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Why I Volunteer: Russell Brandwein, MS, PA-C, AACC

Why I Volunteer: Russell Brandwein, MS, PA-C, AACC

Russell Brandwein, MS, PA-C, AACC, has embarked on a fulfilling career in cardiology and interventional cardiology. We asked Brandwein to share a bit about himself and his volunteering experience with PANRE/PANRE-LA.

Tell us a bit about you and about your current role.

I was born and raised in the Northeast, having lived in either New York, Connecticut or New Jersey. I graduated from PA school in 1999 and have always worked in cardiology and interventional cardiology. Currently, I am the Director of Outpatient services and the Chief PA for the Structural Heart & Valve Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. I currently reside in New Jersey with my wife and have 2 college-age sons. We are die-hard NY Ranger fans!

Where did you graduate from PA school?

Bayley Seton Hospital PA Program in Staten Island (It no longer exists). 

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

I was contacted by the NCCPA asking if I’d like to join (I think that was back in 2018) and am currently the Vice Chair of the PANRE-LA committee.

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

I learned so much about exam preparation, as well as psychometrics (yes, it’s a thing!). Understanding exactly how much effort goes into preparing exam questions and answers was eye-opening. I also love collaborating with PAs from all over the country. Sharing our work experiences enriches my professional journey and I truly cherish these interactions. Professionally, volunteering has helped enhance my skills as a PA, both clinically and administratively. Each meeting provides valuable takeaways that I can apply to my current role at work.

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

Be all in. Volunteering is rewarding, but it does involve work and commitment, especially in writing exam questions. So, if you are thinking of volunteering, make sure you are committed 100% to the task.

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

My volunteering journey with NCCPA has been incredible. The staff is exceptional, and visiting the NCCPA headquarters always makes me feel like royalty.

If you’re a clinically practicing PA-C, who has recently completed your secure PANRE or your PANRE-LA and are interested in volunteering for these item writing teams in 2025, visit the NCCPA website and apply today.