Donna DeGracia

Donna DeGracia,

Curriculum Director / Academic Coordinator

Childhood home: South Korea. Her parents were missionaries and she lived there from age four until her senior year of high school, when her family returned to Ohio.

Family: Married with four children and seven grandchildren

Education: M.P.A.S., University of Nebraska; P.A. Certificate, Wake Forest University; B.A. in East Asian international studies with a minor in fine arts, Ohio State University

Professional experience: Physician assistant (PA) for family practice and urgent care clinics. She maintains both positions while working at St. Kate's.

Writing accomplishment: Authored An Intricate Tapestry, a book about the acculturation of missionaries and missionary children.

Why PA? "After college, I joined the Peace Corps in South Korea and I fell in love with working in medicine. I found out that I could make the transition to physician assistant with less time investment than going to medical school and still do what I wanted. As a PA, I spend the majority of my time in patient care; I don't have to do as much of the administrative part of the practice as many physicians do."

The need for PAs: "In addition to St. Kate's, I have two other jobs. It's hard for me to leave either position because there is such a need for PAs. As the medical care system is revamped, PAs are a way of cost containment without sacrificing quality care."

The physician relationship: "We have a supervisory agreement with a physician, but there is not necessarily a physician on site."

On starting a new program: "We're starting with core values and building medical training onto them, instead of the other way around. That's how we will create the kind of providers we need in our changing world. We ask, 'What do we want our graduates to be, besides knowledgeable in medicine and able to treat disease?' We're able to weave ethics and a holistic approach to medicine throughout the program."

Fertile ground: "St. Kate's is grounded in values of Catholic social teaching, universal responsibility and compassion. Coming from an Eastern culture where compassion is part of healing, I appreciate the holistic approach to care."

Hobbies: "I love travel, photography and spending time with my grandchildren. I am also an education coordinator for Panama Global Connections, which takes groups to foreign countries to build relationships and learn about diverse cultures."