PA Path Podcast Features HNS Dean Dr. Carl Garrubba

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Dr. Carl Garrubba, Dean of Dominican University of California’s School of Health and Natural Sciences (HNS), recently appeared on the PA Path Podcast, talking about his path to becoming a physician assistant, his early involvement with HIV research and its impact on future infectious disease frameworks, and his work developing Dominican’s PA program.
The PA Path Podcast is produced for prospective PAs, PA students, and current PAs who can learn more about the profession and the paths that PAs take to serve their communities. 
Before embarking on a career as a physician assistant, Garrubba was a financial analyst and a certified public accountant, working for four years as an auditor and tax accountant at Arthur Andersen, followed by four years as a financial analyst in the Office of Budget and Financial Planning at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
It was while working at UPMC that Garrubba reignited an earlier interest in the sciences and medicine. He was preparing to take the MCAT when he was invited to shadow a PA at work. This was the first he had heard of the profession.
“I realized after shadowing that this was it,” Garrubba recalls about selecting PA as a career. At the time it was a young and developing profession. When Garrubba enrolled in PA school at Duquesne University in 1993 there were fewer than 25,000 PAs nationwide. The National Commission on Certification of PAs has just announced that it certified its 200,000th PA in September 2023.
Garrubba has been a certified physician assistant for 28 years and served on the national Physician Assistant Education Association Board for the past nine years.  He has worked as a physician assistant at both the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Pittsburgh in HIV clinical research. His clinical experience at UPMC included thoracic surgery and HIV medicine and research. While working at UPMC, Dr. Garrubba was named co-investigator on several HIV clinical trials, including trials that were some of the original studies for the combination drug treatment known as the HIV drug cocktail.
Garrubba spent about eight years in primary care HIV medicine before moving to PA teaching positions at Chatham University. Before joining Dominican, he was serving as director of the physician assistant program at Chatham.
Garrubba joined Dominican’s physician assistant program in 2017 as professor and associate director, both teaching and supervising all aspects of the program’s admissions process. In 2019 he was named program director and, in 2019, was promoted to chair. In July 2022, he was appointed to the position of Dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences.
At Dominican, Garrubba oversees undergraduate programs in biological sciences, chemistry & biochemistry, global public health, health science/pre-occupational therapy, mathematics, and nursing. Graduate programs include the Master of Science in Biological Sciences program offered in partnership with BioMarin and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, counseling psychology, physician assistant studies, and occupational therapy. Dominican began offering a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program this fall.
Dr. Garrubba earned a Doctor of Medical Science from the University of Lynchburg and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Duquesne University. He received a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Duquesne in 1986 and his certified public accountant license in 1988. 
“What an honor to be asked to participate in this podcast,” Garrubba says. “I have enjoyed my career and experiences as a PA as well as in accounting and finance, and I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me in higher education.”

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