PA Leadership Series: Greg Burns, PA-C

Physician Assistant

Today I’m excited to continue the celebration of PA week by introducing you to a PA who has spent quite a bit of time and effort to advocate for our profession! Greg Burns is a PA with drive and motivation, has served PAs in many ways by taking on formal PA leadership positions within our PA Associations and has been kind enough to answer some of our questions for our PA Leadership series! He is currently the President-Elect of FAPA (for the second time) and is a great example of an Empowered PA.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Greg and the rest of the Florida Academy of Physician Assistants (FAPA) leadership team last month in Marco Island, and I’m proud to say many of this week’s articles will also feature FAPA leadership! These PAs have truly dedicated themselves, spent time and energy away from personal endeavors to work with our politicians to campaign for our profession, and I’m so excited to share their stories with you! Anddddddd…. we have another awesome giveaway to continue our PA Week celebration, so look for that link at the end of this article!

Gregory L. Burns, DHSc, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA Photo Credit: University of Tampa

Tell us a little about yourself! What is your role as a leader?

Hi, my name is Greg Burns. Happy PA Week! I have been a State of Florida-licensed and national certified PA for over 14 years working in various medical specialties such as cardiology, electrophysiology, internal medicine, and family medicine.  For the past 9 years, I have worked full-time within PA education. In 2016, I received my Doctorate of Health Sciences (DHSc) degree with a concentration of leadership and organizational behavior from A.T. Still University. Currently, I am the Academic Director and Associate Professor for the new University of Tampa PA Medicine Program in Tampa, FL. Since graduation from PA school, I have been very active advocating for the PA profession, both regionally and nationally.

Regionally, I have served on many committees within the Florida Academy of PAs (FAPA) including their Faculty Relations Committee, Foundation, Elections/Nomination Committee (ENC), Legislative/Government Committee (LGA), Student Affairs Committee (SAC), Political Action Committee (PAC), Financial Affairs Committee (FAC), and Conference Planning Committee (CPC). From 2006 through 2011, I was elected by my peers to be on the Board of Directors of this organization for the positions of South Regional Director, President-Elect, President, and Immediate Past-President.  In fact, I was elected again in February by my peers with serving a 2nd term as President-Elect of FAPA.

Nationally, I have been on the House of Delegates (HOD) of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) representing the State of Florida since 2009 and was the Chief Delegate of this important group in 2010.  Within (AAPA), I am currently the Chair-Elect for the Political Action Committee (PAC), member of the Standing Rules Committee, and member of the Nominating Work Group. I have been honored receiving several awards for involvement with PA leadership, service and community including Pi Alpha Honor Physician Assistant Society and being named a Distinguished Fellow Member of AAPA (2017).  I have also been honored giving numerous medical or healthcare presentations for regional and national PA conferences since graduating from PA school in 2005. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling and participating in any water-related activity with my wife, Katie (a PA-C and former FAPA & SAAAPA President) and young son Brooks.

Gregory L. Burns, DHSc, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Washington DC

What does your typical day look like?

I am a full-time PA educator working with 48 students and developing the curriculum of the didactic phase of the PA Program. I am the course director of the Physical Diagnosis Course and I assist in almost all courses within the PA Program.

Did you pursue a leadership role or was it offered to you?

To be honest, I was mentored by a terrific mentor named Michael Funk, PA-C.  He was one of my professors at my PA Program (Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and he mentored me to become a Regional Director of FAPA right after graduation from PA school.

How did you prepare for your role? Did you take any leadership courses?

Luckily, I have had a few great mentors in my life that have developed my leadership skills over my first career in psychology and then the PA profession.

Do you have room or opportunities to grow in your current leadership position?

As a leader, I feel it is necessary to grow within any leadership position. I would like to become a Director within the AAPA Board of Directors in the near future.

Are you satisfied with your position? If you could do it all over again, would you?

Absolutely! As stated above, this is my second tenure in being the President-Elect of FAPA. 

Do you think PAs are adequately educated about how to be a leader? If not, do you have any suggestions on what should be taught?

I believe all PA programs should provide some instruction and/or guidance on being a leader within our profession.  It is my hope that I can create a course for PA programs to provide this type of instruction.

Do you have any suggestions for newly graduated PAs interested in becoming leaders in their community?

The best advice is to seek out the current leaders (President or other directors) of the state’s PA academy/association and let them know what your specific interests are within the profession such as membership, conference, legislative, etc. interests. Every state PA organization needs new leaders!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I would tell all PAs and PA students that each of them need to be a member of their state PA organization and national PA organization (AAPA) and to get involved in some way or form.  We all have specific gifts or traits within ourselves that can have a profound effect on our wonderful profession.

Where can PAs find you on social media?

Big thanks to Greg for taking the time out to answer our questions! Being a PA Leader AND a PA educator means a busy schedule yet it’s so important for PA leaders to SHARE their experiences and Greg kindly stepped up! I’m excited to see what happens with FAPA in the next few years, and hope that EmpoweredPAs can continue to support their (and all the other PA associations out there) who are doing the real heavy lifting for our profession! Many of us are too busy to join these associations and so paying for membership is one of the ways we can continue to support them even in our absence!

And, it’s that time again, let’s do another giveaway!

physician assistant week 2019 giveaway

Win a copy of the book “Surviving PA School” by John Bielinski!

Today’s giveaway is for those Pre-PA students or those PA Students who just started (or are about to start) their didactic year! We are giving away 10 copies of this awesome book to share John’s message and strategy to survive one of the toughest aspects of a PA’s career! A big thank you to John Bielinski at CME4Life for his generosity in making this happen! He is incredibly dedicated to educating PAs and advocating for our profession and so I’m excited to offer this giveaway!

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Surviving PA School

Physician Assistant, Owner and Blogger at EmpoweredPAs.com. Currently practicing in a Pediatric Emergency Department, overseeing and developing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines with teams of amazing people, supporting and mentoring Pre-PA and PA Students, with a hope to advance our profession and give PAs the tools and resouces they need to advance their careers.