For today's Member Spotlight, we are featuring Michelle Proctor Johnson, PA(ASCP)CM, a 1999 Duke University graduate and an avid AAPA volunteer.
Name: Michelle Proctor Johnson, PA(ASCP)CM
Company: Commonwealth Laboratory Consultants
Location: Richmond, VA
Years as a PA: 19
"I was a student graduating with a double major in biology and chemistry, and losing the desire to go to medical school. I had a teammate who had a father working as a pathologists’ assistant, and I became interested in exploring that field of study. I went to shadow him, and fell in love with the career path. After 19 years into my career, I still get excited to come into work. I can honestly say I love what I do. I love helping families bring closure to the death of a loved one by working on an autopsy with my pathologist, and helping to put the medical mystery into a story of events. I love performing frozen sections on a variety of cases, and feeling a part of the case in which the pathologist conveys information to adequately assess the completeness of the tissue being resected. I am humbled to have been a part of the Duke Pathologists’ Assistant program, and to have spent years in a variety of practice settings, both academic and private practice. I am proud to walk alongside so many wonderful pathologists’ assistants and be a part of the evolution of medicine. The certification I hold, PA(ASCP)CM, has allowed me to be a teacher, a supervisor, a mentor. I have had the privilege to interact with some pretty amazing individuals throughout my career, who have stretched me to be better, who have educated me on looking at things in a different way to get a better result, and to whom I have been able to teach my techniques to help in areas they may have been struggling in. I have interacted with pathologists who have written the books we learn from, who helped pioneer the techniques we use to adequately assess tissues.
I could go on and on, there are so many things to be thankful for in my career choice. The one thing that resonates in my heart is the fact that our career is ever-changing. We help start the design of a patient’s care by giving the pathologists the proper information to tailor the diagnosis of the tissue. We help research teams have the proper tissue to test the therapies given to patients to fight for their cure. We get to share our knowledge through meetings, posters, and volunteering through our organization to continuously strive to share our knowledge and make each other stronger. The AAPA is more than an organization, it is a body of people with amazing talent and abilities, and I am very thankful to be allowed the opportunity to learn from members, to encourage members, and to just simply be a member."
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