July 30, 2021
A Full Career Leads to Distinguished Fellow Designation
March 22, 2019
By Kate Maloney
“I’m the only PA in my family,” Susann Galloway, PA-C, DFAAPA, shares proudly. “In my culture, you become a nurse or a physician. I didn’t want to become a nurse – there were already too many nurses in my family,” she laughs. But, in the early ’90s, while working as a researcher in Chicago, Galloway wasn’t sure what career was right for her. A colleague working nearby had gone to PA school in 1990 and encouraged Galloway to look into the profession. Galloway liked what she found: “This was right up my alley!”
Having settled on PA school, Galloway applied to Cook County Hospital/Malcolm X College, which was just across the street from her research job. But they didn’t accept her right away – they said she needed healthcare experience, and direct patient care especially. Galloway wasn’t deterred. She became a medical laboratory technician at Cook County Hospital; she would work her day job, then walk across the street to accrue her needed hours. After one full year of this arrangement, Galloway received the necessary healthcare and patient care experience she needed. She was accepted to PA school the following year.
Newly graduated PA
Galloway was excited to graduate from PA school. She knew exactly where she wanted to provide her skills and service: in an emergency department. She got a job in an emergency department, but just as quickly got bad news on cancellation of all PA contracts. Not sure what to do next, Galloway reached out to her PA program. The program director was glad to hear from her: Their clinical coordinator had moved away, and they needed someone to step into the role.
Galloway had reservations. She didn’t think, being a new graduate herself, that any of the PA students would listen to her. But she agreed to help her former colleagues and mentors and stepped in as interim clinical coordinator. She found the work fulfilling and rewarding, and realized that PA education was just as important to her as patient care. She has made both patient care and PA education a focus of her career.
While serving as clinical coordinator for the Cook County Hospital/Malcom X College PA program, Galloway still made it a point to stay on the frontlines of patient care. She worked part time in primary care and family medicine. She worked one day a week for a clinic on Chicago’s South Side, where 95 percent of the patients she saw did not have access to regular healthcare. After many staffing transitions at her PA program, Galloway moved full-time to serving the underserved. She provided healthcare out of a church clinic with her collaborating physician, delivering healthcare to individuals who had nowhere else to go.
Career moves: correctional facilities, the United Kingdom, holistic health
When the clinic closed in 2001, Galloway once again forged ahead. She got a job with the Department of Justice, where she worked in federal correctional facilities providing healthcare to inmates. She excelled at the job and found it rewarding, but could not pass up an opportunity in 2005 to move to the United Kingdom and promote the PA profession. Galloway was one of only 12 PAs hired by the National Health Service Primary Care Trust to create and advance the profession. The decision was easy for Galloway, who has roots in England, and who knew that she was going to make a difference. “Not only was I helping a medical society,” she says. “I was promoting our profession too.”
Galloway came back to the U.S. in 2008 and resumed her patient care work in Baltimore, Maryland’s correctional facilities, as well as her PA education work at Towson University’s Community College of Baltimore County Essex PA Program. She also found time (somehow) to complete a Doctor of Philosophy degree in holistic nutrition. She has always been interested in the health benefits of whole, healthy food, natural and cost-effective treatments, and the power of lifestyle changes.
“Go back to nature,” she says. “When our great-great-grandparents were growing up, they didn’t have a lot of the diseases we have today. They grew food themselves, they came home and cooked, and they led very active lifestyles.” Galloway recommends eating wholesome foods whenever possible, and cooking at home.
“I’m worth it!”
AAPA’s Distinguished Fellow program recognizes members who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to their profession. Distinguished Fellows exhibit distinction in medical practice, education, research or healthcare management; leadership in medicine and healthcare; professional involvement; commitment to lifelong learning; and/or community service.
Susann Galloway realized that she wanted to be officially recognized for everything she had done for the PA profession. “I’m worth it!” she exclaims, and she’s right. As an AAPA member, she was aware of the Distinguished Fellow program and reached out to a mentor who already had the Distinguished Fellow designation. She was told: “You have done so much for the PA profession. You should be recognized for all the work you’ve done.”
Galloway decided to apply. Her career is full of professional achievements, and her multiple degrees speak to her commitment to lifelong learning. Deservedly so, Susann Galloway was awarded the Distinguished Fellow distinction. But she remains a PA first and foremost. “How proud I am to see PA-C after my name.”