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The Impact of One ...

Bartley adn Tamara Gravelle
Bartley and Tamara Gravelle '07

Physician assistant gives back to UDM for changing her life

Without the Physician Assistant program at UDM’s College of Health Professions, Tamara (German) Gravelle would not have the fantastic patient-care position that she enjoys today at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

A 2007 graduate of the P.A. program, Gravelle was a nontraditional student. After 20 years of working in various laboratories at Henry Ford, she decided to pursue a higher level position. While working with patients in the Coumadin lab at Henry Ford’s Trenton Medical Center, she discovered that she loved the daily contact with patients.

She decided to become a physician assistant and enrolled at UDM. She was able to split her time between school and work for the first two years. For the third year, she went full time to do clinical rotations. Bonding with others in her 40-member class and being trained as a generalist were key benefits. She knows that she can adapt her skills to any clinical field with on-the-job training.

“Supporting UDM has many rewards – such as being part of a community that treats you like family.”

—Tamara Gravelle '07

She was mentored by a fellow lab worker Debbie Flowers, who earned a P.A. degree from UDM and then worked in the Transplant program. Tamara has followed in that tract and works with patients awaiting kidney, liver, pancreas and intestinal transplants.

“There’s a higher level of respect for me now,” she says. “There are so many benefits to being a physician’s assistant. It pays well and I get the patient contact that I want. And, I work with a great group of people.”

Her successful career transition has bolstered her support of the College of Health Professions. She and her husband Bartley Gravelle sponsor the annual President’s Cabinet event. This year it is a wine tasting at the McNichols Campus Library on May 23. His employer, financial services firm Hilliard Lyons, allows him to make a generous charitable contribution annually. The couple has chosen to give that gift to UDM.

Tamara has two children from a previous marriage: Rachel, 17, who wants to be a physician and Nicholas, 19, a college freshman pursing an economics/law degree.

As secretary of the CHP alumni group, Tamara is encouraging more classmates to attend social and sports events. She notes that supporting UDM has many rewards – such as being part of a community that treats you like family.