The Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant program is dedicated to academic excellence in medical education. Our mission is to develop and prepare compassionate, professional PA providers who are committed to life-long leadership, learning, and community service. Our graduates will work as part of the healthcare team to deliver exceptional healthcare to rural West Texas and under-served communities worldwide.
Our goals are to:
1. Recruit outstanding PA students that display a commitment to community service.
2. Prepare PA students for the practice of medicine as exemplified by:
3. Provide training opportunities for PA students in rural and under-served medical settings.
The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Hardin-Simmons University.
Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.
Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-hardin-simmons-university/.
Our PA program his its own anatomy lab, not shared with other departments. That includes a private cadaver anatomy lab with full dissection capabilities.
The PA Program curriculum requires 50 hours of community service. The students may volunteer in many different ways, including an annual medical mission trip. In spring 2018, the PA Dept., collaborating with Buckner International, went to Peru. We treated 714 people in 5 days. The trip wrapped up with a visit to Machu Picchu.
The White Coat Ceremony is a meaningful tradition to welcome Physician Assistant students into the profession. The students take their professional oath and invite family and friends to attend. This ceremony is typically held within the first few months of a new cohort school year.
"I have had such a great experience with the faculty and staff here. They are very accessible and bend over backward to support their students."
The Physician Assistant curriculum will be delivered on a full-time basis for a total of 27 months. Students will matriculate as a cohort (30 students) into a 12-month academic phase, followed by 13 months of clinical education. Final semester (2 months) is didactic.
All courses and course descriptions for the Master of Physician Assistant can be found in the Graduate Catalog.
See “Admissions Requirements” tab below for admissions information.
Requirements for Graduation
Several indicators of performance are used to determine a student’s readiness to move forward from the didactic to the clinical phase of the curriculum and to graduate from the PA program. These indicators include required courses completed, grade point average achieved; skills proficiencies attained; demonstration of professionalism; completion of 50 volunteer hours; results of comprehensive knowledge and skills testing, and completion of all requirements for the Capstone Research Project. Please refer to the student handbook for information regarding course progression and academic policy details.
Students who have been recommended for graduation by the HSU PA Program Grading and Promotions Committee will be awarded the Master of Physician Assistant degree provided they have met all of the following conditions and adhere to the policies outlined in the PA student handbook and the Hardin-Simmons University Graduate handbook.
Requirements for Graduation:
Students unable to fulfill these requirements by the day of graduation will not be allowed to participate in the commencement ceremony without the permission of the PA Program Director. Students will not be considered graduates in any capacity until they have completed all of the above requirements.
Graduates of the Hardin-Simmons University Master of Physician Assistant program will be qualified to take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). Upon passing the PANCE, graduates may become practicing physician assistants.
Goal #1 Recruit outstanding PA students that display a commitment to community service.
The following is data from the first two student cohorts on the recruitment of outstanding PA students and commitment to community service.
*Note all students must complete a minimum of 50 hours of community service during enrollment at the HSU PA program.
Goal #2 Prepare PA students for the practice of medicine as exemplified by:
1. Pass rate on National Certifying exam that exceeds national average
2. Attainment of employment after graduation
Goal #3 Provide training opportunities for PA students in rural and under-served medical settings.
One hundred percent of our PA students complete a rural clinical rotation prior to graduation and all HSU PA students are given the opportunity to work with under-served medical populations both locally and globally.
Prerequisites must be completed prior to matriculation.
*May accept additional 3 Hours of Psychology in place of Sociology.
Human A&P I and II will be accepted as long as they are taken at the same college/university consecutively.
The CASPer® Test – Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics
All applicants to the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant program are encouraged to complete an online assessment (CASPer®) for the 2020-2021 Application Cycle. CASPer® is an online test which assesses for non-academic attributes and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program. The test will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing CASPer® we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process. Please note Hardin-Simmons University applicants are applying for the admission start date of August 2021 and must select the 2020-2021 admission cycle.
Please go to www.takeCASPer.com to sign up for the American Professional Health Sciences test (CSP10101) and reserve a test using your CASPA ID and a government-issued photo ID. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer® test. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address that you check regularly in the event there is updates to the test schedule.
Please direct any inquiries on the test to email@example.com
For full matriculation and graduation requirements listing, please see the student handbook below. Accepted applicants must meet all technical standards listed below to be admitted.
The PA Program makes every effort to keep costs reasonable for students. However, because the Program runs continuously for twenty-seven months, applicants must review their financial resources carefully and anticipate expenses realistically. During the clinical education phase, all students may be assigned to clinical sites outside of the immediate Abilene / Big Country area. The student is responsible for the costs related to out-of-area travel and housing, if applicable.
The total tuition and fee cost of the Program is estimated at $73,000 – $88,500, depending on year of entry into the Program. Updated accurate tuition and fee costs are published on the university web site at www.hsutx.edu/pa. This does not include living expenses, textbook or equipment costs. The estimates for these costs vary based on student choice of housing, family size, transportation/vehicle cost, and technology related costs (laptop computer, data plan, and mobile phone required). Reliable transportation is required in the clinical year for commuting to supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPE).
$9,360/semester (block tuition) x 7 semesters + Fees: (per Graduate Handbook)
Total University Fees $990 x 7 semesters
Non-University Direct Student Fees:
Total Estimated Tuition & Fees: $73,100
Same for Resident & Non-Resident
*Note – Semester for the PA Program means three (3) per year Spring, Summer, Fall (mini-mesters included).
