Joining Mississippi College’s physician assistant faculty amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Justin Goebel is passionate about training students entering the medical profession.
The Pelham, Alabama native serves as the associate director of clinical education. His main area of expertise is orthopedic surgery. He teaches courses on surgery, musculoskeletal injuries and hands-on procedural skills that physician assistants use in clinical practice.
“I really love the relationships I am fortunate to form with my students. Being able to be part of their PA journey is something I’m very proud of. The students at MC come here eager to learn and grow.”
Serving as a PA professor since March to assist students along the way, he said, “is very humbling, to say the least. I’m happy to call many of them friends and colleagues upon graduation.”
Away from the program’s headquarters at the Baptist Healthplex, Justin enjoys outdoor activities, a busy life with his four young boys, and his hobby as a beekeeper. His wife, Kristin, is an RN-turned stay-at-home Mom. The family lives in Madison.
What led Goebel to pursue a teaching post at Mississippi College? He met an MC physician assistant professor at a conference, and before long, an opportunity opened at the Christian university. Teaching is different these days on campuses nationwide as students and faculty wear masks, practice social distancing and observe other protocols during the worldwide health emergency.
Justin earned his bachelor’s degree in health care management from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and completed PA school at UAB in 2012. He worked full-time in orthopedic surgery and part-time in emergency medicine until 2018. That year, he was hired by UAB’s physician assistant program as a professor.
His passion for the medical profession goes back to the time Justin was a teenager.
“I was very fortunate and began working at a surgery center when I was 18. My love for medicine only grew,” Goebel said. “The PA profession was the perfect option for me. The flexibility it offers and the team approach to patient care really appealed to me.”
He’s thankful to all the nurses, physicians, physician assistants and friends helping him along his medical journey.
While he enjoys hanging out with his family as well as camping, his beekeeping hobby has benefits, too.
Goebel keeps several hives in his backyard in Madison County and checks on hives located nearby. There can be 10,000 or more bees in a box/hive at any given time. And he’s kept as many as 15 boxes over the years. “Right now I keep from 5-10. The honey is the best part, fresh and straight from the comb.”
Created in 2011, MC’s physician assistant program is the first of its kind in Mississippi. There are now 36 new students enrolled in the latest cohort class beginning their studies in May. The overall PA enrollment at MC is more than 90 graduate students. It takes 30 months to complete the program.
PA Director Dr. Steve Martin salutes Justin Goebel for his classroom skills and is delighted he joined MC’s program a few months ago.
In addition to a stellar lineup of professors, Mississippi College invites medical professionals to offer guest lectures to PA students. This week, MC PA graduate Josh Shufelt (of the Class of 2016) returned to discuss ophthalmology topics. Shufelt is among only seven or eight physician assistants in the nation practicing ophthalmology.