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 | LaDonna Clark, DMSc, PA-C

     

     

    LaDonna Clark, DMSc, PA-C, always wanted to be a healthcare provider. Due to a close bond with her grandmother who suffered from cardiomyopathy and diabetes, she developed a passion for helping others. LaDonna attended UNC-Chapel Hill, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise and Sports Science, graduating with Honors in 2006. While at UNC, a friend mentioned the PA profession and she went on to learn more about the profession in an Intro to Health Professions class. When LaDonna “learned about the flexibility and collaborative focus, (she) knew it was the right career” for her. She attended Duke University’s PA Program, graduating in 2009. More recently, LaDonna completed her Doctor of Medical Science from the University of Lynchburg in January of 2021.

    LaDonna has been a member of NCAPA since she was a PA student at Duke, where students were strongly encouraged to get involved and stay involved in their state Academy. We asked her why she thinks membership is important. She shares:

    Being a member of NCAPA is a great way to stay up to date with the profession and learn of any state or national changes. Membership is not only a great way to serve and give back to the profession, but it also allows PAs to network with like-minded individuals and tackle big issues that may impact us as individuals or the profession as whole. Often times we find that there is strength in numbers. What I mean by this is that when we work hard together, we can accomplish the unthinkable. Team work truly makes the dream work.

    While practicing as a PA, LaDonna came to a point where she began to feel “stagnant” and felt like she “wanted to live with more intention and purpose.” That was the time when she decided to return to school and obtain her Doctor of Medical Science from the University of Lynchburg. There, LaDonna found inspiration from the professors and staff, and even with the weekly emails that ended with inspirational quotes. She remembers many, but one that stood out to her was: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” It was around this time she was inspired to get involved in NCAPA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, not only as a member, but as Co-Chair of the committee. An African American female, LaDonna shares that “diversity, equity, and inclusivity are all extremely important to me, and issues surrounding these topics do quite frankly, set my soul on fire. I wanted to do my part and try to push the needle forward within my community and the PA profession.” She hopes there will be improvements with regards to diversity within the PA profession in North Carolina, with a goal of having “cultural, racial/ethnic, and other demographics of our practicing PAs better mirror the populations in which we serve.” LaDonna believes that representation matters and hopes that PAs “will continue to improve access to quality and equitable healthcare for all.”

    LaDonna currently lives in her hometown of Shelby, NC and, for the last seven years, had been employed at CaroMont Endocrinology Associates in Gastonia, NC. In 2021, she transitioned into full-time PA education, serving as Principal Faculty/Assistant Professor at Gardner-Webb University. LaDonna also serves on the University’s Multicultural Advisory Board and as Chair of the PA Program’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Some of her accomplishments include:

    • Faculty champion for GWU-PA Program; Project Access student led competition 2022
    • Speaker. February 2022, providing an introduction to Medical Post of the Explorers Program, a national career readiness program for high school students.
    • Faculty champion- MAHEC training- Equity in the Management of Substance Use Disorders, July 2022
    • Speaker. Webinar- June 2022-Association of Physician Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology; “Diversity in Women’s Health”
    • Review article entitled “GLP 1-RA: a review of glycemic benefits and beyond” accepted for publication in JAAPA. (scheduled for publication in second half of 2023).

    LaDonna loves being a PA and building relationships with her patients, allowing her to better meet their needs. But she also loves being a mentor to pre-PA students. She shares:

    I actually love to encourage all young people no matter what the career path may be. I know the struggle that many may face rather it be finances, coming from a single parent home, being a first-generation college kid, or being told by your guidance counselor that you need to have a backup plan. I want to remind people that it’s not how you start, but how you finish. These young people are our future and I want to help them set and achieve their goals in any way that I can.

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