A celebration of PA pioneers

July 26, 2017

By Alex Branch

PA

Dr. Lemke and Dr. Barron

 

Karen Kindler felt cautious at her interview as a prospective student in the physician assistant studies program two decades ago.

The UNT Health Science Center’s PA program was brand new and accepting its first class of students.

“I came with a lot of questions because it wasn’t yet a proven program,” said Kindler, PA-C. “But after I spent time with faculty I realized they were ready to truly invest in us. I knew this was where I wanted to be.”

Kindler, a member of the program’s first graduating class in 1999, returned to campus in July to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the program’s founding in 1997. More than 125 alumni, faculty, staff and current students gathered to reminisce and reconnect.

Since Kindler’s 11-member inaugural graduating class, the PA program has grown to enroll 75 students each year. In all, the program has produced 693 physician assistants, many of whom practice in North Texas. U.S. News & World Report ranks the program in the Top 35 nationally.

“At the time I graduated, I probably didn’t realize the significance of being a member of that first class,” said Kindler, who practices in the field of vascular surgery in hospitals around Fort Worth. “But when I look at the program today, I feel very proud.”

Hank Lemke, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, was recognized at the celebration for his role as the program’s founding director. Dr. Lemke says helping launch the PA program is his proudest career achievement.

“I am so proud of everyone who is, and has been, associated with this PA program,” Dr. Lemke said. “I look forward to watching our alumni continue to play a distinctive role in developing the future of this wonderful profession.”

For alumni who had not returned to campus recently, much has changed at the Health Science Center. New buildings have risen and construction is progressing on the five-story Interdisciplinary Research and Education Building off Camp Bowie Boulevard.

What hasn’t changed, several alumni said, is that the UNTHSC graduates they encounter in hospitals, clinics and other health care settings remain exquisitely trained.

“Our alumni are one of our greatest assets as we educate and prepare the next generation of physician assistants to become leaders in health care,” said Kirk W. Barron, PA-C, PhD, Chairman and Program Director of the physician assistant studies program. “Together, I know we can build on this momentum for the future.”

Dr. Taylor
Provost Taylor: Committed to doing meaningful work in the community

Charles Taylor, the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth's Provost and EVP of Academic Affairs, began his journey in higher education earlier than most as he spent the first five years of his life living in a modified dorm room with his parents on the campus of Samford...Read more

Jan 13, 2022

Ireb Fc
TCU and UNT Chancellors announce updates to MD School

Today, Chancellor Michael R. Williams and Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr., issued the following joint statement to affirm the vision and announce the next evolution in the advancement of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine: “Together, the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC) and T...Read more

Jan 12, 2022

HSC Student, Dianna H. Nguyen
HSC Dual Degree student Dianna Nguyen awarded highly prestigious NIH Fellowship

By Steven Bartolotta Dianna H. Nguyen, a DO/PhD candidate at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, has been awarded the F30 Dual Doctoral-Degree, Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Nguyen received the highly competitive fellowship for...Read more

Jan 11, 2022

Magdalena Bus and Bruce Budowle
Uncovering mysteries and improving forensic medicine

By Sally Crocker Over the years, Bruce Budowle, PhD, has been recognized in various ways for his lifelong dedication to uncovering mysteries, bringing long-sought answers to families and communities, and developing novel ways to improve the science behind forensic medicine. After sp...Read more

Jan 11, 2022