal clinic that is still continuing today. It was hard to leave in 2009, but it was time to return to home.
Last year, AAPA recognized my work with the Humanitarian PA Award. I was appreciative for getting an award but more so for the message it sends to all PAs. I am proud to carry the PA profession’s commitment to caring for others, whether I am in Afghanistan helping mothers deliver healthy babies or in Wichita sharing what I like to call “pearls of wisdom” and care with the next generation of PAs.
As we recognize another group of PAs for their tremendous efforts, I encourage each of you to remember our roots and find ways you can use your talents to help others. Again, it’s not about the award but the reminder that we can all do more to make the world a better place for all.