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The Medical Artist

News Story

Singer. Model. Medical assistant. There’s no end to what Brian Powell ’21 can accomplish as a health science major on the pre-physician assistant track who creates art in his spare time. To top it off, he also wrote a research paper on racial patient bias in healthcare.

Brian Powell ’21 has a deep passion for helping others. That’s exemplified in his pursuit of a health science major with a concentration in global health, not to mention he’s also on the pre-physician assistant track—all extremely difficult subjects. Powell, though, is eager for the challenge. At Pace, he’s taken on a number of leadership roles including College of Health Professions (CHP) student ambassador for the Student Government Association (SGA), Orientation Leader, and member of the Future Health Care Leaders, the National Residence Hall Honorary Society, and the Residence Hall Association. “Advocating and being a voice for students was always something that I loved to do,” he told us. “I always ensure that everyone’s voices are being heard and find ways to grow and change constructively.”

As a certified medical assistant with a great deal of patient care experience, Powell has worked on the job to build relationships with his patients and collaborate with various teams to address all tasks on any given day. “Working in this field, you never know what you’re going to see or expect, so you have to be prepared for any situation,” Powell explained. And it’s no wonder—he’s worked extensively with trauma, domestic abuse, and bariatric patient calls. “With most of these calls, you cannot waste time as the patient’s life depends on the time it takes to assist, treat, and transport the patient,” he said.

It was also important to Powell that he not only care for his patients, but that he also work to combat racial injustice within his field as well. “During my time shadowing physician assistants while working as a student nurse, I experienced racial bias between patients and healthcare professionals several times,” he told us. “Being an openly black gay male, there were several times when patients would deny care because of the color of my skin and their beliefs.”

During Powell’s junior year at Pace, he decided to take a stand and focused much of his attention on writing a research paper regarding patient bias in the healthcare field. “I was able to complete this paper and give knowledge to my peers and faculty by gathering primary and secondary research,” he told us. Powell conducted many interviews and gathered medical journals and research that focused on patient and physician bias.

From there, he took that same passion for connecting with and uplifting others in order to tackle a new challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic. “As the pandemic placed a hold on my education, I saw this as an opportunity to seek out another way to help those within healthcare,” Powell told us. “I crammed ten weeks of basic EMT training into four weeks. [...] Being able to experience this part of pre-hospital care, I was capable of better learning how to advocate for patients in socioeconomically diverse areas.”

Truly, it’s remarkable how much Powell has accomplished in only a few years at Pace. His dedication, experience, skills, and passion have taken him far. But did you know he’s also a model? “Being in the talent industry already for my music, I already had friends and connections within this industry,” he explained, referring to the music he’s recorded as a signed artist. “After attending my first New York Fashion Week shows that were more focused on empowerment mixed in with fashion such as #MeToo and Chromat, I decided that this was something I wanted to do.”

He’s effected so much positive change since he first took the PLV Campus by storm, but initially, Powell was drawn to selecting Pace for more than just its excellent health care programs. “The lip sync battle during Orientation was also a key factor into my choice of choosing Pace,” he told us. We’re certain that was quite the battle! We also look forward to all the good Powell continues to do in the bright future he has ahead of him.

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