Darci Brown, who graduated magna cum laude from Buffalo State in December 2000, will soon be training the next generation of physician assistants. She was recently named director of clinical education and assistant professor of physician assistant studies for a new graduate program at Misericordia University that begins next August.
In her new position, Brown will oversee second-year PA students in the clinical portion of their program, including site visits, site evaluations, and student evaluations. She also will teach, help chair a clinical education committee, and serve as chair of the program’s admissions committee.
“I like the idea of being able to help students avoid the mistakes I made and steer them in the right direction,” Brown said. “Each of those PAs is helping a plethora of patients, having a bigger impact than I could myself.”
During the past decade, Brown already has made a significant impact working on a team in family medicine, orthopedics, occupational medicine, and plastic surgery.
It’s been an interesting journey. Following a stint in restaurant management, Brown enrolled at Buffalo State with the plan of pursuing a career in forensic pathology. Once hired in a forensic lab, however, she soon discovered it didn’t suit her.
“We worked with blind samples, and I didn’t know the ramifications of the results,” Brown said. “There was not enough feedback, not enough interaction with the case at hand.”
After earning a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, she has had plenty of interaction with patients and their cases in primary and post-operative wound care, in making hospital rounds, doing patient education, and assisting with surgeries. Prior to her new appointment, Brown worked full time for Coordinated Health Inc. in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where she assisted a team of plastic and orthopedic surgeons in all aspects of their practice. She intends to continue working one day a week at Coordinated Health while teaching and building the program at Misericordia.
Brown is also pursuing a master of business administration degree at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, so that she can handle the administrative side of the medical business, too.
Misericordia started the new physician assistant program to meet the growing need for physician assistants.
“We need twice as many physician assistants as there currently are,” Brown said.
Over the next 10 years, the profession is expected to grow by 39 percent due to the first wave of PAs retiring, coupled with baby boomers aging and more people having access to medical care due to the recently passed health care legislation.