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PAs in research?

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Hi everyone! I'm a newcomer to the forum, and I'm looking for the opinions/guidance from some established PAs. I tried searching the forum and didn't find anything on this topic.


Some pretext for the question...

I'm currently enrolled in a PhD program for Language and Cognitive Science. I'm interested in what we can learn about the organization of language in the brain from neuropathological patient populations. Specifically, I am interested in the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer's disease. Ideally, I want use my understanding of Language and the brain as a way of developing better clinical tests to diagnose early AD, so that these people may get earlier treatments to help stave off symptoms. On some level I believe that I need a clinical leg-to-stand-on if you will. Training that will allow me to better serve the patients I want to help. I feel that PA might be the right route for me to make a hybrid of patient care and research. I don't have any desire to go to medical school, since I don't believe you learn to treat the whole patient there. I'm also not into the idea of medicine for money...but I do need to be financially secure. I don't know if you know any PhDs but it is increasingly impossible to find a job in academia (which is really all that I'd be qualified for after getting a PhD...last I checked, if I had my PhD tomorrow there would be 17 jobs in the entire country that I might be qualified for...and so would 200-400 other people...). So on some level this is about getting a job. But I think it's more about finding a place where I can both care about my patients, as well as learn from them to provide better treatment for the next.


The question for the Professional PAs, I suppose, is whether or not this is even possible. Do any of you know, or are any of you out there PA, PhDs? (That is, not a PhD of PA, but a PA with a PhD in some other field?) Or how about PAs in research? Am I totally crazy?


(For those curious of my credentials, and plausibility of being accepted to PA school, I have a B.S. in Biology, and I've worked for 5 years as an EMT, so I have plenty of HCE :) )

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