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Spotlight on Alumni: Kimberly Oelschlager

July 1, 2019

Kimberly Oelschlager

Kimberly Oelschlager, PA-C, a member of the Physician Assistant Class of 2012

Where were you born?

Sylacauga, Alabama. My father was in the Air Force and was deployed to Vietnam so it was six months to a year before he was able to see me in person. We traveled the United States moving from duty station to duty station.

Why did you choose the PA profession?

I enjoy making a difference in someone’s life and being that bridge between the physician and patient especially when providing an explanation to the patient regarding their diagnosis. Additionally, as a PA we can focus on multiple specialties of practice which increases our base of knowledge allowing us to be more well rounded as a provider.PAs are crucial to the healthcare system now and in the future especially in regards to patients gaining access to care. PAs have the ability to make a difference and drive the need for focusing on preventive medicine versus reactive medicine.

Why did you choose Drexel University’s PA program?

Many factors influenced my decision to come to Drexel. Drexel was an established program with a strong reputation of producing quality PAs. Other factors that weighed into my decision were the depth and variety of clinical rotations coupled with an experienced faculty who cares about the students.

Where do you currently practice?

I am a PA in the Navy currently stationed in Beaufort, SC where I practice at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island and Naval Hospital Beaufort. I am dual hatted as a PA and director of public health for three military installations. Primarily my focus is preventive medicine for recruits, active duty and TRICARE beneficiaries.

Describe a day in your clinical practice.

Days are varied, so I don’t keep a set clinic schedule. Most of the time my preventive med team and I are responding to and investigating outbreaks in the recruit population (clusters of viral gastroenteritis or upper respiratory infections), running the TB and STI clinics which are both walk-in and referral based and working in the Immunizationsor occupational medicine clinics which fall under the public health umbrella. Additionally, I do Saturday clinic which would comprise recruit medicine sick call or running the clinic at the Crucible (Marine Corps culminating event in boot camp).I have a lot of options as to what I do daily or weekly in regards to clinical practice.

What’s an item on your bucket list?

When I retire from the Navy I want to hike the Appalachian Trail.

What advice would you give a student just starting the program?

Read to understand the material don’t memorize, ask questions and seek help early if needed.

What advice would you give a student who is about to graduate?

Listen to your patients, let them speak! They have the answers to their complaints just be patient.

What do you do to relax and take care of yourself?

Crossfit, Outdoor Sports, Traveling

Do you have a personal philosophy or mission statement?

I ascribe to core values of honor, courage, commitment, integrity and professionalism. Trust is built on honesty and integrity.

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

Not being at work.

What are some causes you care about?

The stupidity of Americans when it comes to vaccines. We have an emerging public health crisis due to the misinformation circulating regarding vaccines. Herd immunity is being lost increasing susceptibility for immunosuppressed children and adults to be afflicted with a potentially deadly disease. I have yet to see any credible research stating that vaccines cause autism. Granted there can be an adverse reaction to a vaccine once given, but the percentage is small and based on my experience the reaction was more anaphylactic in nature. The reality is anywhere in the world at any time there could be a pandemic outbreak of a preventable, communicable disease due to the ease and frequency of global travel. Instead of parents focusing on “Google Medicine,” they should educate themselves on the science of immunology and vaccines.