Joe Weber is the director of the upcoming physician’s assistant graduate program at Lake Erie College, one of the newest additions to the LEC curriculum. Weber joined the LEC faculty in the summer of 2011 as an adjunct faculty in the biology department, but he was soon charged with helping get the new PA program off the ground.
Originally from the Cleveland area, Weber pursued education in two different fields and has both a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and Master’s of Physician Assistant Sciences (MPAS).
He is also currently working on his Doctorate of Health Sciences (DHSc) and will be completing it in August 2014. Before joining the LEC faculty Weber worked in companies such as Lubrizol and Microsoft Corporation as a computer engineer and eventually in senior management position. He also taught at Lakeland Community College and Lock Haven University.
"Growing up in Lake County I was familiar with the outstanding reputation of LEC, and I was excited to join,” Weber said. "I was especially excited by President Victor’s vision for the College, the outstanding faculty, and starting a physician assistant program to serve the needs of the community.”
Weber stated that his inspiration to go into medical education came while performing a clinical rotation in pediatric neurology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
"Near the end of my rotation Dr. Mani Moodley, one of the nation’s leading pediatric neurologists, pulled me aside and said he felt I had a gift of compassion and teaching,” Weber said, "and he encouraged me to pursue a career in both teaching and clinical medicine. Given that Dr. Moodley had won many teaching awards, I was able to learn so much from him about how to encourage students to be their best. His kind words and his continued friendship and mentoring guide me to this day to be the best teacher I can be.”
Driven by his mentor’s encouragement, Weber approached Dr. Jamie Landis, MD, PhD at Lakeland Community College, who is also a friend of his. "[Dr. Landis] gave me my first teaching opportunity at Lakeland to teach anatomy and physiology,” Weber said. "I instantly fell in love with teaching and consider it one of the greatest blessings of my life.
"I am a Christian, and I believe God moved me to pursue a career in medicine,” he added. Medicine also runs in his family. "My uncle, Dr. Ernie Mazzaferri, is a world-renowned internal medicine physician and endocrinologist. He gave me great words of encouragement when I was considering entering a medical career. I believe [that] with his inspiration and with God opening doors, I was blessed to have many opportunities to learn and grow.”
At LEC Weber teaches anatomy and physiology as well as biology and biomedical ethics, alongside working hard toward the opening of the PA program. Once the program is started, he will be teaching medical topics across the medical curriculum. "The field of medicine is exciting and evolving, so there are many opportunities to grow in my career,” Weber said. "I love teaching medical topics so students can one day enter this exciting field, too.”
Teaching in the medical field gives him the opportunity to see the immediate impact his students are making as soon as they graduate, and many times even before graduation. "There are two classes that I think have real-world applications,” Weber said. "First is anatomy and physiology, because even if a student isn’t going into a medical career, they get to learn about their own body and the wondrous miracle that makes us human.
"The other class is biomedical ethics because we all will face, personally or professionally, items such as end-of-life decisions, medical treatment options, advances in medical treatments, and the complex interactions between science, religion, social and economic factors that make life both challenging and exciting.”
Working with the LEC students has been a great experience for Weber. "I love the students,” he said. "They are absolutely amazing!” He diversifies his classes with fun activities that teach the students a lot, or just relax them a little, such as telling "Real Stories from the ER” and having the students guess the diagnosis, or holding a push-up contest in his biology class.Weber has gotten involved in campus life in many other ways—he is helping a group of students start a Bible study, he worked with women’s soccer coach Jamie Shadd and her team to contribute to the St. James Church’s Feed the Homeless program, and he even works with students who have had some medical issues and need some advice or direction. Some days you can find him just hanging out at the Holden Student Center, talking to the students. They know they can count on him—after all, among his other qualifications, Joe Weber also has a black belt in karate and has competed in numerous local, regional and national tournaments.