I Am NCAPA | Kat Dancel
Why you love being a PA and why membership in your state Academy is so vitally important.
Our May I Am NCAPA member highlight is Kat Dancel, MPH, PA-C. Kat went to PA school at Campbell University and has been a member of NCAPA ever since. She specializes in Family Medicine in a clinic serving patients with Severe Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI) and/or Substance Use Disorder. We asked Kat why she loves being a PA:
Our patients are unique because they all have Severe Persistent Mental Illness to include Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, Bipolar, etc. Patients with SPMI experience barriers including lower socioeconomic status, food insecurity, housing insecurity, decreased social networks, and stigma around mental health and substance use disorder. They often die 25 years younger than, and from similar conditions as, the general population such as cardiovascular disease, strokes, heart attacks, cancer, and complications from illnesses like Diabetes. They often do NOT die from factors such as suicide. Our outpatient clinic goal is to not only increase longevity of our patients but to help improve their quality of life.
With the opiate epidemic continuing to make headlines in the news with startling statistics of 130 people dying EVERY DAY from opioid overdoses, we realized we had to take steps to help support those patients as well. We now are providing Vivitrol and Suboxone maintenance therapy for patients with opiate use disorder who have come through our detox unit and need routine follow up. We are also treating and CURING Hepatitis C for our patients.
I love my job because we not only get to work with a diverse and challenging population, but we are constantly re-evaluating the model that we use and are offering more and more options to help our patients live better lives. We are expanding our scope to accommodate the patients that we serve in new and innovative ways!
Kat maintains membership with NCAPA because she feels that it is “very important to continue to advocate for change and be involved in the future outcomes for PAs in North Carolina.”
NCAPA appreciates and thanks you, Kat, for your commitment to the PA profession and for your dedication to bettering your patients’ lives.
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