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Q&A Spotlight: Patricia Kennedy

Author: The Dermatology Specialists

Patricia Kennedy The Dermatology Specialists

Patricia Kennedy is a certified Physician Assistant in dermatology. At The Dermatology Specialists, she brings her unique background as a registered dietician and nutritionist to inform her wide-ranging expertise in dermatological care.

Originally from Cooperstown, New York, Patricia studied at Cornell University where she earned her degree in Nutritional Sciences. Later, she graduated with a Master’s of Arts in Nutritional Education from Immaculata University. As she became fascinated with medicine, Patricia went on to earn a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies at the University of New England in 2009.

For nearly ten years, Patricia has worked as a Physician Assistant, honing a focus in medical and cosmetic skin care. Since June, Patricia has worked at The Dermatology Specialists, where she is known for providing passionate care and education to her patients with various dermatological needs.

We sat down with Patricia Kennedy to learn more about her professional experience and life in New York City.

What inspired you to become a Physician Assistant in dermatology?

I worked as a registered dietician for about ten years and through my work in the hospital, I became more interested in medicine. During my training, I was always intrigued by the confusion so many people had about skin conditions. When I was in the internal medicine rotation, I realized dermatology was a really fascinating niche within medicine. As a result, I decided to pursue it as my specialty.

Is your work informed or inspired by your previous work as a dietician?

I find many links between good nutrition and skincare. The connection between the two is more indirect, but I think the same goal that I have had as a registered dietician prevails as a PA in dermatology: helping people become their best selves and learn how to better take care of themselves.

Can you tell us more about your education and background?

I always knew that I wanted to study at Cornell University. After earning my degree in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell, I worked in the field for a year. However, I realized that I also needed a Registered Dietician certification. I went back to school to receive my Master’s of Arts degree in Nutrition Education from Immaculata University, becoming a Registered Dietician. Following that, I worked at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, NY — where I’m from — and became more interested in medicine along the way. As a result, I went to school at the University of New England in Maine and got my degree as a Physician Assistant. Upon graduating, I returned to Bassett in Cooperstown and worked in their hospital-based practice for nearly eight years. I moved to New York City in January, 2018 to work in private practice and am really enjoying working and living in the city and experiencing all it has to offer.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

I get a lot of satisfaction in working with patients to manage their skin conditions. They often come to me in crisis and the first thing we have to do is get their skin back to baseline. I also get a lot of satisfaction out of skin cancer screenings and early detection. Whether it’s finding precancerous cells or helping prevent acne flare ups, my work is all about helping patients understand their skin concerns and how to treat and care for them. It is in these moments where you can really make a difference in someone’s life.

What is the hardest part of your job that you think the average person wouldn’t think about?

The hardest part is that there are not a lot of simple cures for dermatological diagnoses. When patients come in for treatment, they often think that we can cure them quickly or that it’s a one-and-done process. However, it’s usually an ongoing regimen of treatments to try and manage most skin conditions.

I think a lot of people want to simplify both nutrition and dermatological care, but the human body is so much more complex than that. Good dermatological care is all about individualizing each patient’s skin care plan based on what their goals and concerns are, and being willing to adjust to accommodate any reactions or changes. It’s much more complicated than just throwing a cream on a rash.

What do you enjoy most about working in Brooklyn?

I really enjoy the diverse patient base and variety of procedures performed. Brooklyn is a multicultural community where I work with a lot of young people. There is also a lot of variety in the different skin conditions that I see on a daily basis. In this practice, there’s so much variety in terms of medical conditions I see and the treatments I use each day.

What hobbies and activities do you enjoy in your spare time?

In my spare time, I enjoy reading mystery novels and early American history and regularly travel upstate to visit family.

I’m also an avid runner. In May, I completed a half-marathon and am starting to train for the Brooklyn Half Marathon in October. Previously, I completed a full marathon in Buffalo, NY and I’ve also participated in a variety of other runs that ranged between five to fifteen kilometers.