The recipient of the Distinguished Clinician Award is Daniel Schaffer, PA-C, MPAS, a clinical instructor in medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
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Explore This IssueDecember 2018
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“The ARHP has been and still is a very critical and vital part of what I do every day with my colleagues and most importantly, my patients and their families,” says Mr. Schaffer. “Any success I may have attained in the practice of rheumatology is directly related to my ARHP membership—my training, friendships and professional networking opportunities.”
Mr. Schaffer’s military medical training and specialized rheumatology training he received at the Mayo Clinic proved to be invaluable when he was deployed to the Middle East from 2004–05 during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Noble Eagle. He cared for coalition soldiers and civilians of host nations with primary care and rheumatology conditions.
Mr. Schaffer, who retired as a major, spent 27 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. During his career, he completed a wide variety of training programs and courses, including basic and advanced courses for Army Medical Department officers.
His civilian career began as an emergency medical technician in 1985 in Spencer, Ind. Two years later, he received his certification as a paramedic from Bloomington Hospital, Ind., and worked in this role at the hospital until 1992. He completed his physician assistant training in 1994 at Cook County Hospital and Malcolm X College, Chicago. The following year, he entered primary care at the Unity Physicians Group, Bloomington, Ind., where he practiced until 1998. He then joined the primary care staff at Goshen Health in Indiana.
He continued his education, earning a master’s degree in 2000 with high honors and completing a fellowship in family medicine at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Then in 2001, he began his rheumatology career at the Mayo Clinic.
Mr. Schaeffer joined the ARHP around 2003 and has been active in multiple task forces, including those that developed the Advanced Rheumatology Course, Rheumatology Nursing course and the Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Fellowship Program. He also sat on the ACR Blue Ribbon Task Force on Academic Medicine as ARHP’s representative. Currently, he’s serving on the association’s Practice Committee.
“My next goal is to complete my PhD at Trident University (an online, military university in Cypress, Calif.,) with my thesis looking at the treatment and study of rheumatoid nodules and how they might give us insight into molecular subtyping of rheumatoid arthritis,” Mr. Schaffer says. “I am also interested in studying the roles of bacterial and viral exposures and the immune system response as it relates to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.”