Joe Paturzo ’20 named Elon University Youth Trustee

The 2020 graduate from Huntington Beach, California, will serve a two-year term on the Elon University Board of Trustees.

The Elon University Board of Trustees has elected 2020 graduate Joe Paturzo to a two-year term as a youth trustee on the board.

Paturzo is from Huntington Beach, California, and graduated this spring with a bachelor of science in biochemistry. An Odyssey Program scholar and Elon College Fellow, Paturzo received the Howell Scholarship in Chemistry, the First Year Physics Award and was named to the Phi Lambda Upsilon National Honorary Chemical Society and the Phi Eta Sigma First Year Honors Society.

Deeply involved in undergraduate research while at Elon, Paturzo studied the properties of magnetoactive elastomers, a flexible and magnetizable polymer, in the Elon Biophysics Laboratory. During the summer of 2019, Paturzo was a research fellow at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore studying the billing practices of hospitals with a history of suing patients for unpaid medical bills. As part of the research team, Paturzo gathered a large amount of data as well as traveled the country talking to families who were struggling with the high cost of health care and mounting medical bills. That experience would lead him to become a co-author on two white papers produced by Johns Hopkins physicians and researchers.

His work at Johns Hopkins influenced him to pursue multiple advanced degrees to better inform himself about public health and policy. He returned to Johns Hopkins as a research fellow this summer to continue his research into hospital billing practices, and has expanded his work to also include focus on quality assurance measurements within health care and the epidemiology of COVID-19 in regards to older populations.

He is currently applying to medical schools with the goal of taking that next step in his academic and professional career in July 2021. As a physician, he is hoping to unite public policy with individualized patient care by making primary care and preventative medicine more accessible in vulnerable communities.

While at Elon, Paturzo served as a teacher with the It Takes a Village project, working with local fifth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students on mathematics and reading comprehension. He volunteered at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, where he worked with pediatric patients and their families, and during his time in Baltimore, volunteered at the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s House, which assisted children admitted to Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital and their families.

Paturzo has offered his support to the university in the past by sharing about his experience at Elon and what his education has meant to him. In 2019, he participated in events in Charlotte and Raleigh to roll out the public phase of the Elon LEADS fundraising campaign that seeks to generate at least $250 million with the bulk of that funding supporting student scholarships.

Paturzo will serve on the board through October 2022.