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A Leader Down in the Trenches: Meet Department Chair Patrick Auth

October 15, 2012

Drexel’s Physician Assistant Program, which is known for its diversity, mission, community engagement, and outstanding curriculum, owes much of its success to a leader who never stops innovating. Patrick Auth, PhD, MS, PA-C, Associate Clinical Professor and Physician Assistant Department Chair, believes wholeheartedly that the methodologies and approaches used by the program’s instructors have had a significant impact in each student’s achievement during the program and beyond.

Upon completing Drexel’s PA Program (then belonging to Hahnemann University), Auth began his career as a Physician Assistant at Germantown Orthopedics in Philadelphia. Soon after, he transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital in North Philadelphia, where he would spend the next 15 years. “My professional mission has always been to provide care to the underserved. The patients at St. Joseph’s came from an underserved community, so that is a major thread in my professional experience as an educator,” Dr. Auth said. Up until last year, he was still working in a clinical capacity at St. Agnes Hospital in emergency medicine in addition to being an instructor. Auth has been teaching in the PA Program for more than 20 years.

Drexel’s Program has long been mission-driven with a special focus on serving the underserved. Each year, all juniors in the program are required to complete a rotation in one of these communities, as well as give a health education presentation. Auth noted that Drexel’s curriculum, which promotes cultural competency, violence and disease prevention, and geriatrics, is especially unique compared to those of other colleges and universities. “We want faculty to reflect the diversity of our student body. We view students as partners in education, and our goal is to help them find the skill sets to surpass their personal standards,” he added. “We go about our business and as a result, do great things without even knowing it. We aren’t afraid to make curricular changes based on what our patients need, and are always reassessing our curriculum to meet the needs of the next generation.”

Auth is a humble leader and his colleagues in the Department describe him as reluctant to tout his own accomplishments. Clinical professor Nina Multak said, “Pat is a leader who leads by example. He’s been involved in PA education for a long time and is also an alumnus of this very program. He uses his initiative and history here to create a strong network and move us forward. As Program Director, the network he has built here defines his leadership.”

Assistant clinical professors Gretchen Fox and Rosalie Coppola said, “Pat is tremendously supportive of both students and faculty and he’s one of the main reasons that we’re all still working here. He is working hard all of the time and gets down in the trenches with the rest of us. He is always advocating for the PA profession. He also commits to teaching during the first quarter so that he can get to know each student from the beginning. He’s not just the director; he’s developed this community and makes all of us leaders.”