UNTHSC appoints new dean of School of Health Professions

By Alex BranchFor Web

J. Glenn Forister, PhD, PA-C, believes in the value of high-performing teams, and that’s what he sees at UNT Health Science Center.

The institution’s One University concept, values-based culture and focus on extraordinary teamwork are concepts that led Dr. Forister to accept the position of Dean of the UNTHSC School of Health Professions.

Dr. Forister, Associate Professor and Division Head of Physician Assistant Education in the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, will begin his position in Fort Worth on Feb. 4.

“I have always worked on teams, and the idea of creating a sustainable people culture and transforming the Health Science Center into a destination workplace is very appealing to me,” Dr. Forister said. “The President and Provost have energy and vision. I’m excited to join the team.”

The School of Health Professions is home to the Department of Physical Therapy, the Physician Assistant Studies Program, and Lifestyle Health Program. Dr. Forister said his goals include positioning the school’s faculty, staff and students to collaborate interprofessionally with other schools and programs on campus.

The university already is a leader in interprofessional education and practice, he said.

“You can’t train or teach people in silos and then expect them to work in teams after graduation,” Dr. Forister said. “Programs may have different education schedules or curriculum goals but overcoming those differences and preparing students to work in high-performing teams is vital to creating the health care provider of the future.”

His top priorities include incorporating new technologies in patient care while maintaining a personal connection between providers and patients, and providing professional development opportunities for students, staff and faculty.

Charles Taylor, PharmD, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, said Dr. Forister has a track record of strong leadership – and is coming from a Physician Assistant Program ranked in the top five nationally by US News & World Report.

“Dr. Forister has a solid understanding of what is needed to take the School of Health Professions to the next level of success and values our commitment to working together to transform lives to improve the lives of others,” Dr. Taylor said.

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Dr. Forister has a Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska, a Master of Science degree in clinical investigation from the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, and a PhD in Education and Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University.

After completing his PA training in 1990 at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, he practiced in orthopedic surgery, family medicine and urgent care. He also served as a PA in the Medical Specialty Corps of the U.S. Army/Army Reserve from 2000 to 2008.

Dr. Forister served on the Research Institute of the Physician Assistant Education Association and has been a feature editor, contributor, and reviewer for the Journal of Physician Assistant Education. The fifth edition of his textbook, Introduction to Research and Medical Literature for Health Professionals, will be published in 2019.

He has also recently co-authored a paper titled “Burnout and Job and Career Satisfaction in the Physician Assistant Profession: A Review of the Literature,” published this month by the National Academy of Medicine.

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