The UT Southwestern School of Health Professions’ nationally ranked Physician Assistant Studies Program received recognition for its commitment to diversity with a 2017 Excellence Through Diversity Award from the Physician Assistant Education Association.
The award, which UTSW representatives accepted at the PAEA’s national Education forum Oct. 27 in Denver, recognizes outstanding commitments and achievements of a PAEA member program that has made noteworthy contributions to promoting diversity in PA education. To be considered for this award, nominated institutions must demonstrate substantial contributions in:
- Outreach to and recruitment from diverse and underserved populations
- Training and educational experiences for faculty and students
- Research and scholarship pertaining to diversity and the inclusion process
- Leadership and advocacy related to diversity
“This award represents a well-deserved recognition for the ongoing efforts of our faculty and staff to create and nurture a diverse and inclusive environment,” stated Dr. Jon Williamson, dean of the School of Health Professions. “It is this environment, coupled with a highly ranked academic program, which attracts the best and brightest students from all backgrounds. In turn, we can continue to prepare health professionals of the highest quality to meet the health care needs of our diverse population.”
The School of Health Professions’ Physician Assistant Studies Program is currently ranked No. 15 of 154 programs by U.S News & World Report and was led by Dr. Phillip Eugene “Gene” Jones, professor emeritus, for 24 years until his retirement in May. The program is led by Dr. Temple Howell-Stampley, professor of internal medicine, who joined the department in July.
The vision of the program “is to become a destination PA Program for disadvantaged and underrepresented faculty, staff and students, while achieving and maintaining excellent outcome measures.”
The vision statement is just one of the many contributions made to the program by Carolyn Bradley-Guidry, assistant professor and director of diversity and inclusion for the PA Program.
“The value of inclusive excellence must be mission focused, and synonymous with academic excellence,” stated Bradley-Guidry, who leads the School of Health Professions’ Student Diversity and Inclusion initiatives and has been a champion for PA workforce diversity, with emphasis on recruitment and retention of diverse students and faculty locally, regionally, and nationally.
Her professional board and committee service have included the National Association of Minority Medical Educators, Texas Academy of Physician Assistants, National Medical Association, Texas Diversity Council, and Dallas Independent School District. She also held several leadership positions for the PAEA. She was one of two PAs out of 90 individuals who participated in the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities Scholars Program.
The 18 faculty and staff members currently involved in the PA Program include eight underrepresented minorities (44.4 percent). A five-class sampling sent to the PAEA – including the last three groups of graduates (2015-2017), as well as the next two classes (2018 and 2019) – averaged 40.6 percent minority students, defined as African-American, Hispanic, or other underrepresented group.
UT Southwestern PA faculty-generated articles, abstracts, and posters on diversity and disparities have been published in several prestigious journals. In addition, the program has been taken part in multiple presentations and panel discussions at educational conferences and events. Invited presentations and panelist participation have taken place at the PAEA’s Annual Forums, as well as at events organized by the National Association of Medical Minority Educators, the American Cancer Society’s Latinos Against Cancer, Louisiana State University, and El Centro College.
“Of particular note is the fact that these activities are not a recent venture into expanding diversity and inclusion in the UT Southwestern PA Program,” Jones wrote in the packet to the PAEA. “These activities represent more than two decades of our efforts to address disparities.”
“The PA Program’s diversity efforts serve as a shining example of clarity of purpose, strong leadership, and proper resource deployment,” Dr. Marc Nivet, executive vice president for institutional advancement, wrote in his endorsement letter to the PAEA. “There are very few educational programs – especially in health care – that speak with direct intent for diversifying both its student body and faculty as drivers of meeting the institutions vision for excellence. The UT Southwestern PA program is quite unique in this regard.”
Photo: From left to right, Dr. Jon Williamson, Carolyn Bradley-Guidry and Dr. Temple Howell-Stampley