Medical Assistant Spotlight The Arthritis Advocate

Medical Assistant Spotlight: The Arthritis Advocate

Medical Assistant Spotlight The Arthritis Advocate

Our spotlight series has looked at exceptional people in the Medical Assisting field. Not only do these Medical Assistants help patients and doctors alike, but they also inspire their fellow MAs. Let’s shed a light on the men and women who make our lives a little easier, not to mention a little better!

Previous Medical Assistant Stars

Here is our current roster for the spotlight series. These segments all highlight truly inspirational Medical Assistants.

  • The children’s book writer: After becoming a grandmother, Debra Soloman decided to write educational books for her grandchildren. Her most recent book, I Have Autism, was written for her 7-year-old grandson.
  • The bridge builder: Dawn Broad helps Medical Assistants build relationships with employers through continuing education programs. She works tirelessly to improve the lives of other MAs.
  • The award giver: When Sherry Bogar saw nurses in her organization receive recognition for their work, she sought to give Medical Assistants a form of recognition, too. She now uplifts other Medical Assistants through the Shining Star Award.
  • The champion for veterans: Kimberly King assists homeless veterans with accessing transitional supportive services for healthcare needs. She also volunteers at organizations like: Wounded Warrior Project, Step Up for Vets, and the Warrior Initiative.
  • The trailblazing leader: After learning that MAs at Children’s Hospital Colorado wanted to gain more recognition, Harper Garrett responded by introducing leadership classes. It wasn’t long before she started creating paths for leadership development.

Spotlight: Brea Wiggins, CMA

In this segment of the spotlight series, we’re going to look at Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Brea Wiggins. Cathy Cassata recently spoke with Wiggins for a fantastic interview on the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) website. In 2016, Wiggins was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Her experience with this condition fueled a bone-deep desire to help others who live with it.

Wiggins has even taken the fight to Washington, D.C. First, though, lets define this condition.

What Is Psoriatic Arthritis?

According to The Mayo Clinic, psoriatic arthritis “is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis—a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales.” Common symptoms include joint pain, stiffness and swelling.

The condition can affect any part of your body, such as the fingertips or spine. Severity can also range from mild to severe. As The Mayo Clinic states, “In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.” No cure currently exists, so the focus is placed on controlling symptoms and preventing damage.

Without treatment, the condition can be disabling.

Journey to Advocate

Journey to Advocate

They say not all superheroes wear capes, and Brea Wiggins is certainly a good example! This advocate works as a podiatric Medical Assistant in South Carolina. After searching for information about arthritis, she came across the Arthritis Foundation.

Wiggins shared her struggles with the condition, which include wrist and hand pain that can be debilitating. She also expressed her interest in helping others who have the condition. In response, the Arthritis Foundation granted Wiggins a special travel award. Not only did it pay for her flight to Washington, D.C., but it also covered her hotel and other costs, allowing her to attend a national summit on arthritis. While representing South Carolina, Wiggins met with two state senators as well as two members of the House of Representatives.

She provided testimony for four main objectives. One objective revolved around a bill to reform step therapy. This insurance practice—known as “fail first”—pushes physicians to first prescribe a less expensive drug, even if another drug or therapy might be better for the patient. In addition, Wiggins advocated to increase Department of Defense (DOD) funding for veterans who suffer from arthritis. She also asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide South Carolina with funding for arthritis research.

“When I have flare-ups, it can be a struggle to get out of bed,” Wiggins told Cassata. “Advocating has brought a new light to my life. I will continue to help others cope with arthritis, so they know they are not alone with this disease.”

For more information about this inspirational Medical Assistant, be sure to check out Cathy Cassata’s article on the AAMA website. There you’ll find more amazing stories about other MAs, too.

About the MA Program at Unitek College

If you felt inspired after reading this content, you might want to check out the MA program at Unitek College! Founded in 2002, Unitek College is an accredited, private institution that provides training for the next generation of healthcare professionals. With seven campuses in California, Unitek offers educational programs in the cities of Bakersfield, Concord, Fremont, Hayward, Sacramento, San Jose, and South San Francisco.

Each California location offers Medical Assistant training that can be completed in as little as 9 months. An active-learning environment provides MA students with specialized lectures, simulation training, and supervised externships.

Medical Assistant Courses Unitek Offers

Medical Assistant Courses Unitek Offers

To give you a better idea of the program, we’ve outlined our MA courses at Unitek College. You can read more about them in our school catalog.

  • Introduction to Medical Assisting/Medical Law: This course is designed to introduce students to the healthcare industry. Overall, it gives them the opportunity to explore and learn more about the role of the Medical Assistant in healthcare.
  • Pharmacology, Medication Administration, Diagnostic Imaging: This course introduces students to the Medical Assistant’s role in healthcare as it relates to pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, and anatomy and physiology.
  • Patient Assessment, Cardio-Pulmonary, Gastroenterology: This course delves into the assessment process for Medical Assistants as well as relevant procedures. It also delves into the cardio-pulmonary and gastrointestinal systems. Bonus: Students will have the opportunity to assist with performing EKG and respiratory tests.
  • Eyes, Ears, Nose, Throat, Nervous System: Similarly, this course provides students with the opportunity to explore the role of the Medical Assistant in healthcare as it relates to the nervous and endocrine systems. Additionally, students will receive real-world lab experience to prepare for employment in the healthcare field.
  • Stages of Life–Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Geriatrics: This course covers how the role of the Medical Assistant relates to the stages of life; surgical asepsis; care, use, and handling of surgical instruments and the surgical environment; and the process and procedures for a urinalysis.
  • Computerized Medical Assisting: This course educates students about management skills, various processes, and other business aspects of a medical practice.
  • First Aid, Emergencies, Behavior in Acute Situations: This course provides the student with the opportunity to explore professional behavior in the healthcare workplace. It also highlights the importance of communication and the use of interpersonal skills.
  • Medical Assisting Externship: This course gives students a great opportunity for continued learning. They will have the chance to demonstrate their ability to transfer classroom knowledge to an externship setting. During this period, students will be directly supervised and complete 160 hours of real-world training in clinical settings.

For more information about the MA program, visit our contact page and speak with a school representative.

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