This is our first annual awards to recognize the incredible healthcare professionals making a difference in the healthcare community. Although we recognize there are many more that are profoundly impacting the industry, this award is our attempt to highlight some of the most noticeable professionals from several different disciplines.

The recipients of this award demonstrate what it means to be #ThrivingInHealthcare. This campaign signifies a person excelling in their work role, making a statement in their profession, and thriving in all areas of life.  #ThrivingInHealthcare doesn’t mean you are perfect – no one is. Rather, this campaign symbolizes dedication to growth and a determination to live your best life. We believe we all have a role to play to shape a better healthcare industry, and the way in which we start that is by giving ourselves the template to do so.

How are you #ThrivingInHealthcare? What lights you up about the work you do? How are you using your role to improve our industry? We want you to join in on the campaign. Share your story on social media using the hashtag and share your definition of what it means to thrive in healthcare.

Want to stay in the loop of all things wellness for healthcare professionals? Join our bi-weekly newsletter and read along with hundreds of others on our favorite stories, interviews, recs, reads, etc. to spark your personal growth and work well-being. Join The Thriving Collective Newsletter here!

Physician Assistants

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Name and credentials:

Karen Calcano PA-C, MMsc, Multispecialty Surgical PA, specializing in Cardiothoracic Surgery, CEO Heart Surgery Assist, Yoga Teacher

Handle and/or Site:

IG: @kcalcano

Website: www.scalpelandheart.com

What led you into healthcare?

Ive always had a passion for science, especially Biology.  What makes living things tick, fascinates me and still does. Living things, are undoubtedly, the beautiful marriage of intricate science, and exquisite art.  The transition to medicine for me was seamless. I enjoy its challenges, and I love that my passion for science and medicine, helps people. That’s the best part!

What’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in healthcare?

For me, the biggest lesson has definitely been to learn to take care of myself with the same kindness, compassion and unwavering attention that I give my patients. There is a misconception, where at some point on this path, we begin to believe that healthcare is a fully devotional calling, where our needs are always put behind our patients. Among health care professionals, there is a strongly ingrained cultural belief that self care is selfish. It wasn’t until I suffered immensely with burnout, and had to work extremely hard to bring myself back from that, that I realized just how damaging being in a professional environment that punishes you for taking care of yourself, truly is. I’m strongly committed to changing that.

What gets you up everyday?

Coffee and Meditation. 🙂 Also, gratitude journaling and intention setting are crucial for starting my day off on the right foot. Clear mind, full heart; only then do I feel prepared to go out and save lives.

How do you use your platform to help others?

You know, I’m a writer at heart, and I have a very creative spirit. I use my IG account as a  creative outlet and a micro blog of sorts to tell stories, from the perspective of a person that spends most of their time inside an operating room.  I speak often of the humanity of medicine, self care and life in surgery. Some days I’ll have you laughing, others maybe bring a tear to your eye, other days you’ll learn about Medicine and surgery, but, overall, I think my personal stories helps people feel like they can relate on some level. I like to think it uplifts, and  brings similar minds together, and it helps my visceral need to be creative and paint stories with words, as well as serve as some level of catharsis. I also have a strong passion for teaching surgery to PAs and aspiring PAs and help them find their right path in medicine.

What’s your favorite book or podcast?

Oh Gosh there are so many! I’m not too active on the podcast scene at the moment, but I really enjoy reading, and audio books. I think its important to have a personal curriculum, and my reading list is very colorful. Currently almost done listening to  “12 rules for life” and reading “Your Brain on Nature”. In addition to a bunch of PANRE books, because its my year to re certify on my boards. On deck I have a few books on entrepreneurial finance, astrophysics for people in a hurry and the People’s History of the United States which I’ve been dying to read.  But back to your original question, one of my favorite books of all time is Jurassic Park by Michael Chrichton. I read it as a kid before the movie came out, and have been a heavy dinosaur nerd ever since.

What’s your top tip on being successful?

My best advice is to first define what success means to you first, because success in the traditional sense, means being rich and powerful. Success to me means, having a fulfilling and peaceful life, (that includes not having to worry about money), surrounded by loved ones, having a meaningful job that helps people and being surrounded by plants and animals.  Once you have defined what success is to you, put a plan in place to get there. That right there, will make you the co-creator of your destiny.

During stressful times, what are some of your favorite coping strategies?

Yoga, yoga and more yoga. Baths and other forms of cozy therapy, listening to my playlist on Spotify titled: ” Songs to Calm the F*** down to”, and spending time in nature to ground myself.

What are you most excited for this year?

I’m so excited to get married to my best friend! Also very excited about  new educational content I’m creating on my website. This year is gonna be extra awesome!

top 50 most influential healthcare professionals

Name and credentials:
Onyi Azih, PA-C

Handle and/or Site:
IG: sincerelyonyi

Onyi represents #goals and we mean this in the most sincere and profound way. Not only does Onyi have a polished motherhood, lifestyle, and travel blog and social media presence, she shows up as a loving mother to her two little ones and practices medicine as a physician assistant. She fills our feeds with joy and delight as she showcases the life of raising a healthy family, her latest travels, and the realities of working in healthcare. We admire her for the many hats she wears, all while continuously delivering value to her community.

top 50 most influential healthcare professionals

Name and credentials:

Malaka Mustafa, PA-C, MPAS

Handle and/or Site:

@certified.pa.hijabi

malakamustafa.com

What led you into healthcare?

The lack of compassion seen in the majority of providers as a child and wanting to make a difference.

What’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in healthcare?

The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. Remember, working in medicine is like a commitment to being a lifelong learner.

What gets you up everyday?

Knowing that treating my patients and getting them better is a form of worship to my Lord.

How do you use your platform to help others?

I share specific experiences and personal trials I had to overcome to help students realize they are not alone.

What’s your favorite book or podcast?

The Great Gatsby

What’s your top tip on being successful?

Remember that nothing worth having comes easy, if it was, everyone would have it.

During stressful times, what are some of your favorite coping strategies?

Praying

What are you most excited for this year?

Completing my training in spinal epidural, spinal facet and sacroilliac injections to be able to administer these on my own.

top 50 most influential healthcare professionals

Name and credentials:
Stephen Benton, PA-C

Handle and/or Site:
IG: @pagethepa

Stephen uses his platform (Instagram and YouTube) to educate fellow physician assistants in techniques like how to do surgeon’s knots, using different ultrasound devices, and practice tips and strategies for success rotations. He is an advocate for the physician assistant field and talks about the things no one really talks about- like the awkward time between graduating and getting your first paycheck, the seemingly marathon of PA training, and non-medical lessons like learning to love one another- you know, basic human truths that sometimes get lost and forgotten in this world.

Categories: Top 50 HCPs

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