PA Entry-Level: Alumni Perspectives

I am grateful for the preparation from the SBU PA program.  I continue to thrive 35 + years later from the wonderful educational experience of high quality in the maze of health care complexities. I truly enjoy helping my patients and making a difference. I see that many of my classmates also continue to provide outstanding contributions in health care.


Robin Hunter-Busky, PAC

- Captain Robin N. Hunter Buskey, DHSc, CPHQ, CCHP, CDE, PA-C

Dale Janson
— Dale Janson, RPA-C, Director, Hematology/Oncology Research Program, Long Island Jewish Medical Center
I chose the Stony Brook PA Program because of the fact that it is has a reputation for excellence while also being reasonably priced since it is a public institution. When I got out of the Stony Brook PA program I found that I had learned a great deal and that every day I saw patients in the clinics and on the wards that reinforced the classroom knowledge that had been provided to me.

I feel that being named Director of the Hematology/Oncology Research Program for our institution has been my greatest professional achievement thus far. I have always enjoyed working on the development of new treatment modalities and testing new drugs in the fight against cancer and leukemias.

I feel that the faculty at Stony Brook has always had the goal of turning out the absolute best PA's in the country. I believe that they succeed in this goal and I base this on my experience for the past 15 years as the supervising PA who does all interviewing and hiring for our staff of ten PA's. I am always thrilled to get applicants from Stony Brook because I am confident in the quality of their education and knowledge base.

Working within a team of Neurologists and Neurosurgeons has been very exciting and challenging. My role as a deep brain neurostimulator programmer is very rewarding in that you can improve a patient's functional abilities and quality of life literally in moments. As a Physician Assistant, I have been ideally suited to program the neurostimulators due to the complexity of the patient's histories, medications, examinations and the psychosocial changes that can occur in mostly an elderly population. Programming the neurostimulators requires in-depth knowledge of brain anatomy, function, electrical currents and the impact of medications on a chronic disease. My education at the Stony Brook PA program left me well prepared with the confidence and knowledge to meet the challenges of caring for patients with a chronic progressive neurological disease, working within a large team and meeting a high bar for excellence in my position as a Physician Assistant. Dale Janson
— Sierra Farris, MPAS, PA-C, Center for Neurological Restoration, Cleveland Clinic

Christopher Stoebe
— Christopher Stoebe
Family Medical Practice of LI
Stony Brook offers superior education recognized at a national level and it is offered at the most reasonable tuition possible. You can graduate assured that you are ready to practice medicine properly and confidently. Starting as a Registered Dietician, I decided that I wanted to share responsibility for the entire medical care of patients. As a PA, my career possibilities are more flexible than that of a physician.

Although the experience is intense, the faculty at Stony Brook are a strong source of support, encouragement and helpful advice. They make an indispensable difference in the course of your education and growth.

Resources at the facility were of superior quality and usefulness. Anything from the gold standard references to the latest journals were at our fingertips.

I chose the Stony Brook PA program because of its excellent reputation and desirable location. The didactic year far exceeded my expectations and prepared me for the clinical year. The amount of work required to complete the PA program was overwhelming at times but through the support of the devoted faculty and students at Stony Brook it proved to be a feasible and rewarding task.

Among all the benefits of receiving an education at Stony Brook, the aspect that has shaped me the most is the faculty's strong leadership. Collectively, they have set great examples as educators, advisors and clinicians which has taught me what it means to be a truly successful PA.Together, they were a support group devoted to the education and well-being of my class.

I remember entering Stony Brook thinking that I was lucky to be selected for such a competitive program. After finishing the program, I can now truly appreciate the exceptional program attributes of Stony Brook, such as a cadaver lab, clinical skills and hands-on patient experience.

Dara Knapp
— Dara Knapp, Class of 2006

Rick Pope
— Rick Pope PA-C, Senior Rheumatology PA, Arthritis Center of Ct, Waterbury, Ct 06708, President, Society of Physician Assistants in Rheumatology
I selected Stony Brook based on the shear force of the presentation that the chair, Paul Lombardo exuded at an information session. It was clear from Paul's presentation that hard work and diligence were important for a PA student to succeed at Stony Brook. In 1978, PAs had yet to gain general acceptance in the physician run hierarchy of medicine, not to mention general public opinion. I believe that the program really understood what it would take to get this profession going and we were trained with a clear vision of what was believed to be most important. Paul always said that you can't go wrong as long as you "put the patient first".That has stuck with me to this day and I really know that his statement of "patient care first" to be absolutely true.

The next two years proved my suspicion to be true. I'll never forget the compliments that the OB-GYN residents gave me after several late nights and tough patients. They thought I had the fortitude to make it and they even suggested I knew a little about their subspecialty as well. That of course did not mean they would not play pranks on me in the middle of the night and really put me in my place when things needed to be controlled. But that rotation served as a bridge for me to the real world of patient care.

Although I say I hated my two years at Stony Brook, the truth is that for the first time I took Stony Brook's training as important. When I say I graduated from Stony Brook University people understand the training is rigorous and there is still a sense of "the patient comes first". The motto has served me well for a quarter of a century since graduation in 1980.

I chose this program for several reasons. First, I was impressed with the interview process and the amount of student participation in the process. The presentation on the day of the interview was quite informative and moving. I was looking for a career in medicine that could offer medical care as well as provide opportunities to radically change job descriptions e.g. primary care medicine to neurosurgery.

Academically I feel the program has prepared me for practice. My experience was stressful, necessary, time engulfing, sleep depriving, emotional and intense. I did not expect it to be easy and carefree and, the program met all of my expectations. Overall, it was a positive experience and a lesson in academic intensity.

Gregory Stein
— Gregory Stein, Class of 2006

Ali Khanshab
— Ali Khanshab, Private Practice Cardiology
I wanted to go to a PA program that had an excellent reputation which would add weight to my own credentials. With Stony Brook's great reputation, also came an affordable state tuition. Stony Brook provided quality education that comes with high standards. Having to get an 80 on all of the clinical medicine exams really kept me on my toes and brought the best out of me as a student. I learned how to manage my time effectively.

In fact, everything came together for me in the clinical year. At first, I would just memorize the information to prepare for the tests. Now I naturally try to apply the information to treating and educating patients. I knew I had advanced in my education when patients were actually thanking me as a student for helping out in their care.
It is amazing to me how some of the faculty sacrificed so much of their own time giving me feedback and advice to make the Stony Brook experience that much more valuable for me. During those two years, I forged lasting relationships with both faculty and classmates. I never felt alone in the program, and now I never feel alone as a graduate.