Physician Assistants Celebrate National PA Day

November 1, 2001

FORT WORTH, Texas â?? Physician assistants (PAs) from throughout the United States, including faculty, staff and students at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, celebrated the PA profession Oct. 6 during National PA Day.

In honor of PA Day, the health science centerâ??s Physician Assistant Student Association hosted a one-hour continuing medical education seminar. The speaker was Michael Clark, PA-C, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the health science center. He presented, â??The Physician and Physician Assistant Team in Todayâ??s Health Care.â? The programâ??s objectives educated attendees about the role of the PA in todayâ??s health care system. More than 100 attended, including area physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and health science center students. The U.S. Naval Recruiting Command of Dallas/Fort Worth sponsored the lunch.

Another part of the health science centerâ??s celebration was a poster competition in which students highlighted Fort Worth area PAs. Posters displayed information about PAs, the PAâ??s role and benefits for patients. Alumni of the health science centerâ??s Physician Assistant program worked with current students to inform visitors of the many specialties that employ PAs. Highlighted areas included pediatrics, geriatrics, long term care, general surgery, neurosurgery, rural family practice, multicultural family practice and nephrology. â??PAs in the Role of Educatorsâ? won the poster competition as being the most informative poster.

The health science center began its Physician Assistant Studies Program in 1997 as an undergraduate program. The program became the first state-funded masterâ??s PA Studies program in Texas in 2000. The PA program is part of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM), founded in 1970. TCOM is one of 19 osteopathic medical schools in the country, and the only one in Texas.

â??Physician assistants play an important role in the effort to increase patient access to health care,â? said Henry Lemke, PA-C, director of the health science centerâ??s Physician Assistant program. â??PASA helped in the PA Day activities by informing visitors about the roles PAs play on their health care teams.â?

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