The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has created a new public relations campaign recognizing a clinician in the field each week (for 40 weeks) to help highlight the valuable work being done by NHSC professionals. Now in its ninth week, the campaign has already documented two PAs: Kevin Mahoney, from Utica, N.Y. and Tommie Stanberry from Tishomingo, Okla.
Kevin’s story is one of a second career; after 30 years as a public mental health administrator he wanted to become a PA and work directly with patients. He learned about the role of the NHSC in his community and was excited to get involved locally while also benefiting from the Corps’ loan-repayment program. Now at a clinic in his hometown of Utica, he is getting some amazing work experience. “I treat a lot of typical chronic conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, but it’s my work with the community’s refugee population that presents some interesting cases. I see everything from TB to various gastrointestinal ailments, many of which are third-world conditions that aren’t seen often in other primary-care settings.”
Tommie Stanberry became a PA after years of being a nurse in her hometown in Oklahoma because she saw the need for more primary care in her community. After PA school, she learned about the NHSC and is now the PA on staff at her hometown clinic. “I want to expand the presence of federally-funded health clinics in coal county because this is how members of our community – the majority of which is uninsured and low income – receive care,” she said. “Without insurance, many are hesitant to visit the doctor because they fear they cannot afford treatment, which is an obstacle to providing preventative care and building healthy communities.”