Visits to the Stead Center are by appointment only. Please call the NCAPA office for more information. Read More »

Visits to the Stead Center are by appointment only. Please call the NCAPA office for more information. Read More »

The Pulse

  • Leading the Way | Andrea McKinnond, PA-C

    North Carolina PAs leading the way.

    Andrea McKinnond, PA-C, is one of the Co-Chairs of the NCAPA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She was born and raised in Fort Pierce, Florida. Upon graduating high school, Andrea joined the US Air Force and served active duty for seven years while trying to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. While serving in the Air Force, Andrea’s mentor, Colonel Chapman, exposed her to many different medical professions and, when given the opportunity to shadow a PA, she new she had found her path. After her military service, Andrea attended Florida State University and graduated with a degree in Biology in 2008. A few years later, she moved to North Carolina to attend the Wake Forest University PA program, graduating in 2015.

    NCAPA membership began for Andrea as a PA student and she has maintained her membership ever since. Her initial reasons for membership were access to NCAPA conference discounts and for networking opportunities. Yet, as she learned more about NCAPA, she realized that “NCAPA membership means you have a say in the direction our profession takes, right where we live and practice medicine. There is a lot that we take for granted that didn’t just happen without PAs listening, discussing, advocating, and innovating (at the end of the day) for the benefit of our patients.”  As time went on, Andrea “was drawn to serving on committees in order to advocate for our profession and the patients we serve.” She spent some time with NCAPA Executive Director Emily Adams, who had reached out to discuss how Andrea might get involved in the creation of an NCAPA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. Andrea was “already a champion for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion and was involved in efforts in around the hospital” where she works. When Emily shared the impact that Andrea could have on NCAPA’s DE&I efforts and was assured that “staff support would be there to lighten load,” she was sold and has been Co-Chair of the committee since.

    Andrea has great hopes for the PA profession in North Carolina. She “would like to see us continue to move towards less restrictive PA practice laws” and “would like to see our scope of practice expand as we continue to collaborate with our physician colleagues to increase access to quality healthcare for our patients.” Andrea also believes strongly that “it is crucial that we have a mindset that revolves around justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI). To that end, we should work to increase the diversity of our practicing PAs.” The DE&I committee is already working to increase PA diversity with outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and they are also working to have NCAPA CME include “components of JEDI (including Social Drivers of Health) woven into it.” She believes that “PAs are serving an increasingly diverse patient population and should be the leaders when it comes to impacting the health disparities we see in marginalized populations.”

    Andrea still lives in Winston-Salem, because she “fell in love with the community and always knew (she) wanted to remain connected to the PA program” there. She completed a fellowship in Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Medicine at Atrium Health- Wake Forest Baptist in 2016 and still practices there today. When asked what she loves most about being a PA, Andrea shares:

    It is so hard to choose one thing I love about being a PA because there are so many great things about our profession/calling. I mean WE have enviable flexibility to practice in any and every subspecialty which has given PAs freedom to change specialties during the pandemic if they needed to. Owing to leaders who have come before us, we have gained respect and recognition among our patients who are now more likely to say “I want to see the PA” when they schedule their appointments. That is huge! I love that WE are advocates at heart and are always looking for ways to decrease barriers to accessible and quality care by talking to our state and local legislators. And, I love that WE are trailblazers. We are not just in the clinic and the classroom. You are now seeing more of us in upper management because WE can do it all!

     

     

     

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