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Preceptor Spotlight

 

Photo of Dr. David Anderson
Dr. David Anderson, MD, D/ABSM

Dr. Anderson, MD, D/ABSM currently practices outpatient pulmonary and sleep medicine at the Great Falls Clinic in Great Falls, Montana.

Dr. Anderson has been a huge support to our Augsburg PA Program. He has participated as a preceptor in educating the next generation of PA’s. We appreciate all he does for our program.

For our first preceptor spotlight, we asked Dr. Anderson to tell us a little about himself, his practice, and how he became involved in the Augsburg PA Program.

Why Augsburg?

I chose to attend Augsburg college graduating from Braham High School in 1962 because Augsburg provided a strong science academic program that would prepare me for medical school but also because of a balanced curriculum that would enhance me for living a balanced life as a good citizen in our country. Attending Augsburg college majoring in chemistry and minoring in biology provided a good background to later study medicine. I also participated in the men’s choir and as such in an oratorio

“Christus Nuc “which emphasized the blend of science and religion with words written by Dr. John Holum. Professor of organic chemistry. This blend of science and spirituality continues to be a priority of Augsburg University. Blending science and spirituality has helped me as a physician understand treating the whole persons ‘quality of life issues and ethical issues providing appropriate support as well as end-of-life care for my patients.

David Anderson school yearbook photo Augsburg yearbook class of 1966.
David Anderson, Augsburg Class of 1966

Medical School, Medicine, and Love of the Outdoors

I later attended University of Minnesota Medical School and did one of the last rotating internships at Hennepin County General Hospital since I was unsure what I wanted to do. I then served 2 years at the PHS Indian Health Service in Rapid City, South Dakota which was a TB referral center for 7 state area for patients with complicated TB and a busy outpatient clinic in Rapid City. During this time, I also participated in providing emergency care for victims of the Rapid City flood. These experiences helped me decide to pursue an interest in pulmonology medicine as well as a better understanding of Native American people in our country.

At the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota I continued to develop my interest in pulmonary medicine. I also continued to enjoy outdoor activities such as weeklong canoe trips in the BWCA and Quantico Provincial Park in Ontario Canada. On one such trip with another Mayo Clinic fellow I learned to make pies in a reflector oven and thereafter a reflector oven was an important equipment item to take with. Fellow canoeists traveling with me would know which canoe I was in as because of flour on the bottom of the canoe since this was an excellent place to make pie crusts. While at the Mayo Clinic I did yearly winter camping trips in Yellowstone Park with friends from Minnesota and Washington State.

Practicing Medicine in Montana

When it came time to choose a place to practice Montana and Wyoming were first choices. Having grown up on a small dairy farm in East Central Minnesota. Great Falls which is an agricultural referral center and is ideally located for recreation appeared to be an ideal location to practice. Meeting several Mayo trained physicians in Great Falls I chose Great Falls as the place to practice and I have been there since leaving the Mayo Clinic.

In Montana I have enjoyed winter and summer camping whitewater canoeing in the spring, horse camping, and raising organic grass finished beef on a ranch near the Little Belt Mountains.

Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine

My practice is now outpatient pulmonary and sleep medicine. I do Illumisite navigational bronchoscopy to biopsy peripheral lung lesions, ebus bronchoscopy, to biopsy central lymph nodes and thermoplasty to treat sever persistent asthma. Due to the shortage of pulmonary and sleep physicians I hold an outreach clinic in Helena, Montana every 2 weeks, and also do Zoom conferences with sleep patients from Kalispell and Bozeman.

A large part of my practice is also sleep medicine. Pulmonology and sleep medicine like all of medicine has become more specialized and therefore protocols are set up to treat entities such as idiopathic and connective disease associated pulmonary fibrosis, severe persistent asthma, pulmonary hypertension, and complex sleep medicine issues.

The PA Profession and Preceptorship

The need for a physician assistant to help provide more comprehensive health care continues to grow and therefore I am delighted to participate in the Augsburg University PA program. I believe Augsburg’s tradition of training well rounded students will ensure that healthcare providers will provide compassionate and scientifically based care for patients. Montana is a very rural state and physician assistants significantly improve delivery of healthcare in the state. Although most physician assistants practice general medicine, I believe there is an important role for patient assistants to assist with specialized care such as I try to provide in pulmonology and sleep medicine. I believe the future of good quality health care depends upon well trained health care practitioners providing specialized and patient oriented healthcare. I am happy to share my knowledge with Augsburg PA students.


We hope you enjoy our preceptor articles. We are always looking for preceptors and mentors to assist our future PA’s in their education.

Precept!

Clinical instructors are a key ingredient in educating the next generation of PAs. The clinical training of PA students follows the medical student training, including the “see one, do one” approach for clinical procedures. PA clinical education includes core rotations in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, behavioral health, women’s health, general surgery, and emergency medicine. We are also open to specialty rotations as each student is able to complete an elective. If you would like to participate in the clinical education of PA students, please fill out the form.

Mentor!

Augsburg PA is excited to launch a mentoring program matching community PAs with second year PA students! Second-year students have transitioned from their didactic year into clinical education. There are multiple reasons why a student may be interested in having a mentor: networking with the professional community, tips on transitioning into their first job, learning more about a specific field, etc. If you are willing to share your experience and knowledge with a second year student, please complete the Become a PA Mentor form. The program will work to match you with a student. Once matched, the mentor and mentee will set their schedule. Please know that if you are not placed with a student right-away, we will keep you on our list for the following cohorts.