They became friends in the Hahnemann/Drexel Physician Assistant Program, Class of 1990. After graduation, their lives diverged. Ken Korber became a physician assistant and surgical PA in the Chicago area, and in 2015, parlayed his decades of bedside and patient education experience into becoming a successful childrenʼs book author.
Paul Possenti, meanwhile, forged a 30-year career at Yale New Haven Healthʼs Bridgeport Hospital in Connecticut, helping guide the hospital to recognition as a verified trauma center. He now serves as director of Trauma Services and Emergency Management.
The two returned to Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions in 2017 for the Physician Assistant Programʼs 45th anniversary celebration. There, they not only renewed their friendship—they embarked on a collaborative, creative project with the potential to save lives.
GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT
Possenti, who is also a volunteer fireman, shared his considerable expertise in burn prevention and fire safety for a book written by Korber that integrated characters Korber had created in previous childrenʼs books with health and music themes. The result: Grace & Friends: A Burn Prevention/Fire Safety Activity Book published by Eckhartz Press in 2019.
“A big part of my job has always been prevention,” Possenti says. “And this book is a new way of getting the message about fire prevention and burn prevention out there, not only nationally but internationally.”
EXTENDING THE PATIENT—PROVIDER ENCOUNTER
Grace & Friends is already in a second, expanded edition, and was featured in an educational presentation the two made at the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors World Burn Congress in 2019, among other appearances.
“This book thing is a complete pivot. But itʼs totally linked to what Iʼve done for 20 years because of patient education,” Korber says. “Iʼve been able with the books to extend the patient-provider encounter time from ten minutes to bedtime reading.”