Leading the Way | James Johnson, III, DMSc, PA-C
North Carolina PAs leading the way for future PAs through education.
James Johnson, III, DMSc, PA-C, is the Chair & Program Director of the Physician Assistant Studies program at High Point University. Born in Winston-Salem, James attended undergrad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1994 with a double major in Biology and Psychology. After graduating, he became an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and developed an interest in the study of medicine. He became inspired to become a PA, graduating from the Bowman Gray (now Wake Forest) School of Medicine Physician Assistant program in 2001.
Early on in his career, James joined NCAPA to increase his connections with PAs across the state. He became a member, but also became very involved as a volunteer of NCAPA. James served as the Chair of the NCAPA Public Education Committee from 2003-2006, as Vice President of NCAPA in 2004, and also served on the NCAPA Strategic Planning Committee from 2004-2006. He continues to maintain his support to the Academy through his annual membership, knowing that NCAPA “strives to foster the best possible practice environment for North Carolina PAs” while being a great advocate for PAs and the PA profession. He hopes that PA practice in North Carolina will “continue to decrease gaps in healthcare delivery for our state.”
Besides connecting with PAs across the state, James also began precepting students early in his career. He believes that assisting with PA education in that way “opened (his) eyes to an interest in exploring full-time PA education” and thinks that education is “a calling much like the practice of medicine.” James served as the Interim Chair/Program Director for the Department of PA Studies at High Point University from June 2020 through January 1, 2021, after which he became the permanent Department Chair/Program Director. The aspect he enjoys most about his role is maintaining an “environment for faculty that fosters collaboration across courses.”
When asked what he loves most about being a PA, James replied:
I love the transportability of the PA education. In my career I have worked in Burn/Trauma Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Urgent Care Medicine, and PA Education. In addition to serving in traditional clinical roles, I have worked in nontraditional healthcare settings such as Disaster Medicine and Tactical Medicine. I am grateful for the opportunities my PA education has afforded and look forward to continuing this journey.
James still lives in Winston-Salem, NC. Besides his role as Program Director of the High Point PA Studies Program, he works clinically at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Emergency Medicine and Urgent Care Medicine.
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