Magazine Winter 2018 Issue

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Page 12 of 39

WINTER 2018 11 STUDENT SPOTLIGHT rough most of her young life and well into adulthood, Pamela Payne suffered om debilitating pain. However, it wasn't until she was in her thirties that she was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune disorders as well as diabetes. Doctors, family and Payne, herself, were puzzled about the etiology of her illness and the best means to treat it. Years went by as she tried to cope. Aer extensive genetic testing, Payne learned she was positive for human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27). Finally, she had a cause and, more importantly, the proper treatment for her autoimmune conditions. However, she was still battling severe pain in her back and legs. Somewhere along the way, Payne had suffered two broken vertebra that came directly om a herniated disc in her lower back. She's not sure when or where the disc caused the break in her vertebra, but she was relieved to have a source for the pain. She underwent successful surgery and reemerged as the person she always knew she could be – strong, confident, happy and ee. Payne's experiences in and out of doctors' offices, the inability of anyone to properly pinpoint the source of her pain, and having to rely on medication to get through the day inspired her to take her life in a new direction. She wanted to help people like herself. People whose conditions didn't fit easily into one diagnostic box. People with illnesses requiring both mental and physical medical attention. She knew the combination of her medical conditions was unique; she understood what it was like to live consumed by uncertainty, and she experienced having to cope with PAMELA PAYNE A MISSION OF PASSION daily pain that was unexplained in medical textbooks. Bottom line, she knew she could help. Payne's quest ultimately led her to Kansas City University's new Doctor of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) program. In fact, she's one of the program's first 12 students and feels privileged to be among them. "It's an honor to lay the groundwork for this program. I believe it's the future of health care and I'm excited to be a part of it," said Payne. "It has become my passion." She'll graduate in 2022 with her Doctorate of Psychology, specializing in neuropsychology. Her goal is to work closely with doctors in other specialized fields treating the mind, body and spirit. Treatment will be a team effort with the goal of a wholly well person equipped with the right strategies to live a happy and fulfilling life. When asked what advice she'd give future students of the PsyD program, Payne didn't hesitate in saying, "Take it one step at a time. But keep moving forward no matter how many steps it takes. Be tenacious. Be dedicated."

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