Name: Hailey Merk, PA-C
Title: Physician Assistant
Location: Chicago, IL
School/Program: Wake Forest University School of Medicine/Wake Forest University School of Business
Currently Wearing: The Ionic Scrub Jacket
Why did you choose your profession?:
In undergrad at the University of Illinois I worked as a personal assistant with students with physical disabilities bridging the gap between their healthcare requirements and academic ambitions to support the students holistically. After graduation I worked at a healthcare technology company taking a business and client management role to support hospitals with patient education solutions. Wake Forest University offered a combined Masters in Management and Master is Medical Science in PA Studies Program and it was the perfect fit for me! I chose to start my PA career in orthopaedic surgery because I love the fast paced intense environment of surgery and learning new technical skills and I progress and grow in this role. I chose sports medicine because I love the business of improving patients quality of life and motivated patients who work hard to return to their highest level of function whether it be for sports or fun!
Current Passion Project:
Speak Up & Save - A close friend of mine’s father passed away from suicide and she has started an annual event with the mission statement below. The website is speakupandsave.com and the instagram is @speakupsave_mbh Speak Up And Save is an annual event with a mission aimed at raising awareness for depression and preventing the ultimate tragedy of Suicide. While our journey originated from grief, we use the death of our father, Michael Higley, as the spark to strive for change. Suicide was a once whispered about death, an act “committed” by someone, as if they had full power to prevent their own demise. When a person is affected by extreme depression, he or she is not able to make a rational decision to speak up. Our mission stands on the belief that everyone can do more to treat depression as the disease it is and work to give those affected more channels to seek help. Each year our goal is to collectively remember our fallen, raise awareness to the cause, and fund-raise in support of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education "SAVE".
Who was/is your inspiration?
My motivator is my family who has always invested in my education and career growth no matter what. My inspiration is all of the PAs I met on rotations and in the North Carolina Academy of PAs who taught me invaluable skills and acted as role models to advocate for our patients and our profession.
Fun Fact 1:
After PA school I traveled abroad and when visiting Monte Carlo, Monaco I watched the Grand Prix formula one races from the hairpin turn!
Fun Fact 2:
We are all volleyball fanatics in my family and played in college! Penn State, Quincy University, UIUC, and University of Central Florida! My mom started it all!
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field?
My advice would be to diversify your surgical skill set during clinical rotations to get as much exposure to surgery in the OR as you possibly can! Don’t let lack of experience intimidate you or prevent you from reaching for your goals, you will learn on the job and you know more than you think!
For more information, be sure to contact her here: