Brian Yorkgitis, D.O., PA-C, FACS

It’s important for Brian Yorkgitis, DO, PA-C, FACS to maintain his PA certification even while working full-time as a physician. For him, the broad-based medical education and seven years of experience as a PA prepared him for the rigors of medical school and working on multi-disciplinary healthcare teams.

“I don’t think I’d be the physician I am today without being a PA first,” he acknowledged.

Yorkgitis’ passion for medicine started at age 16 when he met a PA and decided he wanted to pursue a four-year undergraduate PA program. Working as a PA intensified his passion for medicine and set in motion further pursuits. Putting mind over matter, he worked full-time as a PA while attending medical school. This unique perspective as a practicing clinician equipped him to tackle science courses that challenged his classmates and made him a valuable resource for fellow medical students.

“As a PA, I had great supervising physicians who offered flexibility that allowed me to go to school and still work,” he said. “A lot of the medical information overlaps once you got past the initial science so my education and experience as a practicing PA gave me an advantage over other medical students.”

For Yorkgitis, already offering a broad range of services and treating patients served as a valuable precursor for the more specialized education and seven years of residency and fellowship requirements he needed to become a board-certified surgeon in critical care, trauma and acute care surgery.

“All the things I gained as a PA really holds true to how I practice today,” he said. “I wouldn’t be a good physician if I wasn’t exposed to everything I learned in PA school.”

Yorkgitis’ appreciation of the profession is why he continues to recertify as a PA, and his advocacy extends to precepting PA students and collaborating with PAs on his medical team. These contact points allow him to stay in touch with the profession’s current practicing environment.

“His enthusiasm and love of the profession are evident in mentoring students and PAs,” says a former PA student. “He always shares his story to students and promotes that being a PA is the best job in the world. This positive influence helps students see the light at the end of the tunnel during the long journey to becoming a PA.”

In addition to mentoring, Yorkgitis has spent three years on the editorial board of JAAPA where he authors surgical literature, reviews manuscripts, and provides insight on emerging surgical topics.

“The focus for all medical providers is to help and treat patients,” he said. “We must also be prepared for lifelong learning because medicine is so fast-paced and changing drastically. It’s imperative that we stay on top of current medical knowledge so that we can better serve our patients.”