New PA Faculty: World-Record Cake, Overseas Missions

By Purnell T. Cropper | July 20, 2010

By Sarah R. Schwartz ’10

He broke the Guinness record for the world’s largest cake, helps students learn what it’s like to be homeless, and volunteers for overseas missions. He’s a new faculty member in Arcadia’s Physician Assistant master’s program.

When Michael L. Huber, M.M.S., PA-C, Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator in the Physician Assistant program, joined Arcadia in 2009, he brought with him 15 years of experience in PA education and administration.

His dedication to Physician Assistant education has led him to receive both institutional and national awards for outstanding teaching. His experience includes a diverse clinical background in internal medicine, infectious disease and HIV/AIDS management, counseling, and research. He continues affiliations with organizations such as Action AIDS, Philadelphia Fight, the Mazzoni Center and many other community outreach programs.  His interest is working with underserved populations in both community-based and overseas medical missions.

In 2009, Huber was part of a surgical mission trip to Honduras in conjunction with a group of nurse anesthetists from University of Pennsylvania. The upcoming 2011 team will include several PA faculty members as well as second-year clinical students. “This will be a weeklong surgical collective. There is no better learning situation than when students can be with their own faculty, working side by side. It’s really nice opportunity for us to have for our students.”

Even though Huber is a physician’s assistant, he’s had an intriguing life outside of the occupation. In his previous career, he worked as a professional chef and pastry chef and opened several nightclubs throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Fresh out of college, he even worked for the famous New York nightspot Studio 54.  “In 1980 I broke the Guinness record for the world’s largest cake, which was the size of a football field.” Since then it’s been broken twice, but his culinary skills aren’t going to waste. “Students who are my advisees love it because I’ll usually make pastries for them when we have our meetings,” he says.

Huber is most proud of bringing what he calls the cultural immersion experience to Arcadia as part of the Community Health and Wellness Course (PA544). As an innovated way of teaching cultural diversity, this project requires small groups of students to go outside of the campus and immerse themselves in a cultural experience that is entirely foreign to them. “I’ve had students who want to see what it’s like to be homeless so they go out and live a day on the streets of Philadelphia or a homeless shelter,” he says.

“Some students wanted to experience what it would be like to live on welfare, so the students team up to make an illustrative family, budget what their allowance would be and lived within those means for a week, shopping at stores in lower-income area neighborhoods. We had some amazing and informative projects come from that course and I look forward to continuing it at Arcadia in coming years.”