Cassi Frank, MMSc, PA-C, works with the benign hematology group at UNC Eastowne as a physician assistant. She is also a graduate student and mother who enjoys reading, playing the piano and all things chocolate!
I am a physician assistant in the division of hematology. I primarily serve patients with thrombotic disorders – blood clots. In this role I also act as coordinator for the thrombosis transitions of care program, the “DVT Transitions Clinic” at UNC Eastowne.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Maryland.
Did you always envision yourself as an APP?
No, I envisioned myself as any number of things before landing as an APP. What I really always knew was that I belonged in a profession working face to face with lot of different types of people.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my job is making a real difference in the lives of patients. When I see patients in our newly diagnosed thrombosis clinic who are struggling to get medications or have a lot of anxiety about their diagnosis, knowing I can walk them downstairs to the pharmacy and talk them through everything and make sure they have exactly what they need, there’s nothing more rewarding.
How has your role evolved over time since you’ve been here?
I was originally an inpatient provider working with leukemia and lymphoma patients. I transitioned to the outpatient setting where I focus on acute care for thrombosis patients around 2019. This has really given me an opportunity to grow an area of patient care and tackle quality improvement and access issues. I have also been fortunate to chair our APP Professional Development & Education Committee, giving me a chance to work on behalf of our community of APPs and support their ideas and growth efforts.
What is one thing that you wish people knew about your job?
I wish people knew that blood clots can actually be very complicated! It is more nuanced than people realize.
Personally or professionally, what are you most proud of?
I am not particularly proud of any one accomplishment, but I am proud of my degree of grit, personally and professionally. As a graduate student, a working healthcare professional, and a mother, it is challenging to balance everything, and I am of course imperfect. But I try, and give my all, every single day. I am most proud of that.
If you didn’t have a career in medicine, what would you be doing?
In my PA school interview, someone asked me a similar iteration of this question – “if you couldn’t be a PA, what would you be?” and my answer was “sad.” This still holds somewhat true! I am pursuing a doctorate in public health and if I wasn’t in medicine directly, I think I’d be working in public health to serve larger numbers of patients through systems improvements.
What hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?
I am an insatiable reader and often joke that I run a book club out of my clinic – constantly learning about new reads from my patients! I also play the piano, a COVID hobby which has stuck.
If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Do hard things.”
What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
In the next year, I hope to continue growing the footprint and impact of our thrombosis program, including new efforts to aid other healthcare institutions in implementing similar programs.
What’s the last song you listened to?
I am a lifelong Beatles fan and I believe the last tune I heard was at the NC Symphony Beatles tribute – a classic – “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.