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Why I Volunteer: Mark Aksamit, MPAS, PA-C, CAQ-Psych

Mark Aksamit, MPAS, PA-C, CAQ-Psychiatry, is a Board Certified PA who works in psychiatry and as an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is a volunteer with NCCPA, serving as Vice Chair of the Psychiatry CAQ committee. We wanted to know about his experience, and if he had any advice for fellow PAs interested in volunteering.

Tell us a bit about you and your current role.

I have been a PA for more than 10 years, specializing in psychiatry. I began my career in private practice and have since moved to an academic university outpatient clinic. I also work part-time as an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center PA Program, where I direct the behavioral medicine course for first-year PA students. In addition, I supervise about 13 PAs and NPs in the UNMC’s Department of Psychiatry . My primary clinical duties involve working in our treatment-resistant depression clinic and conducting transplant psychiatry evaluations. We precept students from various disciplines in our clinic, including PAs, NPs, MDs and therapists.

Where did you graduate from PA school?

I graduated from PA school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2013.

How did you find out about this volunteering opportunity, and which committees were you part of?

I began volunteering in early 2021, shortly after earning my CAQ in psychiatry. A staff member from NCCPA contacted me about potential volunteer opportunities. I initially started as a virtual volunteer for the Psychiatry CAQ during the pandemic. Currently, I serve as the Vice Chair of the Exam Program for the Psychiatry CAQ committee.

What insights did you gain from your volunteering experience, and did it benefit your professional growth?

Volunteering has greatly exceeded my expectations in terms of professional growth. It has enhanced my skills as a PA, preceptor, educator, colleague and supervisor. Networking with the incredible PAs I volunteer with and learning from the supportive NCCPA staff has been invaluable. Their guidance on psychometrics and exam creation has also improved my test-taking approach. 

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering with NCCPA?

While it may not feel like you have the time or capacity to volunteer with everything else involved with being a PA, I assure you it’s absolutely worth it. Over the years, focusing solely on clinical care can lead to burnout. Volunteering, however, has helped fill my bucket and bring life back to my work. My involvement with NCCPA has broadened my network and opened up numerous opportunities outside of NCCPA, which have been professionally fulfilling and supportive during challenging times. Additionally, it has undoubtedly enhanced my skills as a PA, a sentiment echoed by my fellow volunteers.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your volunteering journey with NCCPA?

If you’re on the fence about volunteering, I encourage you to go for it. The benefits you’ll gain from volunteering are broad and plentiful!


If you’re a clinically practicing PA-C, who’s interested in volunteering your expertise with the Psychiatry CAQ exam development team in 2025, visit the NCCPA website and apply today.