With roots in the rural Great Plains, UNC Physician Assistant Program faculty member Janelle Bludorn’s interest in emergency medicine was sparked while working in the emergency department of a small-town South Dakota hospital. She completed her Bachelor of Science studies in Psychology, Biology and Native American Studies at the University of South Dakota, and then obtained her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. In her first job as a PA, she successfully pioneered physician assistant practice in a community hospital emergency department at Cottage Health System in Santa Barbara, California while balancing part-time practice in women’s health. From there, she spent several years practicing emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston prior to accepting a faculty position at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program in August 2016. She continues her clinical pursuits in emergency medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Hillsborough Hospitals.

Janelle’s educational interests are centered upon integration of active learning strategies and incorporation of educational technology adjuncts in the classroom, simulation settings, and clinical settings. These interests blend seamlessly into the UNC PA classes she instructs, which include:

  • History and Physical Examination
  • Patient Assessment I & II
  • Fundamentals of Surgery
  • Evidence Based Medicine I & II
  • Clinical Medicine – gynecology unit

In addition to her routine instructional and clinical duties, in her first year on faculty Janelle has spearheaded a number of education-related projects for the UNC Physician Assistant Program. These include:

  • Establishment of a continuing medical education program for preceptors and faculty
  • Development and deployment of the Clinical Summative Assessment, a competency-based assessment tool
  • Piloting of point-of-care ultrasound curriculum within a traditional anatomy course
  • Hosting a physician assistant national certifying exam review course at UNC
  • Coordinating the first annual UNC PA Program Senior Capstone Symposium, including poster and oral presentation sessions
  • Providing faculty support to found the UNC-CH PA Program Student Society and serving as faculty advisor

On a personal note, Janelle and her sister Kelsey, a nephrology clinical trial coordinator, are in the process of establishing a scholarship fund for female graduates of their rural South Dakota high school pursuing higher education in STEM or healthcare fields. When she’s not saving lives in the emergency department or educating the next generation of physician assistants you will likely find Janelle tweeting (@JanelleRBlu), practicing yoga, hiking trails with Frank and Roscoe (her husband and dog, respectively), or cheering on the Tar Heels at the Dean Dome.