Angelique ‘Angel’ Tremble, PA-C, is a Carbon Health provider based out of our Oakland clinic. Not only is she helping people stay healthy as a physician assistant, but she’s also a practicing lawyer! She talks to us about balancing two high-stress careers and why education is key during a global pandemic.
CARBON HEALTH: Thanks so much for chatting with me today. You were a lawyer before becoming a clinician. Tell me more about your unique career background.
ANGEL TREMBLE: I was “pre-law” at University of Pennsylvania; my major was Communications with a minor in African-American Studies. I took a few years off after college and then went to law school here locally at Berkeley. I worked in a top law firm for approximately five years through the first big dot.com boom and crash. Even after the crash, I really enjoyed my job even though I had worked 80 hours per week for several years and was quite burned out.
CH: What made you decide to pivot into a career in medicine?
AT: During that time my father fell ill and was starting to get well again when he suddenly died of a heart attack. I had very little understanding of his health conditions and had lots of questions so I started looking for the answers myself. In this quest for answers I found myself revisiting a strong interest in healthcare. I had been interested in medicine when I was younger. I even remember taking and acing a Medical Emergencies class in high school. I actually entered college planning to go to medical school, but hated my first semester classes so I changed my goals. After a series of events, I decided to leave my law firm and pursue a career in healthcare. I knew right from the beginning that I wanted to become a physician assistant. I took the next two years to complete my PA school prerequisites, working as a medical assistant and volunteering at the Berkeley Free Clinic. My first jobs out of PA school were in county hospital emergency departments—first San Francisco General and then San Joaquin General. While I was at San Joaquin General, I also concurrently began to work in urgent care and realized I was seeing many of the same concerns that I would see in the ER.
CH: How did you first hear about Carbon Health?
AT: I have always worked part-time as a PA while still practicing law and began looking for opportunities to work closer to home. I had been passing Carbon Health Oakland (which was Direct Urgent Care at the time) for about a year on my walks around Lake Merritt. I was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do urgent care at that clinic which is just one block from my house?’ So, initially joining Carbon Health was all about location, location, and location!
When I saw the job listing pop up one day, I jumped on getting my resume in. I was at this point already working at an urgent care in Emeryville and American Canyon and enjoying the urgent care patient mix. Eventually I ended up with a weekly shift mid-week at Carbon Health.
CH: How did your experiences in the emergency room help your transition into urgent care?
AT: Having an ER background helps me understand when a patient is having a true emergency that needs a higher level of care than I can provide. My background in primary care helps me provide first step care for more chronic conditions so that patients can plug into primary care and/or specialty care to get the additional longer-term care that they need.
After a series of events, I decided to leave my law firm and pursue a career in healthcare. I knew right from the beginning that I wanted to become a physician assistant.
CH:Your team has done so much to help combat COVID-19. We are so appreciative of the work you all are doing during this crisis.
AT: I really do feel that Carbon Health has played a role in the frontline public health effort during this COVID pandemic. I have worked at nursing home sites, community test sites, and corporate sites in addition to in-clinic. So much of the COVID-19 testing efforts is about making sure people in these settings are safe. Many of the patients I see in-clinic have so many questions about COVID and how to stay safe, as well as trying to make sense of all the myriad of headlines and news articles they see and read. As the vaccine rollout begins in earnest, I once again am proud to see Carbon Health at the public health forefront in trying to get the COVID pandemic under control.
CH: What have you learned about yourself during this crisis?
AT: Being in lockdown does not bother me all that much. I’m an introvert and have been just fine staying at home by myself and not socializing. I am my favorite company, actually. I do miss seeing my friends and travel, but not as much as people might imagine. I also miss being able to do basic things like getting my hair and nails done, but am also okay waiting on these services to open back up. I have been able to get my preventative, basic medical care and I am very happy to have access to that.
CH: Are you currently testing patients for COVID-19? What have you learned from the experience?
AT: Yes, I am currently testing patients for COVID. I have heard that some patients can have a hard time making heads or tails of all the information and misinformation out there. Since we test insured and uninsured alike, it’s also become more obvious how many people are uninsured. It has also become more obvious how many people don’t have primary care.
CH: How has the COVID-19 crisis changed the way you look at healthcare?
AT: I have always felt I had a role to play in education. Part of the reason I became a PA was to not only advocate for my patient’s health, but to also give them more education about their condition and ways to manage it. I really try to do this in a way that is easily understood. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that patient education is a hallmark of healthcare and is one of the greatest services a clinician can provide beyond rendering actual medical care.
CH: What activities do you enjoy when you are not caring for patients and your team?
AT: I binge watch a lot of TV. My favorite pandemic binge was Schitt’s Creek. I’m anxiously awaiting my new Peloton that I bought myself for Christmas!