Graham Danyleyko, PA-C, is the Academic Program Director for the Physician Assistant program at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in San Marcos where he is also an assistant professor.
He is excited to be developing this program at USAHS and educating future PAs with state-of-the-art facilities and an experienced team of faculty.
USAHS is developing the PA program in response to the critical need for PAs. Can you share any info on the growth/demand? Also, I understand this may be the first PA program in San Diego County, is that correct?
Yes, this will be the first PA program in San Diego County. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for PAs is projected to grow 37 percent from 2016-2026. There’s a high demand for PAs in the community because of the shortage of healthcare providers, and there are a limited number of PA programs in the southern part of the state.
What inter-professional opportunities will this create for our other programs?
The PA program is going to bring a unique set of experiences that they can share with the other programs related to the management of different types of patients. PT and OT will bring their geriatric and pediatric patients in to do their clinical exams and share this experience with PA students.
For example, if a patient is evaluated for a sprained knee, the PA will evaluate that patient, look at the x-ray, possibly give him/her a splint, and then suggest physical therapy for rehabilitation. Now, what I’ve found is that during the time that PA students and PT students share a patient experience, they have different perspectives and focuses, and they come together to create a unique way of treating the same type of patient. They see the similarities and differences in how they manage patient care and both professions will now better understand how each other approaches a patient with the same problem.
Everybody talks about the importance of inter-professional education because that is so important in today’s healthcare environment. Professionals must learn to work together in teams to have good patient outcomes and the goal of inter-professional care is to make patient care safer. Many times, we talk about sharing classrooms together and students learning together but why do we do it? For greater patient safety.
How will the USAHS PA program be different from other PA programs?
We have five differentiating factors that make us stand out.
- Dynamic simulation facilities that include surgical, emergency, and inpatient hospital suites
- Traditional classroom teaching with integrative labs, case-based and simulation scenarios, and cadaver dissection labs
- An inter-professional learning environment that includes faculty and students from PT, OT, and Nursing programs
- Faculty with over 75+ years of clinical practice experience
- Diverse local and national clinical education opportunities
We’ve got these amazing simulation facilities in our Center for Innovative Clinical Practice. We are going to have an operating room and two ER room simulation suites that we’ll be sharing with our other graduate professional programs.
To do the simulation activity, you need to get the lecture on the topic, you must read the textbook, review the PowerPoint, practice or discuss it out loud, work through cases with your peers and then possibly work together in a lab. Then you take all those experiences that you’ve learned and it’s all summarized in a simulation scenario and you must react to the case at hand.
In my 18 years of healthcare, I’ve seen over 30,000 patients. How does that translate while integrating all this knowledge and skill? We can teach you how to read an x-ray, how to understand labs, and about educating patients. But, the unique part of our program is that we have faculty who can share experiences and knowledge that aren’t in the book, things that you can’t practice.
You have 25 years of experience in the Navy; how do you think that helped prepare you for a career in PA? What inspired you to pursue becoming a PA?
In the Navy, I was a Hospital Corpsman, a Surgical Technician, and then I was trained to be a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman, which means I was a corpsman that worked with a United States Marine Corps unit. I walked alongside Marines, and I was called their “Doc.” It is a very special term for Corpsman who take care of Marines. During my time in service, I was stationed throughout the western US, in overseas locations to include Guam and mainland Japan, and served onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (aircraft carrier). I’m also a veteran of Desert Storm/Shield, OIF/OEF conflicts.
After my enlisted time as a Hospital Corpsman, I applied for and was given a scholarship to go to school to become a Physician Assistant. I was trained through the Navy to become a PA in the Interservice Physician Assistant Program associated with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. After my commission, I served in the Navy for 15 more years as a PA in family medicine and then emergency care and trauma.
The Navy did a great job preparing me to take care of all different patient types but also prepared me to be a leader that can take care of students and bring faculty together to make a great program.
What made you excited to join this PA program?
There are many programs across the country that are growing and in need of program directors. This institution showed an innovative and dynamic approach to how they wanted to do PA education. They showed an understanding of the sophistication needed to put a good PA program together.
Once I saw that it enticed me to leave where I was to be a part of something special at USAHS in developing their first PA program. They’ve shown a strong commitment to developing a high-quality program that embraces values and qualities that I think are important in training a PA. I am a big proponent of the simulation component of the curriculum. That kind of brought us together. The institution has its mission and vision that matched my mission and vision on how I wanted to develop a program.
What are your goals for the PA program at USAHS?
My goal is to be one of the top programs in California and then the country and to have the most dynamic, didactic and clinical student experiences to enhance their ability to take care of all patients. Students need to be able to embrace the fact that there’s a lot of places that are desperate for health care professionals to take care of them that don’t have state-of-the-art facilities. I want students to be able to take care of diverse patients in diverse places.