Dan Simpson (DO ’17)
Dan Simpson’s interest in public service began in high school. Initially he thought
he would study criminal justice, hoping to become a police officer. However, after
working in a hospital environment as a food service worker, he started to think more
about serving others through medicine.
“My cousin had just started school to become a physician assistant,” said Mr. Simpson.
“The program sounded good so I started doing some research on other programs.”
Mr. Simpson eventually started in the Physician Assistant Studies program at King’s
College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 2009. While there, he volunteered with the
Serve program, through which students can travel to underserved areas on their academic
breaks to help people in need. But his focus on medicine became even narrower in his
sophomore year when he worked as a medical scribe at Geisinger Wyoming Valley in Wilkes-Barre.
“I worked with physician assistants but I also worked with doctors,” he said. “The
role of a doctor appealed to me, and I started to shift my mentality to want a more
active role in patient care.”
PCOM and King’s College have an articulation agreement, so Mr. Simpson had some familiarity
with the institution. “Osteopathic medicine has a different approach to other medical
schools,” said Mr. Simpson. “The holistic approach is something that has always appealed
to me; growing up, my mother managed a health food store so I was constantly exposed
to the ways that food and lifestyles can affect a person’s health.”
Once Mr. Simpson came to PCOM, his drive to help others grew even more. During his
time at the College, he has been heavily involved with the Health Career Academy (HCA),
a program through which PCOM DO students travel to local high schools several times
during the year to teach those students about careers in health and medicine.
“We learned so much about their environment, the social struggles they face and how
it affects the way they learn and their relationships,” said Mr. Simpson. “The students
have become like friends. We do more than teach them about health careers—we try to
support them socially so they feel like they have someone to talk to about anything
that’s going on in their lives.” He added that he still keeps in touch with many of
the students he taught through the HCA, and even celebrated with one student’s family
before her senior prom.
Mr. Simpson also served as treasurer of the Emergency Medicine Club, vice president
of PCOM’s Student American Academy of Osteopathy and vice president of PCOM’s LGBT
Alliance of Students Organized for Health, which seeks to provide a welcoming and
visible community for LGBTQ individuals and provide LGBTQ heath education not provided
by the curriculum to students. He also served as technology director for the Student
“There are so many opportunities to get involved through student organizations,” said
Mr. Simpson. “I was really impressed with how supportive PCOM was. All the students
and faculty are very motivated to help each other. It’s more like a family.”
After graduation, Mr. Simpson will go on to an emergency medicine residency at Albert
Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. He says the main criterion for his residency
was to work with a population that was underserved. Prior to coming to PCOM, he traveled
to Chiapas, Mexico, after completing his EMT training and provided basic health and
wellness education to the citizens there. He hopes to do more medical mission trips
in the future.
No matter where he goes, Mr. Simpson hopes to serve those who are most in need. “I
want to provide those resources wherever I can,” he said.