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Workforce Hero: Rachel Pairsh, program director, tenured professor, and faculty advisor at Peninsula College, educates and trains future generations of the health-serving workforce


Olympic Community of Health’s Workforce Heroes are the inspirational people successfully recruiting, engaging, developing, and retaining staff throughout the region. The stories of these heroes illuminate career pathways across the field of health. This campaign is a result of findings in OCH’s Strengthening the Health-Serving Workforce report


Rachel Pairsh wears many hats at Peninsula College. She is the director of Medical Assisting (MA) programs and manages the MA, administrative Medical Office Assisting, and Phlebotomy Certificate Programs. She’s also a tenured professor, faculty advisor, and practicum coordinator for all three programs. For her twenty plus years serving the healthcare workforce, OCH is featuring Rachel as an Olympic Region Workforce Hero.


Rachel began her career as a front desk and switchboard operator at the local hospital in the very small, rural Illinois community where she grew up. From there, she gained experience in all administrative areas including billing, coding, medical records, and credit and collections. Following a break from healthcare, she returned to college in 2008 for her MA certification. Peninsula College’s MA Program Director at the time, Jen Gouge, encouraged Rachel to expand her focus from solely administrative to include clinical. “After that, there was really no looking back and I’ve been heavily involved in clinical medical assisting and patient care ever since,” Rachel shared.

Rachel gained valuable experience working for two of the largest healthcare employers on the Olympic Peninsula before being recruited to take over Peninsula College’s MA Program in 2013. Since then, Rachel has led the program to attaining and now maintaining national programmatic accreditation, contributed to the design and building of the Allied Health building at the Port Angeles campus, and opened more doors for prospective students by designing and launching the Medical Office Assisting and Phlebotomy programs as stand-alone offerings. Her service continues, “now my focus is on educating and training the future generations of the allied health workforce,” she shared.

In her continued pursuit to bolster the health-serving workforce, Rachel strives to create more opportunities to increase Peninsula College’s K-12 and community outreach and recruitment. Those interested in learning more about the many healthcare career pathways offered at Peninsula College can attend a Scrubs Camp for high-school students, STEM Café CEU-earning event for K-12 teachers/administrators, or attend an outreach event.

Visit Peninsula College to learn more.

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