Remarkable accomplishments for students in Physician Assistant program

By Alex Branch

PA Students

Completion of a master’s project manuscript is a rare achievement for students in Physician Assistant programs, and publishing those manuscripts is even rarer.

However, in 2017-18, 10 manuscripts from the PA Studies Program at UNT Health Science Center have been accepted for publication in respected scientific journals. That is high praise for the students, whose data-driven projects highlight their abilities in research, methods, results and clinical recommendations on topics relevant to the PA profession.

“It’s a remarkable accomplishment that reflects the high quality of our PA students at the Health Science Center,” said Kirk W. Barron, PhD, PA-C, Chairman of the PAS Program.

Dr. Barron praised “the extraordinary educational opportunities for research” under the direction of Jessica Hartos, PhD, Associate Professor, who oversees the master’s projects.

Topics of the projects ranged from skin cancer to diabetes to alcohol abuse. Students worked in groups of three or four to develop clinical questions, determine and analyze relevant data, report results and determine clinical recommendations. All students produce Research Appreciation Day poster presentations for their master’s projects and can select to write their projects as manuscripts for publications.

While physician assistants generally focus on patient care rather than conducting research after graduation, the master’s project experience can help increase PA participation in the academic world and prepares them to interpret mass amounts of information into something meaningful.

“It is important for students to be ‘research and statistics literate’ in order to use research findings in practice,” Dr. Hartos said. “In addition, it is important to increase PA-authored articles in medical literature.”


Published research by PA students

  • Thomas K, Redd L, Wright J, & Hartos J. (2017). Sleep and Mental Health in the General Population of Elderly Women The Journal of Primary Prevention.
  • Hernandez, S. L., Banks, H. E., Bailey, A. E., Bachman, M. J., Kane, J., & Hartos, J. L. (2017). Relations among chewing tobacco, cigarette smoking, and chronic health conditions in adult males less than 45 years of age. The Journal of Primary Prevention.
  • Alarcon, A., Swartzentruber, V., Vaswani, R., Chua, J., Holmes, V., & Hartos, J. L. (2017). Does general health differ by healthcare access in diabetic females ages 30 – 50? Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  • Hassan-Hussein, A., Hatfield, L., Valdez, B., & Hartos, J. L. (2017). Current physical activity levels may not be a protective factor for cognitive decline in women ages 55 to 64. Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  • Knickerbocker, J. A., McElroy, J. C., & Hartos, J. L. (2017). Assessing the relationship between current mental health, health conditions, and activity limitations in veterans aged 25 and older in the general population. Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  • Bram, H. J., Frauendorfer, M., Spencer, S., & Hartos, J. L. (2017). Does the prevalence of skin cancer differ by metropolitan status for males and females in the United States? Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  • Thornton, C. A., Lutes, D. K., Norman, K. M., & Hartos, J. L. (2017). Does mental health differ by ethnicity/race in post-myocardial infarction (mi) females ages 50 years and older? Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  • Homeyer, S., Hartos, J. L., Lueg, H., Moore, J., & Stafford, P. (2018). Is alcohol use related to high cholesterol in premenopausal women aged 40-51 years old? Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  • Gilchrist, N. D., Wrzesinski, D. L., Schultz, J. B., Samuels, J. L., & Hartos, J. L. (2018). Does general, physical, and mental health differ by healthcare coverage or healthcare cost for middle-aged females? Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  • Goodell, H. E., Van Noy, A. E., Zarker, K. M., Kotulek, S. R., Diver, T. E., & Hartos, J. L. (2018). Does alcohol misuse differ by gender and veteran status in adults ages 25 and older? Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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