Alumni Spotlight: Danielle Briskey '16
November 10, 2021
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in northern New Jersey.
Why did you choose the PA profession?
I wanted to help people at the time when they needed it most and not be limited by specialty.
Why did you choose Drexel for your PA Program?
I went to Drexel University for my undergraduate degree, and I fell in love with the city of Philadelphia. Drexel’s PA Program’s mission statement was also a huge draw for me. The mission statement discusses improving healthcare delivery to underserved areas, which was something I knew I wanted to put into practice as a PA. I also had the advantage of attending Drexel as an undergraduate, therefore I had experienced the Drexel system and course quality first-hand, so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Where do you currently practice?
My husband and I relocated to Tucson, Arizona just five weeks ago. We previously lived in Philadelphia, where I worked in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and before that I lived in Key West, Florida and worked in a small rural emergency department. Currently, I am taking a full course load in Drexel’s Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) Program and volunteering at Rocky Point Medical Clinics located in Sonoyta and Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.
Describe a day in your clinical practice.
Practicing medicine outside of the U.S., especially in a place like Mexico, is much different. My role at the clinics is mostly as a primary care provider, but I help wherever I am needed. For many of the patients coming to see us, it is often the first time they are receiving medical care, therefore they tend to have many problems they would like to address, as they are also not sure when their next opportunity for healthcare will be. All the medications we have are donated, and I am only able to give the patients what we have in the pharmacy, which is often not the first or even the second-line drug for their condition. We don’t have the ability to get any labs or imaging studies, so all the patients are treated based on history and examination alone. It is a very different way to practice medicine. We try our best to help, but resources are extremely limited. It is a hard job, but it is the most rewarding thing I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of.
What's an item on your bucket list?
I would love to go on a safari in Africa.
What advice would you give to a student just starting the program?
Make sure you take care of yourself! PA school is hard, and it is easy to get lost in the course work and forget about self-care. However, when things are tough, it is the self-care that we need the most. Take at least 30 minutes every day to do something that brings you joy.
What advice would you give a student who is about to graduate?
Take it one day at a time and one patient at a time. You know more than you think you do. It’s good to be a little bit nervous, it keeps you on your toes and can help prevent mistakes.
What do you do to relax and take care of yourself?
Mindfulness is my number one self-care activity. I also love being outdoors. Running, hiking and rock climbing are some of my favorite activities to help release my natural endorphins.
Do you have a personal philosophy or mission statement?
In PA school, I had the Benjamin Franklin quote “never leave that for tomorrow which you can do today” written on a post-it stuck to my computer. Today, I would like to say my mission statement is take care of yourself, get outside and do what you can to make a difference.
What are you happiest doing when you're not working?
Traveling. My husband and I love traveling to places with beautiful scenery. We went on a two-month camping trip across the United States just prior to us relocating to Arizona.
What are some causes that you care about?
Doing what I can to help improve healthcare in low-resource countries such as Mexico. Healthcare is a fundamental human right, everyone deserves access to quality care.