The Path to JWU’s PA Program: Anthony DiMauro '19

PA Student Anthony DiMauro

Anthony DiMauro’s path to medicine started before he even realized it; as a high-school athlete, he found himself in the orthopedist’s office quite often with broken bones. Despite the circumstances that brought him there, he found that he enjoyed seeing his x-rays up on the screen and learning where the breaks were, how they affected growth plates, and more. By his final year of high school at Bishop Hendricken, he was shadowing a doctor in his hometown of Johnston, RI for his senior project. He enjoyed the experience so much that he continued on with it in his first few years of college.

Anthony transferred to JWU in his second year, after wrestling coach Lonnie Morris told him about the biology program and the partnership with the Physician Assistant Studies graduate program. The decision to transfer wasn’t easy, but after seeing the cadaver lab, the Center for Physician Assistant Studies, and the Bowen Center, he felt certain he could accomplish his goals here. “I’m glad I did [transfer]”, he says. “This program is definitely far beyond what I thought.”

This program is definitely far beyond what I thought.”

Like many students enrolled in JWU’s biology program, Anthony had medical studies on his mind; it was a matter of medical school or PA school for him. When making the decision, he recalled his time shadowing a doctor in high school. “He had PAs follow him, and I admired their job,” he says. “I saw that they were capable of a lot more than I knew. My knowledge of PAs grew a little bit and it kind of caught me off guard, in a good way.” Armed with the knowledge from his experience, he chose his path and set about the arduous application process.

“Anthony entered as a sophomore into a rather close group of students and immediately stood out in his course performance,” Patricia Brady, professor in the science department, says. “Although quiet in class, he was a top performer. He exhibited excellent study skills, work ethic, and comprehension and gradually connected with this close-knit group of students.”

Anthony’s class is the first biology cohort to graduate from JWU – a special occasion for all biology majors in 2019. The Biology program began in 2015 with only 51 students – and has grown to 130 students today. In addition, Anthony is the first biology major to be accepted into JWU’s highly competitive physician assistant program. By taking advantage of the Competitive Pathway Program, he was able to secure a spot in the program and will start this summer.

Anthony has all the qualities that we believe a JWU PA should have in order to accomplish our mission.”

“We are so very excited to have our first JWU biology undergraduate be part of our PA program,” George Bottomley, program director of the Physician Assistant Studies program, says. “Anthony is a smart and kind person. He has all the qualities that we believe a JWU PA should have in order to accomplish our mission.”

While he knows the workload will be different, it is an added bonus for Anthony that many of his professors that taught him as an undergraduate student will be teaching him as a graduate student. “The preparation [for the PA program] was better here, because they know what to expose me to here,” he says. “All my faculty definitely were steering me in the right direction.”

The faculty did not steer him wrong. A CNNMoney/PayScale poll projected nearly 30% job growth in the PA field over the next 10 years. JWU’s PA program, the first in the state, takes advantage of Rhode Island’s strengths as an incubator: small size, high population density and an interlinked medical and education network. The PA program allows students like Anthony to gain a versatile skill set that can be applied to virtually all facets of the medical field, including primary care, hospitalist medicine, surgery and emergency medicine.

“The preparation [for the PA program] was better here. All my faculty definitely were steering me in the right direction.”

“I enjoyed having Anthony in class – he was the type of student who was highly motivated and did an excellent job of learning the material on a deeper level,” Andrew Karatjas, associate professor in the science department, says. “Having written one of his letters of recommendation for the PA program, I was happy to see his hard work pay off when he received his acceptance.”

When Anthony is not in classes or studying, he coaches wrestling at his former high school and works as an EMT. “Wrestling taught me a lot of lessons that I wanted to give back,” he says. “So going back and coaching was my way of giving back. And it's hopefully something I can continue to do, as I move on to classes in the PA program.” His EMT experience not only counts as hours logged for admission into the PA program, but also has continued to shape the way he looks at medicine and patient treatment.

For students looking to major in biology, and particularly study medicine, Anthony has a few words of wisdom to pass on. “Be a little ambitious,” he says. “Don’t wait so long…the PA program seems like it’s so off in the distance … but it’s sooner than you think. Stay on your deadlines, and knock those down.”