From Dr. J.R. Ernst, DMSc ‘20: “My experience with the DMSc turned out to be infinitely better than I expected. In fact, I have already recruited three colleagues to apply.” The depth and breadth of the knowledge presented exceeded his expectations. “In particular, Dr. Cohen’s Healthcare Law course and Dr. Davenport’s course opened my eyes to concepts I would never have thought of, even with my years of experience as a military PA.”
Even as a young child, Dr. Ernst always knew he wanted to become a doctor. His father was a pharmacy tech in the military, and Dr. Ernst has very early memories of being spellbound by his Dad’s medical textbooks describing and depicting the systems of the body. He says, “the first PA I encountered was the smartest guy I ever met. He was a military PA and encouraged me to become a PA.” He adds, “I took his advice — it did take a few years due to a number of conflicts, including 9/11, but I was finally able to achieve my dream of going to PA school in 2010.” Dr. Ernst relishes the flexibility of the PA profession: “The possibilities are endless. PAs are trained in so many areas of medicine — you can pursue your interests and the PA profession was created to encourage this type of agility.”
Currently working in primary care, Dr. Ernst treats the soldiers he cares so much about. He says he fell in love with El Paso, and after retirement, decided to stay there. He now works as a civilian in the same clinic where he served. “This is a perfect situation for me,” he says.
On his decision to pursue the DMSc, he relates: “This is the direction the profession is going. Soon a doctoral degree will be seen as a professional necessity. I am an AAPA certified preceptor, and this is what I tell my students.” He says the interaction with his DMSc colleagues and faculty was beneficial to a huge degree. “The amount of experience represented was vast — we all learned from each other and the entire program was very rewarding.”