Leadership in practice
Terry O'Donnell, clinical associate professor of physician assistant studies
A member of the Quinnipiac Physician Assistant program’s inaugural class, Professor Terry O’Donnell, MHS ’96, was among the first to prove that Quinnipiac produces not only capable clinicians but leaders at the forefront of their profession. She has groomed numerous graduates to follow her example since joining the program’s faculty in 1999 and helped maintain a culture of leadership as program chair from 2014-17.
“Our emphasis on leadership is what sets the Quinnipiac PA program apart from other programs,” she said. “When students choose us, they know that it’s an expectation.”
O’Donnell sets that expectation early. PA students not only attend, but present posters at many national and state conferences, including the annual conference of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the main governing body of the PA profession. She mentors class officers elected to the QU PA Student Society and supports PA students who have been selected to sit in the AAPA’s House of Delegates, as well as on the AAPA’s Student Academy governing board.
“Terry is deeply devoted to her students and their learning, and holds them to our program’s high expectations,” said Professor Dennis Brown, current chair of physician assistant studies and program director. “She is a role model for all PA students and professionals.”
O’Donnell is a leader outside of Quinnipiac as well, serving 23 years on the Connecticut Academy of Physician Assistants Board of Directors and as treasurer for the Connecticut Physician Assistant Foundation. She also continues to practice, specializing in asthma, allergy and immunology at Allergy Associates of Hartford. Her experience and position enable her to bring a “big-picture perspective” on her profession’s current trends and issues to the classroom.