Alumni Spotlight: Julia Niemi

Julia Niemi

Name: Julia Niemi, MSPH, PA-C, CHES

Degrees & Graduation Year: Master of Science in Public Health and Master of Physician Assistant Practice, 2017

Current Job Title: Physician Assistant

Practice Site: Wade Family Medical Center

Job Description: I am a physician assistant in a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center. I see 14-16 patients a day and manage their primary care needs and manage their referrals to other specialists. I manage their medications, yearly exams and screenings.

How did CPHS prepare you for your current position?

Both my programs prepared me for my current position. My main role is as a PA and the PA program at Campbell has helped with that. They gave me the information and knowledge to be a good PA, to ask the appropriate questions and make the appropriate diagnoses. They also showed me what resources to use when I am not sure of the answer, which is really helpful. My public health degree taught me there was much more to patient care than the person sitting right in front me. I have to think about their access to other health care and transportation. It taught me to know what resources I have in the area to help the patient get the health care that they need.

How did your connections and experiences from CPHS guide you to your current position?

Completing both of the programs I graduated from made me want to work in an underserved area. I really wanted to be somewhere I could make a difference in patient’s lives, so that helped me focus on these types of clinics. I also really like the idea of working in primary care/family medicine because I knew I would have a better chance of using my public health knowledge. I liked the idea of caring for the whole patient and getting to know them, helping to reach their health goals. I felt the primary care/family medicine setting was the best to be able to do that. I found my current job through an email sent out by the alumni association, which my company sent to Campbell looking for PAs to apply.

How did CPHS impact you as a person?

CPHS helped me to develop into the professional I wanted to be and that I have become. Both programs, and CPHS over all, set high expectations for us, which helps guarantee that you’re at the top of your field, know how to stay up to date on knowledge and be a professional and caring medical provider. CPHS really helped me hone these skills and made me a better public health professional, physician assistant, and better member of my community.

How do you use skills you learned from CPHS to get your current job?

One of the main things I think CPHS does really well is to help us apply for jobs. I had multiple people look at my resume and help me with the interview process. I felt really prepared when I went for my interview and I really appreciate all of the help CPHS gave me to help me build my confidence. Also interesting, I was also asked medical questions in my interview, and they were topics I had reviewed with a pharmacy faculty member the day before, so I am so appreciative of that faculty member and their time, because I believe it gave me an edge on this job.

What advice do you have to incoming first year CPHS professional students?

Take advantage of all the opportunities presented to you. It is important to study and learn, but CPHS provides amazing lectures and opportunities for you to learn. Spending time doing IPE was really helpful to prepare me to talk to other medical providers on the job. I also took on the IPE classes on Motivational Interview, which is a great skill to have. CPHS also provided networking/social events, which is a great way to meet new people and learn about the other programs.