Meet Dr. Debra Bakerjian
Meet The CALTCM Board of Directors:  
Debra Bakerjian PhD, APRN, FAAN, FAANP
CALTCM President

Dr. Debra Bakerjian is senior director for nurse practitioner and physician assistant clinical education and practice, as well as an associate adjunct professor, at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. Previously, Dr. Bakerjian was a Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing Postdoctoral Fellow with specialties in health policy and system change.

CALTCM: What is the background of your training, practice setting and how many years have you been in practice?

Dr. Bakerjian:  I started as a medical assistant, and worked as a CNA while going through nursing training.  I received an AND degree, went on to get a BS in Health Services Administration.  I obtained my FNP and PA certificate from UC Davis, then went to UCSF for a Masters in Family Nursing.  In 2002 got a doctoral degree from UCSF in Gerontology and Health Policy. I worked in primary care as a nurse practitioner for 5 years and then went on to develop a practice with 2 collaborating physicians seeing nursing home patients, which I did for 20+ years.

CALTCM: What are you passionate about in long term care?  How are you pursuing your passion?  

Dr. Bakerjian:  I am passionate about improving the education of NH staff in order to provide exceptional-person-centered, high-quality and safe care to older adults and to establish a culture that focuses on collaborative, interprofessional team care.  Now, I teach graduate nurses, NP and PA students about quality and safety along with interprofessional competencies. 

CALTCM:  What advice would you give to a new graduate contemplating a career in long term care?

Dr. Bakerjian: Caring for older adults is extremely fulfilling – it challenges you to think about complex chronic diseases and the social and psychological needs of older adults and families.  It requires the best diagnosticians and clinicians who are dedicated to providing high quality care.

CALTCM: What additional training do you wish you had that may help with your current practice?    

Dr. Bakerjian: Learn how to be a member of a team – it is essential in geriatric care.  Learn about the regulatory environment associated with long term care.  Hone your diagnostic skills, you will need those skills daily as you care for this complex population.

CALTCM How has CALTCM impacted your practice?

Dr. Bakerjian:  CALTCM has provided the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best geriatric minds in the nation who are passionate about the work that they do.