In 2002, Jason McGrade, M.B.A., PA-C, was part of the second graduating class in the undergraduate physician assistant studies (PA) program. “New York Tech really gave me the structure that I probably needed as a 23-year-old,” he recalls. “I buttoned down and studied for a good two, three years. It’s a rigorous two-year process, so your family becomes the others who are going through the same academic rigors of material as you.”
Now assistant vice president for advanced clinical providers at Northwell Health, one of New York’s largest healthcare providers, McGrade worked to safely mobilize frontline healthcare workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “This crisis was challenging, but in the same respect, very rewarding,” he says. “We were able to see what an impact and difference we made by being able to deliver the highest level of healthcare.”
Part of McGrade’s job also involves educating the public about COVID-19. “We continue to push the message that vaccines are important and that vaccines are safe,” says McGrade. This includes adding updated links to news and research, expert advice on vaccines, answers to frequently asked questions, and direct links to make appointments at Northwell facilities on the organization’s website. Additionally, within the Northwell system, McGrade has been keeping its students up to date on guidelines and protocol for best PPE (personal protective equipment) practices.
McGrade says he always feels inspired to give back to the university and the profession. He has returned to New York Tech to teach and give lectures, sit in on numerous academic affairs committees, and interview PA candidates. For nearly 10 years, McGrade has been part of the New York Tech PA program admissions committee where he interviews prospective PA student candidates and helps decide on admissions.
Almost 20 years into his career, McGrade has seen the healthcare industry go through many changes. And when the pandemic hit, that was more apparent than ever. Medicine moved to a virtual environment, with many patients requesting telehealth services. “These young PA graduates are amazing and outstanding academic and clinical providers,” says McGrade. But beyond that, he believes that helping them to better understand the business side of healthcare, including areas such as quality of care and billing, and how they all come together, is important.
Because of this shift, McGrade says the medical profession needs to partner with universities to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals. He sits on the Educational Affiliations Governance Board at Northwell, where he works on strategic partnerships across more than 40 disciplines, including PA, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, and more. “We need to partner with schools to update the curriculum so that it aligns to consumer needs.”
This profile originally appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of New York Institute of Technology Magazine.