Alumnus advances the physician assistant profession locally and nationally
July 03, 2023
July 03, 2023
“Receiving the phone call that I had officially been elected was an amazing feeling,” he said. “Having won and lost elections before, that evening awaiting the phone call was an anxious one. There is tremendous relief and excitement with the good news. There is some momentary disbelief that it is real, but then the excitement sets in with the realization that I will have the amazing opportunity to represent my profession at a national level.”
When Prevelige first enrolled in college, he was pursuing an undergraduate degree in teaching. Halfway through his college journey, he felt compelled to pursue medical school.
“After graduation, I had a couple more prerequisite courses to take before applying,” said Prevelige. “As I did so, I was working in an inpatient drug and alcohol detox unit. I encountered two physician assistants there, one of whom took the time to speak with me and tell me about his journey. I was instantly intrigued, and I knew that would be the life for me.”
Prevelige is currently the associate advanced practice provider leader in the emergency department at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut, the same hospital he’s worked in since 2009 after earning his first degree from Quinnipiac. He works with physician and nursing leadership to ensure the department is providing high-quality care to patients, he said. He has also been working per diem for Connecticut Children’s since 2010. From 2012 to 2015, he worked for St. Vincent’s Medical Center’s emergency department as well as in liberation programs from 2010 to 2013, where he provided mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
Throughout his career, Prevelige has been heavily involved in working with the Connecticut Academy of PAs (ConnAPA) on multiple committees. These include the conference planning and education committee, the constitution and bylaws committee, the nomination committee and the legislative committee.
He additionally served ConnAPA as director at large, vice president, president and immediate past president for the board of directors. After serving ConnAPA, he then served the AAPA’s Board of Directors as Director at Large and the House Delegates, holding multiple positions. Despite the work and advocacy he’s done for the ConnAPA and AAPA, his most memorable accomplishments were the ones where he's connected with his patients.
“The moments where I have held someone's hand, hugged them or cried alongside them in difficult moments never leave me and help remind me that I too am human,” said Prevelige. “That reminder is what makes me a better care provider. Working with the same inner-city, underserved population for the last 14 years has allowed me to care for multi-generational families. I have seen children grow and even have their own children. I have created bonds with my patients where we both are happy to see each other and catch up on life."
As the next president of the AAPA, Prevelige hopes to provide more opportunities for PAs.
“The AAPA is at an exciting point in the existence of our profession,” he said. “States are continuing to successfully advocate for changes to statutes and regulations that increase patient access to care and eliminate administrative burdens that hinder the ability of PAs and physicians to be as productive and impactful as possible. My goal is to continue those efforts by working closely with the state chapters to help them achieve their goals. Our profession is in the midst of an exciting branding campaign, to ensure that everyone is aware of how well-educated and able PAs are to provide care. I aspire to work with other healthcare leaders and various stakeholders to ensure that when they think of healthcare and access, they are thinking of PAs. I would like to see membership numbers continue to grow by evaluating and growing our efforts to increase the recruitment of new graduates and early career members. Lastly, there are still a number of areas at the federal level that can be addressed to be more inclusive of PAs to ensure that our patients have unencumbered access to care.”
Throughout his career, Prevelige has attended multiple AAPA leadership and advocacy summits at Capitol Hill, where he spoke with legislators and their staff on various PA matters.
“Such matters have included increased access to diabetic shoes, home health care, Medicare payment adjustments and worker's compensation coverage,” said Prevelige. “The government is not known for its expediency, so some of the issues that have been worked on over the years persist as areas that patients do not yet have full access to, but others have been successful, such as increased access to home health and hospice care, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and appropriate payer reimbursement.”
According to Prevelige, each experience he’s acquired influenced him in succeeding and growing as a PA and leader.
“I have had the great fortune of working alongside incredible individuals," he said. "Each one has had something to offer me to make me better. I have made many mistakes along the way, but I have learned from each one of them. That growth is what has shaped me as a leader and put me in a position where I feel comfortable taking on this position as AAPA President. One of the most important lessons I have learned is how crucial it is to enable those around you. Give them the tools they need to succeed as leaders and together as a team, the end product will be much stronger. As leaders, we should always be working to find and enable our replacements, as leadership is not about us as individuals, but what we are doing for the larger objective.”
While Prevelige was a student at Quinnipiac, he was the treasurer of his class who raised $10,000 for the AAPA Host City Project. In 2008, his class won Outstanding Student Society at the annual AAPA conference. Years later, he continues to serve Quinnipiac’s PA program as a current Quinnipiac PA advisory committee member.
“The Quinnipiac PA program holds a special place in my heart as it has afforded me so much of what I have in my life,” Prevelige said. “With that in mind, I was honored to be asked to join the advisory committee. Dr. Ferrarotti, the program director, will usually bring us together quarterly to discuss potential innovations the program is considering and to solicit feedback and suggestions for the program as professionals that are encountering PA students in the clinical setting. Our goal is to ensure that Quinnipiac continues to be one of the top PA programs in the nation.”
Prevelige recognizes his experience at Quinnipiac as a major step toward his career path.
“Quinnipiac provided my classmates and I with a superior medical education,” said Prevelige “Yet our faculty also reminded us that medicine is about the people we are caring for. The program ensured that we had the best experts teaching us. I was also taught the importance of leadership and activism, which has helped lead me to this position with the AAPA.”
He offers the same advice to future PAs as he received from his professors.
“Medicine is more than just the science we learn," he said. "It is about the people we are caring for. They come from all different walks of life and each one has something to offer us. Take that opportunity to learn from them. It is also crucial that you take care of yourself. Once you relax, find your comfort zone and appreciate the joy that comes with your work, you will find yourself to be in a much better place. It's important to find that balance between your personal and professional worlds.”
The successes and accomplishments of Prevelige flourished through his hard work, dedication, passion and activism. Yet, he attributes his success to those who inspired and supported him along the way.
“Connecticut and Quinnipiac especially, have a great history of leadership within our profession, both locally and at the national level," he said. "I am so honored and proud to follow in the footsteps of those that came before me and helped pave the way for us that have come after them. They have been supportive of my efforts and my accomplishments are a testament to all of those that I have worked with over the years.”
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