Jennifer McMurray, PA-C
Jennifer McMurray, PA-C, knows there’s more to patient care than just medicine. At the humble Kenton Community Health Center in the heart of Hardin County, Ohio, about 18 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and most patients are uninsured or underinsured. McMurray’s patients often face obstacles such as illiteracy, homelessness, financial uncertainties and drug abuse.
As a Certified PA in primary care, she strives to treat the whole patient, managing patients with multiple chronic conditions in addition to acute complications. McMurray once treated an uninsured woman who complained of back pain for months. She worked with the patient to find her affordable health insurance, which led to the discovery that the patient was struggling with stage three lung cancer. By removing hurdles, the patient secured insurance and now has a chance for a full recovery.
“I enjoy treating those who need our services the most,” said McMurray. “I like the challenge of eliminating barriers to treatment. I can help them find options, connect with them on a human level and convey that I’m interested in more than their health.”
McMurray created an outreach program in the form of a self-funded volunteer service committee at the clinic. This committee has offered free school supplies for students who schedule wellness exams, baby showers for expectant moms, Christmas dinners for families in need, gifts for the holidays for local nursing home residents, and numerous other activities.
“Jennifer is an excellent provider,” says colleague Tricia Templeton, PA-C. “She treats the most patients, and people look to her for help or advice about complicated cases. She’s a staple in our clinic and community and really demonstrates that she cares about improving the lives of patients.”
Not only is McMurray making a difference with her patients, but she's also improving the future of the PA profession and her clinic. She precepts first-year PA students and speaks to medical thought leaders about the PA profession. In 2015, she spoke at the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers Conference to promote and educate other clinicians and administrators about the impact PAs have in enabling greater access to care. McMurray also sits on the quality assurance board for the clinic, advocating for patients and their safety first.
Outside of work, she exemplifies what she instructs patients to do every day. As an avid runner, she maintains her health and fitness to practice what she advocates. During warmer spring and summer months, McMurray is often seen riding her bicycle to work.
McMurray also volunteers as a waitress at Table One, a “pay what you can afford” diner. Table One’s mission is to serve a healthy, affordable meal to the community, both to those who can pay as well as those who under normal circumstances would not be able to eat out at a local restaurant. Since there are no prices on the menu, patrons pay what they can afford.
Through patient advocacy, promotion of the PA profession and community service, McMurray has impacted and improved multiple lives in just her three short years of practice.