Allison Higa-Howerton is a Physician Assistant in the primary care clinic of Campus Health.
Higa-Howerton was born and raised in Honolulu and attended Creighton University, where she received an undergraduate degree in exercise science with a minor in biology. After working as a Certified Nurses Aid in a hospital, she attended PA school at Duke University. Once Higa-Howerton had received her degree, she returned to Hawaii and worked for several years at community clinics there including a school-based clinic, where she found her love of working with young people.
College students are primed for empowerment and education on self-care and proactive health care, since many of them are making their own appointments for the first time. This independence excites Higa-Howerton. “I enjoy making sure that students understand their own bodies and what is normal,” she said, “and helping them see that when they notice changes, they can come in address that.” She focuses on building trust with her patients and on preventative care. When she offered advice for students, it was to invite them to yearly physicals and to get screenings like STI testing and pap smears before they have a problem.
Higa-Howerton also enjoys the campus environment overall. “Being on a university campus where there’s a lot of research happenings means we stay up-to-date on recommendations and there are specialties and available resources right here,” High-Howerton stated. She mentioned that the work culture of UNC Campus Health – a collaborative environment with positive co-workers and work-life balance – matches her desires for a workplace.
Music plays a big role in Higa-Howerton’s life, as her husband gigs as blues-rock musician. When asked what she would do if she wasn’t in medicine, Higa-Howerton said she’d be coordinating events or working as a music manager, like she has done at times for her husband’s groups. Her connection to music even stretches to childhood. Higa-Howerton’s elementary school choir performed a few songs for the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch, and she and her choirmates are listed in the credits as well as in a blip or two of extra footage for the movie.
You can find Higa-Howerton in the primary care clinic, at her husband’s blues-rock music shows, or in the extra footage of Lilo and Stitch.