Barbour Community Health Association (BCHA) shines a light on employee Jennifer B. Parker, PA-C at ABU Wellness Center located on the Alderson Broaddus University (ABU) campus. Jennifer opened up to us on her role at BCHA and the pride she has in knowing her efforts have a lasting impact on the community.
Because of the need to connect ABU students and faculty with healthcare services directly on campus and be easily accessible, ABU Wellness Center was established in the Fall of 2017. The Center provides acute medical care services and primary medical care for chronic health conditions and is located in Burbick Hall on campus.
Q. First of all, tell us a little about your current position and how long you’ve been at it?
A. My name is Jennifer Parker. I am a Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C) at the newly opened ABU Wellness Clinic on the Alderson-Broaddus University campus. I have been working for BCHA for five years, just opening the clinic at the campus in the Fall of 2017. Prior to that, I worked at Belington Medical Clinic. In addition to my PA duties at BCHA I serve in the roles of Patient Centered Medical Home Transformation Manager and Director of Quality Improvement. My education was completed through the Physician Assistant Program at Alderson Broaddus University and once finished I worked as a PA at WVU Neurosurgery, Spine and Pain Clinic. I currently sit on the Board of directors at National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and am studying Healthcare Administration at The George Washington University.
Q.What drove you to choose this career path?
A. I have always been drawn to the service of people and love the field of medicine. Before entering college, I considered many different roles in health care, but I decided to become a physician assistant because it would be a career that would allow me to provide care at the practitioner level, but would involve less schooling, more flexibility and a schedule that would still allow for time to spend with my family.
Q.What activities do you perform as part of the job beyond what most people see?
A. In addition to practicing clinically as a PA, I serve in a management role for our organization. I serve as the Clinical Director and the Director of Quality & Risk Management. Outside of work, I serve on the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistant Board of Directors.
Q.Misconceptions do people often have about your job?
A. The more troubling misconception is that one becomes a PA due to an inability to get into medical school. PA school is incredibly competitive with a difficult academic and clinical course load. The misconception seems to be more prevalent in older patients. My younger patients tend to have a better grasp on my profession, which I suspect is due to an increase in the number of practicing PA’s over the last decade.
Q.When not at ABU Wellness Clinic, what do you enjoy doing?
A. When I’m not at work I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family.
To contact the ABU Wellness Center or Jennifer call 304.457.0400.