A Career in the Making
Jeffrey Steed II is an NCCPA board-certified physician assistant who started his career in the medical field 10 years ago.
From a young age, Jeffrey always knew he wanted to pursue a career in medicine. His desired specialty looked a little different while he was studying as an undergrad at Chapman University with a major in Psychology and a minor in communication. However, understanding a patient’s mindset has allowed him to extend empathy in an impactful way — addressing the fears that both patients and their families experience during their cancer journey.
To this day, Jeffrey employs his psychology and communication skills in his practice:
“I firmly believe understanding the patients’ mental health and wellbeing, along with communicating effectively, can help any practitioner provide exceptional care.”
Shortly after graduating from Chapman University, Jeffrey began working as a Sterile Processing Tech at the Children’s Hospital in his home state of Colorado. After two years, he became a Clinical Nurse Aide (CNA) and worked in the Hematology/Oncology unit for another 3 years prior to PA school. In this role, he gained valuable experience in assisting families who endured hardships during chemotherapy and learned about the dynamics of patient-centered care.
“I loved making children laugh and cracking jokes with both staff and parents,” recalled Steed. “Although working in pediatrics Hem/Onc can be difficult, witnessing moments of great joy when families come together […] is worth it.”
In 2019, he went on to receive his Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Western University of Health Science in Pomona, California before joining The Oncology Institute in 2020.
The Importance of Representation in Health Care
Studies have shown African American patients who are treated by African American providers tend to experience better outcomes and receive better quality of care. According to the National Commission on Certification of PAs (NCCPA), only 3.3% of Physician Assistants identify as Black/African American. For Jeffrey, one of the biggest challenges working as a Physician Assistant is the lack of representation, followed by the biases and reservations some people hold due to the color of his skin.
“Many African Americans I know in medicine specialize in Surgery, Family Practice, Orthopedics, work in Urgent Care or ED. All are great practical fields to be a part of, however, there’s not a lot of representation in Hem/Onc. Patients and families experiencing their biggest challenges deserve to see themselves reflected in their practitioners,” said Steed. “To anyone who knows me and my character, I try my best to represent myself and my culture whenever I come to work. I have a cultural responsibility to help as many African Americans as possible, especially when it comes to healthcare.”
Jeffrey understands that everyone has developed their own understanding and experiences of the world. No matter who he encounters or the attitude they may carry, he always maintains a professional persona and remembers his responsibility to family, community, and culture.
“Stay The Course”
To anyone who might be seeking a career in the medical field, Jeffrey advises not to be deterred or discouraged as everyone’s career path is unique. After waiting until his late twenties to attain his degree as a physician assistant, he was able to make his goal a reality.
Jeffrey also notes the importance of paying it forward and having mentors along the way: “If it were not for them, I would not be here. I try to do my part in helping as many people as I can in their pursuit of becoming an advanced practice provider by making myself available for questions.”
On Being a Provider at TOI
Since 2020, Jeffrey has made a meaningful impact in the lives of our patients. “It is an amazing honor to be a part of the TOI organization and to see its growth in my time here,” said Steed. “I am humbled each and every day to be a part of this team and to learn from some of the most caring mid-level providers and MDs. As one of a few African Americans in this practice, I hope that my presence will not only provide more representation, but also encourage other people of color to join our growing practice.”
His patient philosophy is simple: To do no harm and to empower the patient as much as possible. The more the patient knows about their health and patient rights, the more likely they are to become staunch advocates for themselves. If Black patients are more engaged with their diagnosis and treatment plan – whether it be for diabetes, cancer or sickle anemia – through education and preventative care, they may be able to bridge the gap of health disparities that have deep roots in their culture. “I champion my fellow African Americans to advocate for their health — ask important questions about their diagnosis and care, to get involved with the community to address health disparities, and to be proactive, not reactive about their health.”
When he is not treating patients, Jeffrey enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching cartoons and movies, traveling, hiking and white-water rafting. He also loves to stay active by playing sports and supporting teams from his hometown in Denver, CO. As the pandemic slows down, he hopes to become a medical missionary, providing healthcare services around the world.
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