Joint degree Physician Associate program and Master of Public Health
Kristy Gauthier’s interest in the medical field was first sparked by her experience as a patient. In high school she sustained a knee injury requiring two surgeries. She received care from an orthopedic surgeon and a physician associate. The PA who cared for Kristy closely watched her one-year recovery, and began to inspire her interest for medicine.
“The PA performed his role incredibly well, and he was also very personable. In the months after my surgeries, he was more accessible than the surgeon, and provided a level of care that suited my needs. I was also struck by how satisfied he seemed in his profession.” Additionally, she liked the variety and flexibility that the PA profession offered. “PAs have the ability to work in a multitude of settings, and in all specialties of medicine.”
In the years since Gauthier was introduced to the PA profession, she has completed a Bachelor of Science degree in physiology, along with a minor in public health at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has also tested her interests in health care and public health by working in hospitals; first as a volunteer and then as a certified nursing assistant working in orthopedics then in gastroenterology.
She realizes that her career in health care will include care of the individual patient as a PA, along with a broader perspective of public health. “I think it’s important for a provider to have a good understanding of the population they serve, not just the individual. Improving the health of individual patients must be coupled with the goal of improving health across populations,” she says.