Symone Simmons was recently hired as a residency program coordinator, but she’s been a part of the MAHEC team since she was in high school. Her first experience with MAHEC was a little less than ten years ago when she was a member of the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy (CAYLA).
As part of her CAYLA experience, Symone had to complete a summer internship, which she did at MAHEC with Jacquelyn Hallum. The next summer she got another internship with Jacquelyn, and that’s when she learned about the Minority Medical Mentoring Program (MMMP) and decided to apply.
The MMMP internship, and the people she met through it, became a source of encouragement for Symone. She was happy to meet like-minded, similarly high-achieving high school students. “It was nice to have people that were interested in the same things you were and who were super supportive,” Symone said.
Symone also liked that MMMP exposed her to different careers in the healthcare field. At the time, becoming a doctor was Symone’s goal, but, as her plans changed, her knowledge of the variety of healthcare careers helped her find a new path.
“I’m really thankful that I got the opportunity to see what it was like to be a doctor versus a nurse versus a PA and see the administrative side of healthcare,” Symone shared. “It gave me a whole plethora of information, seeing all the different careers in the medical field.”
In college, Symone majored in health management and explored the administrative side of healthcare. In the process, she realized she wanted to be more directly involved in patient care. Now she’s taking prerequisites to enable her to enroll in a physician assistant (PA) program while gaining valuable experience working full-time at MAHEC.
“I enjoy being in an office, but I also enjoy interacting with people and giving them resources and information,” Symone shared. She says her current role as a residency program coordinator is helping her prepare for her future studies and career as a PA.
“I definitely appreciate this role because I get to interact with the doctors and residents, so it gives me a full picture of the healthcare field,” Symone explained. “I work in administration, but I can see the doctors and students and see their process. I think that’s a blessing, and it’s helping me as I continue on my journey.”
Symone’s been a part of the MAHEC team since her days as a student intern. Now her career path has led her back to where she started. We’re delighted to support her as she prepares for the next phase of her health career!