For a guy who doesn’t like to attract attention to himself, there are numerous times when the spotlight finds Daniel Pavlik, DMS, PA-C, associate professor and director of didactic education for the Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program at Salus University.

Dan Pavlik and wifeLike now, for instance. The recent departure of Donna Agnew, MSPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, as director of the PA program created an opportunity for Dr. Pavlik to step in as interim director, a position for which he said he will apply with the hopes of having the “interim” tag removed down the road.

Originally from Warminster, Pennsylvania, Dr. Pavlik graduated from La Salle University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, went on to earn a master’s degree in PA Studies from Arcadia University and then completed his doctor of Medical Sciences at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.

He eventually joined Agnew in the PA department at Arcadia and in 2016, followed her to the PA department at Salus. “I knew that Donna was great and that’s what attracted me to the Salus program,” said Dr. Pavlik. “When we arrived, the program was on academic probation.”

Dan Pavlik and daughterDr. Pavlik, who along with Agnew and other faculty members, helped rebuild the Salus PA program into one of the top programs in the country. “The curriculum was one of the biggest things we rebuilt, and our admissions process needed to change,” said Dr. Pavlik. They set priorities and added specific admissions which he thinks really made a difference.

One of the latest advantages the PA program offers Salus students is the recently opened Standardized Patient Simulation Lab on the Elkins Park, Pennsylvania campus. Through the use of models, computerized patient scenarios and standardized patient encounters, students can sharpen their ability to interview and examine live patients as well as master their procedural skills.

“To really be able to use the new simulation lab to its fullest capacity and really integrate it into the program will make a lot of what we do easier,” he said. 

Dr. Pavlik admits the pandemic has made the past year a “crazy time” for students and instructors alike and has presented a big challenge to simply keep the program running at full strength. “What we’ve done seems to have worked,” he said. “There are things that I think are definitely better delivered in person that we haven’t had the option of delivering in person, like some of the lectures.”

But he added that training PAs in unexpected situations could have benefits as well. “They have had to face a different type of adversity than previous cohorts have. In that way, you could say they have a sort of stress hardiness that other cohorts haven’t had to know,” said Dr. Pavlik.

Dan Pavlik and familyAs for avoiding the spotlight, it sometimes finds him in his personal life as well. He coaches softball and soccer for his children, enjoys woodworking and renovating old furniture, and pre-pandemic, disc jockeying. Dr. Pavlik, who loves most kinds of music — hip hop, electronic, rock, reggae, classical — said he started DJing at his neighborhood block party and after that was asked to play other events. 

“I bought some of the equipment and somebody heard me and asked me to play at a school event. Somebody else asked me to play for a club event, and then I was asked to play at a couple weddings,” said Dr. Pavlik, who does not at this point have an official DJ name. “I don’t have a business or anything, I just sort of stumbled into it.”

As for his career, he said he is where he wants to be at this point and that his next goal would be to become a program director. For now, though, he’s concentrating on providing the best training for PA students at Salus.

“We want to continue to improve our reputation throughout the country so that we continue to recruit great candidates for admissions,” he said.