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2010 Health Care Champion Honoree: Jeff Del Vecchio

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Jeff Del Vecchio came to Missouri State University armed with a trumpet scholarship and a plan to study music, but his interest in science led him to medicine.

“I took some biology classes and decided I liked it more,” says Del Vecchio, a physician assistant at Orthopedic Specialists-St. John’s Clinic. He completed a bachelor’s degree in biology from MSU in 1994 and earned a bachelor of medical science and physician assistant certificate at St. Louis University in 1997. He joined Orthopedic Specialists in 1997 and earned his master’s in physician assistant studies from University of Nebraska in 2000.

While physician assistants take many of the same classes as medical students and must complete specialty rotations, Del Vecchio chose to become a physician assistant because he can help patients without the additional schooling and requisite residency.

As a PA, Del Vecchio takes patient histories, conducts physicals, prescribes medication, orders and interprets tests, assists in surgery, gives post-operative exams and goes on hospital rounds.

Del Vecchio has worked with Dr. Fred McQueary for 13 years and chose orthopedic medicine because he could split his time between patients and the operating room.

“With my personality, it’s just a good balance,” Del Vecchio says.

Part of that balance includes spending more time with patients than a physician is often able to, Del Vecchio says.

Del Vecchio has been involved with several organizations, including the Missouri Academy of Physician Assistants, for which he has held several positions and was involved in legislative efforts to expand the role of PAs in rural health care.

Del Vecchio enjoys educating future professionals and is an adjunct clinical faculty member for MSU’s Physician Assistant Studies program and lecturer for SLU’s PA studies program.

Del Vecchio continually demonstrates commitment to his profession and patients, says Brian Aston, also a PA at Orthopedic Specialists.

“Jeff is the first to step up whenever something needs to be done for fellow PAs or patients. He is really a good ambassador for the profession,” Aston says. “He seems to have an excellent rapport with his patients. They trust him.”
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