The NCAPA is a nonpartisan, membership organization that serves and represents PAs in the state, and advocates for the PA profession within North Carolina.
The North Carolina Academy of PAs (NCAPA) is interviewing current NCAPA members who are running for office, and this week, the NCAPA had the opportunity to talk with Mark Hollo. Hollo is a retired PA and former Air Force Reservist who is currently running for the North Carolina Senate in District 45, which includes all of Catawba County and part of Caldwell County.
Mark Hollo graduated from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, now the Wake Forest University PA Program. He has been a PA for 40 years and retired in 2021, after working primarily in family practice and urgent care within Catawba County and surrounding areas. He has also been an adjunct professor at the Lenoir-Rhyne PA Program. His business experience includes co-owning a medical practice comprised of over 40 employees, including MDs, PAs, and NPs. In addition, he has served in the United States Air Force Reserve as a PA and served in the NC House of Representatives for three terms.
Hollo explained the importance of having a PA in the legislature, saying, “To have someone in the Senate with knowledge of healthcare and the issues within the healthcare system is incredibly beneficial. Nowadays, a new PA graduate does not have to explain nearly as much about what a PA is, compared to when I first graduated. However, when I was in the NC House of Representatives, I was surprised to find that a lot of my colleagues did not have a whole lot of knowledge about healthcare, let alone what a PA was. It’s a lot of educating the Senators and Representatives of what a PA actually is and what we can do, and the difference we can make.”
He continued, “Also, I have always thought that our name holds us back a little bit. Being an ‘assistant,’ sometimes reflects us as such and can be limiting. It does not really reflect our ability and our knowledge. In saying that, we have to work towards educating legislators on what a PA actually does and the valuable education we have. Having a PA in the legislature would mean that there is someone for the NCAPA to go to, who can then be a voice for the profession.”
When asked about his former experience in office, Hollo told the NCAPA, “When I was in the NC House of Representatives, I also served as the Chair of the Health Policy Committee. That was where the bills that dealt with any health policies came through. I was also the Chair of the Appropriations Health and Human Services Committee. Throughout it all, I felt it was very important to have PAs in the position to represent the patients and our profession as a whole. We won’t always agree on every issue, but we can agree on certain issues that are important and relevant to the PA profession.”
“When I was in the House, I was a primary sponsor and helped pass legislation to ensure that PAs are authorized to sign and complete death certificates. I was also involved in another bill that worked to require pulse oximetry within newborn screening parameters in hospitals, with the purpose of detecting congenital heart defects. Throughout it all, I focused on adding ‘PAs’ specifically to bills, just getting our name within the language to represent us and to get our name out there. I was able to push forward such initiatives, and I plan to do it again.”
Aside from being a retired PA and a candidate running for Senate, Mark also enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife of more than 40 years, two sons, and seven grandchildren. “You know, I come from a middle-class family,” he says, “My dad was a police officer, and my mom was a secretary of an elementary school.” When asked what he would be doing if he weren’t a PA or currently running for office, Mark answered, “If I had to pick another profession, believe it or not, I would actually be a history teacher.” He laughed, saying, “I think it’s important to learn from history. If not, as the saying goes, we’re destined to repeat it.”
The NCAPA ended by asking Hollo of the significance of being an NCAPA member, and why he joined. “The NCAPA supports the profession. To me, it is a natural thing to join an official organization that has the time to support PAs like us. Working PAs don’t have the time to always do that and advocate on top of caring for patients, so I’m going to give and be part of an organization that continuously promotes the profession that I have worked in.”
For members interested in learning more about Mark Hollo, he can be reached at (828)-994-4339 and his campaign page can be found on Facebook.