Amanda Stevenson-Cali serves the local healthcare community in more ways than one. She’s the academic director and instructor in the Physician’s Assistant Studies Program and works as a physician assistant in the ER at Spartanburg Regional.
“It’s much more than just the teaching,” Stevenson-Cali said. “I plan the curriculum and coordinate the faculty and classes so we are all on the same page with what we are teaching. I schedule guest lecturers based on our needs and meet periodically with student advisees.”
A Balancing Act
Stevenson-Cali balances her busy work life with a home life. Her husband, Andrew, also works in emergency medicine. Stevenson-Cali notes that their combined experience in emergency medicine provides her with lots of background to pull from in her teachings.
“My husband works for Prisma and sees patients both in the ER and in Urgent Care. He’s been doing ER longer than I have,” Stevenson-Cali said. “Sometimes I bounce ideas off of him, or practice parts of my lecture.”
“I want to make sure that what I’m doing will make sense to the students and that I’m also being comprehensive enough.”
Stevenson-Cali teaches Monday through Thursday mornings, leaving her afternoons and weekends open to practice in the healthcare field.
“I love being able to share those experiences with the students,” she says about her work in the ER.
Dedication to Emergency Medicine
Working in emergency medicine has taught Stevenson-Cali about circumstances that lead people to the emergency room.
“You see such a broad range of illnesses and injuries, everything from paper cuts (seriously) to heart attacks and traumas,” she said. “I love being able to share those experiences with the students.”
Stevenson-Cali says emergency medicine made her interested in the “humanistic” side of medicine.
“Lots of people end up in the ER because of poor choices,” she said, “but those poor choices are often the result of social circumstances that they have little control over, and I was very curious about this.”
Her curiosity led her to earn a Master’s of Public Health from the University of South Florida after a few years of working in the ER. She focused on the “social determinants of health.”
“It’s the idea that health, physical and mental, is totally interconnected with everything,” she said.
Passing On What She’s Learned
Stevenson-Cali passes what she learns on to students in the PA Studies Program. Her understanding of how socioeconomic status and patients’ backgrounds can affect their health conditions gives her a unique edge in the field.
“When you choose to work in emergency medicine you know that you are going to see some crazy things, or that things can change at a moment’s notice,” she said.
“There is a sense of camaraderie when things get tough. That is true now more than ever.”
Working in and teaching about medicine during a worldwide pandemic comes with an uncommon set of challenges, but thanks to people like Stevenson-Cali, our community is a safer place.