Kelly Walsh Botta ’09 chose Shenandoah because she loved the small town feel and small class sizes. With the small class sizes, Botta felt like she was seen as a person, and not just a number.
“It is a fantastic place to train as a PA,” said Botta. “The local area is charming and the education is excellent.”
Some of Botta’s fondest memories of Shenandoah were the late night study sessions with her classmates and medical mission trips she took to Nicaragua.
Botta is now a certified physician assistant (PA) and the owner/founder of SMARTYPANTS MEDICINE. With her business, she provides a new model of healthcare that focuses on personalized primary care for patients via a monthly membership. The membership covers unlimited monthly visits as well as direct access to a health care provider via text, phone, email, telehealth and home visits. The practice treats acute issues like flu, rash, stomach pain and skin infections as well as long term conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, kidney disease, etc.
“It’s like a gym membership or Netflix, but for primary care,” said Botta. “Imagine how helpful it would be to have your health care professional text with you! Excellent health care doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to depend on whether you have health insurance or not.”
In her career, Botta has been a PA in internal medicine, emergency medicine and urgent care. She has also been a clinical co-lead for Population Health, guest lecturer for the Shenandoah University PA program and a preceptor for the university’s PA students.
The most rewarding part of Botta’s career is taking care of patients and their families during their times of medical need and uncertainty, and helping them meet their health goals. “Being able to provide professional support, answers and in some cases, complete resolution of medical problems has been one of my great joys,” said Botta.
The strong academic foundation Botta received from Shenandoah prepared her for her medical career. She believes without the incredible faculty and resources of the program, she would not be where she is today. “There is also a great comradery among our SU physician assistants and I continue to have personal and professional colleagues across various fields in medicine,” said Botta.
Botta’s advice to students is: “Stay calm, study hard, sleep, and ask a lot of questions!”