Graduate Spotlight: Q&A with John Der Ghazarian, Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2022

We're getting to know students from every program at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Submit your own details for Student Spotlight consideration by filling out our brief form.

John Der Ghazarian

Q: You are class president and preparing to graduate this weekend — congratulations! What are a few words that best describe you?

A: Hard working, dedicated, passionate and caring.

Q: What are your interests? 

A: Taking care of my son. Watching football and TV with my wife. Going to church.

Q: Why did you choose Wayne State?

A: Because of the university’s dedication to the community and its involvement in local hospital centers like the DMC, plus affordability and the program’s reputation as the top PA program in the state.

Q: Why did you choose the Physician Assistant Studies program

A: It was who I saw myself being. After I dislocated my shoulder playing soccer, a PA assisted in my recovery and surgery. The PA I saw took their time to be personable and learn about me — that matched who I wanted to be. PAs are medical providers who truly embody the patient-centered model. I want to be a healer and assist others on their road to health. This field allows for the pursuit of that dream.

Q: Tell us about a memorable WSU experience. 

A: I enjoyed our socially distanced physical examination classes with Doug Howell and Courtney Doty. After spending countless hours online due to COVID-19, being in person and learning the art of the physical exam among friends and mentors was a blessing I’ll always be grateful for.

Q: If you had 24 hours free from work and school obligations, what would you do?

A: I would spend my day with my wife and son in a warm place and with lots of good food. I would just enjoy being able to step back and focus on the people who always make me smile and keep me strong.

Der Ghazarian family
John, Michelle and baby Jackson Der Ghazarian

Q: Share a recent accomplishment that made you proud of yourself.

A: Last semester, I helped to diagnose an acute appendicitis. I was sent in before my preceptor/instructor to perform a history and physical with a patient. Through my work, I was able to present my patient to my preceptor with my findings and assist in sending her to the ER for treatment, where her diagnosis was confirmed. It made me so proud of my learned abilities and grateful to those who had spent time teaching and helping me develop those skills.

Q: What are your career aspirations?

A: I want to be a geriatric PA. I spent many hours volunteering at nursing homes and saw things that made me want to be a part of a solution and better existence for those people. I feel deeply that this population has earned our respect and gratitude, and should have the dignity of living their lives healthfully. I want to assist in that life for them.

Q: Anything else to share?

A: My wife and I had our first child last July. Our little boy is our pride and joy and has made us the happiest people in the world. We’re so grateful for all the good we have been blessed with.

The Physician Assistant Studies master of science degree program at the Wayne State University Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is focused on the development of highly competent and passionate physician assistants who are deeply committed to practicing in urban and underserved health care settings. The admission cycle runs from May 1-Sept. 1 for classes beginning the following May. Prospective students can get started by attending a WSU Applebaum information meeting the first Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. 

An anchor in urban health care

The Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is built on more than 100 years of tradition and innovation in the heart of Detroit. We have grown deep roots in our city, harnessing its powerhouse hospital systems and community service organizations as vibrant, real-world training grounds for students, with an ongoing focus on social justice in health care. And our research at all levels – from undergraduates to veteran faculty members – translates into creative solutions for healthier communities.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering approximately 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 25,000 students.

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