Allison Mollet, PA-C, Program Director of Marshall B. Ketchum University’s School of PA Studies, believes teaching and mentoring students is a “privilege” that allows her to make a greater impact in the lives of patients than practicing medicine alone.
In her roles as Program Director and Associate Professor, PA Mollet is able to help develop the next generation of PA’s and bolster the standard of care for patients, one student at a time.
“There’s nothing like being in the classroom with students when you see the light bulb go on and they understand the concept you’re teaching,” says PA Mollet. “Teaching is more than instruction in clinical medicine. It is an opportunity to inspire enthusiasm and passion for quality patient care which will affect the students’ future patients.”
“Hasn’t Looked Back”
As an undergraduate, PA Mollet studied exercise science and physical therapy at Western Washington University. After graduation, she had growing concerns about the coverage of therapy services at that time and the limited nature of her patient care and she wanted to pursue a career as a PA. She applied and was accepted to Yale University School of Medicine’s School of PA Studies. Since then, she says she “hasn’t looked back” nor questioned the career path she chose and loves.
“Whether big or small, I want to have an impact on each patient I see,” she says. She has been in practice over 16 years and for the past 12 years, PA Mollet has worked in bariatric surgery with people who are morbidly obese.
“Many feel misunderstood or judged by other providers,” she says. “I’m often the first person they see who understands the physiology of obesity … they begin feeling hopeful and respected.”
She has continued to work in bariatric surgery in Orange County a few days a month since joining the faculty of MBKU’s School of PA Studies in 2013.
“Faculty Support is Palpable” at MBKU
PA Mollet says her teaching focus at MBKU School of PA Studies has “morphed over the years.” Currently, she teaches the surgery module and also lectures on such topics as adrenal disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, obesity and sleep apnea. She’s developed the program’s master’s capstone project as well. She describes herself as “energetic” in the classroom, working to create an engaging environment.
PA Mollet explains that the entire faculty is committed to helping students succeed. “Every student here is known on a first-name basis. You are known as a person and the faculty support is palpable,” she says, adding that there is a family feel to the school.
“Developing their Heart for Service”
Instilling the importance of community service is foundational to the school’s mission, PA Mollet says and it starts on the first day of each school year when students work alongside faculty at a local food bank. Throughout the year, students also participate in regular community service activities such as health screenings at homeless shelters and volunteering with the Lion’s Club or Special Olympics. Many students and faculty also participate in medical mission trips to El Salvador or Mexico.
In the inaugural year of the program, PA Mollet developed “Grace Miller Day”, an annual student-faculty day of service where 70 fifth-graders from Grace Miller Elementary School come for a day of hands-on, interactive learning to supplement their instruction on the human body. “Our hope is to help the fifth-graders develop an appreciation for the human body and perhaps be inspired to pursue careers in the medical field.” After last year’s event, one fifth-grade student told her mother that all she wanted for Christmas was a “real” stethoscope.
PA Mollet describes the volunteer element of the SPAS student experience as “important for fostering compassion towards those in different circumstances than ourselves and developing a heart for service.”
The PA program’s master’s capstone project also echoes this theme. Students go into the community in small groups to identify a health care need. The students then complete a needs analysis and develop and implement a plan to help mitigate the need.
“Never a Boring Day”
PA Mollet is married to a fire captain and they have five children, including 3 teenagers. “It’s never a boring day,” she says of her home life. “You’ll catch me on the weekends at one of the kids’ games.” She also loves to sing and travel with her husband. She once recorded an album and has performed in several singing groups, including one that performed with Michael Jackson. Still, her top passion is teaching patient care. “It’s such a privilege to help shape the next generation of PA’s,” she says.