PA grad Molly Calabria president elect of N.C. Academy of Physician Assistants

Molly Calabria (’14 MPAP) was elected President Elect of the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants (NCAPA). Calabria will serve a three-year commitment as President-Elect, President, and Immediate Past President.

Originally from Chapel Hill, Calabria grew up in Iowa but later returned to North Carolina to complete her undergraduate education at the University of North Carolina. After undergrad, Calabria spent a year living in Washington, DC as an AmeriCorps member, where she did HIV testing, counseling, and health education with adolescents at Children’s National Medical Center.  She then worked in clinical research at UNC prior to starting graduate school.

Calabria chose Campbell for PA school because of the faculty and class size. She was a part of Campbell’s second graduating class of physician assistant students.

Calabria currently works at Imperial Center Family Medicine in Durham. “Working in Family Medicine allows me to do two things that I love. First, I get to practice a lot of preventive medicine – providing wellness exams and talking to patients about how to stay healthy and prevent diseases. Second, I manage a variety of complicated and chronic illnesses, which keeps me on my toes and allows me to continue learning new things. With both of these, I get to form relationships with patients, which is my favorite thing about primary care,” Calabria shared.

NCAPA’s Nominating Committee approaches potential candidates about running for positions, and then the candidate has to submit a formal statement. The slate of candidates has to be approved before going before the entire membership for a vote. Calabria shared that she is excited about working with NCAPA’s amazing Executive Director and staff, advocating for PAs with state legislators, and thinking about the future of the PA profession in North Carolina.

When asked what goals she has Calabria shared, “COVID-19 has certainly changed the outlook for the next year. While healthcare workers have, by and large, retained better job security than many other fields, some PAs have faced furloughs and other loss of income. So, there’s a lot that needs to be done to support my colleagues.  That can include helping people better position themselves in the market when looking for new jobs or providing mental health and other resources.”

She hopes to continue pursuing Optimal Team Practice (OTP), a policy that better reflects current medical practice where PAs and other health care providers work in teams to provide patient care. OTP allows practice level decision-making and moves away from a one-size fits all approach. This policy also recognizes the difference between experienced and early career PAs, which is not currently reflected in outdated legislation, and results in regulatory and administrative burdens. The OTP legislation, Senate Bill 345, passed out of the Senate healthcare committee with a bipartisan, unanimous vote on April 22. Calabria hopes the bill will be voted on by the full NC Senate soon in order for it to cross over to the House for consideration.

Calabria has a personal goal of improving the leadership pipeline within NCAPA – to get younger, more diverse faces serving in Committee Chair roles, on the Board of Directors, and on the Executive Committee.

Campbell’s academics and guidance from faculty helped prepare Calabria for the steep learning curve that she experienced as a new PA. She is grateful to the PA faculty and Mrs. Betty Lynne W. Johnson, chair and director of the Physician Assistant Program. Calabria is excited to continue to serve and advocate for physician assistants across North Carolina!