MUSC The Catalyst
MUSC arial view


MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants Catalyst PDF File MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause

MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause


PA Week celebrates vital role in health care system

Oct. 6 marks the start of Physician Assistant Week, a celebration of the PA profession’s vital role in the health care system.
Physician assistants (PA) often are confused with nurse practitioners or doctors because many people are unaware of their role in health care; however, a PA is neither of these things. PAs work alongside doctors to make sure patients get the most efficient and effective care possible, and thus they are a necessary component of the teamwork approach to health care. They are trained under the medical model and are licensed and certified to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications. They can practice in any field from primary care to dermatology, and they are widely used in subspecialties, the emergency room, and women’s health.
The PA Class of 2012 will celebrate PA Week with several events. The week is themed, “Celebrating PAs who transform health care,” and will conclude Oct. 12.

  • Friday, Oct. 8: interprofessional breakfast for first year medical students, 8 - 9 a.m., College of Health Professions Building A; blood pressure screening and awareness booth, 2 - 7 p.m. at the Citadel Mall
  • Saturday, Oct. 9: PA Awareness Walk, 11 a.m. - noon, downtown Charleston; Keep Charleston Beautiful, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m., Waterfront Park at the pineapple fountain
  • Sunday, Oct. 10 - Oct. 14: SCAPA State Conference at Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms 
  • Oct. 11: silent auction and awards ceremony 
Phenomenal PA Award
Nominations for the Phenomenal PA Award, either MUSC employees or graduates of the MUSC program and working in the Tri-county, were accepted through Sept. 24.  The PA class voted for Merriman Dowdle, PA (candidate), as the recipient of the Phenomenal PA Award.
Merriman Dowdle

Her nomination read in part: “…We have had the opportunity to work with many physician assistants from the MUSC program, and they have all been outstanding.  One PA has been an absolute standout from the moment she was hired to the Division of GI and Hepatology in 2006.  Merriman Dowdle joined our division to help with the growing volume of patients in Gastroenterology (GI). We soon learned that Merriman was not only a brilliant PA, but had a unique gift for dealing with GI patients. In addition, she demonstrated a desire to focus her efforts not only in general GI, but also on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Regional physicians who manage IBD see her as a valued colleague, and her opinion in the clinical matters of these patients is highly regarded. She has been a great asset to our IBD program and to physicians with IBD specialities, and because of her expertise in this difficult area of GI, she has been invited to give many regional lectures concerning the topic.  She was instrumental in founding our biologics infusion program for IBD, and has continued to manage our infusion practice for more than 150 patients. She also plays an important role in teaching GI fellows how to infuse and manage biologic medications in IBD patients. Finally, no comments about Merriman would be complete without mentioning her commitment to the PA Program at MUSC. She lectures in the PA school curriculum and often serves as a mentor to students. In conclusion, when we were asked for a recommendation for a phenomenal PA who trained at MUSC, the choice came quite easily.  She is recognized as not only an important PA and key faculty member within the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, but also an important colleague in the GI community throughout the state. The MUSC PA Program should be very proud of her accomplishments.”

Friday, Oct. 8, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.