Costs of books, equipment & living expenses will vary based on student choice/lifestyle. Electronic book options, purchase of used books, and/or equipment or rental of textbooks may offset costs.
$9,360/semester (block tuition) x 7 semesters+ *Fees: (per Graduate Handbook)
Non-University Direct Student *Fees:
Total Estimated Tuition & Fees: $73,300
Same for Resident & Non-Resident
Notes – Semester for the PA Program means three (3) per year Spring, Summer, Fall (mini-mesters included).
*Fees are subject to change
$9,986/semester (block tuition) x 7 semesters + *Fees: (per Graduate Handbook)
Total University Fees $1,140 x 7 semesters
Total Estimated Tuition & Fees: $78,700
Same for Resident & Non-Resident
Tuition: $79,700 + *Fees
Total Estimated Tuition & Fees: $88,500
Same for Resident & Non-Resident
In order to ensure that patients receive the best medical care possible, the faculty have identified certain skills and professional behaviors that are essential for successful progression of PA students in the Program. A student must possess skills and behaviors at a level of capability to perform a variety of duties required of a PA as a healthcare professional. Students with disabilities who can perform these skills and successfully execute professional behavior either unassisted, with dependable use of assistive devices, or by employing other reasonable accommodations are eligible to apply for enrollment in the Program.
Minimum performance standards include critical thinking, communication skills, observation skills, motor skills, and interpersonal abilities. These following descriptions define the capabilities that are necessary for an individual to successfully complete the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant curriculum.
Intellectual Capability/Critical Thinking: The PA student must possess the intellectual, ethical, physical, and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence in critical thinking and problem solving required to seek entry to the profession. The ability to solve problems, a skill that is critical to the practice of medicine, requires the intellectual abilities of measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Students in the Program must be able to demonstrate these skills in working with patients, their families, and other members of the healthcare team. Intellectual abilities also encompass learning and retaining information and the ability to make decisions in a timely manner.
Communication Skills: The PA student must be able to effectively speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and to perceive nonverbal communications. The student must be able to communicate attentively, effectively, sensitively and efficiently in oral, written, and electronic forms with other clinicians, families, and patients in order to make appropriate and timely responses.
Observation Skills: The PA student must be able to observe a patient accurately, both at a distance and close at hand. Students must possess sufficient visual, auditory, and tactile sensation to receive appropriate information in the classroom, laboratory, and other educational and clinical settings. Sensation must be satisfactory to receive verbal and nonverbal communications from patients and others, and to perform inspection, auscultation and palpation techniques during the physical examination.
Motor Skills: The PA student should have sufficient strength and coordination to perform the activities required of a Physician Assistant. The student should have sufficient motor coordination to move about patient care environments and sufficient dexterity to use common medical instruments. Students must have sufficient stamina to sit, stand, and move within classroom, laboratory, examination rooms, treatment rooms and operating rooms for long periods of time. Students must also be able to calibrate and use large and small equipment and execute movements required for moving patients, positioning patients, and providing care to patients routinely and in emergency settings. Typical lifting requirement is a minimum of 50 lbs. unassisted.
Interpersonal Abilities: The PA student must possess the ability to establish and maintain appropriate professional relationships. The student must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities required for the diagnosis and care of patients, to be compassionate, empathetic, responsible, and tolerant toward patients, families and colleagues. This also includes the ability to prioritize competing demands and function in stressful circumstances.
What is Hardin-Simmons University’s program accreditation status?
Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.
Does Hardin-Simmons University have a supplemental application?
HSU does not require a supplemental application. However, it is highly recommended to complete the optional (not required) CASPer – for more information see this link in the CASPA Application portal.
What does Rolling Admissions mean?
Rolling admissions means that interviews are being conducted and admission decisions being made while applications are still being accepted. Our process is specifically designed so that the class does not fill up prior to the application deadline or conclusion of interview cycle.
When do most applicants submit their application?
The CASPA application opens in April. Placing a higher priority on submitting an application by an early date at the expense of quality and accuracy is not recommended. Applicants are advised to ensure their application presents the best representation they can put forth. It is generally good practice to submit all required application materials at least six weeks before the application deadline in case any issues arise. We require all CASPA applications to be verified. The verification process can take up to six weeks. We do not review applications until verified by CASPA. All applications must be listed as “verified” in CASPA by the deadline to be considered.
How do I know if the courses I took meet the program’s prerequisite criteria?
While faculty review transcripts in CASPA as part of the screening process, TRANSCRIPTS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED FOR COURSE EQUIVALANCY PRIOR TO AN INTERVIEW. Should you receive an interview your transcript will be reviewed with you at the time of the interview. All prerequisites must be completed prior to matriculation.
How can I make my application stand out from the rest?
Applications are holistically reviewed, meaning all elements are considered for eligible applications that meet our minimum overall CASPA calculated GPA requirement of at least a 3.0 and a CASPA calculated Science GPA of 3.0. In addition to previous academic performance and pre-admission clinical experience, these include: personal statement, letters of recommendation, PA shadowing experience, volunteer or community service backgrounds, leadership experiences, GRE scores, challenging course work, academic performance that exceeds others in current and previous cohorts, fit with HSU mission, etc. Competitive applicants stand out by being able to speak to each of these categories.
Can I send additional letters of recommendation, beyond those included in CASPA?
No, only three letters of recommendation included in the CASPA application submission are required. Additional letters of recommendation sent directly to the program will not be considered as part of your application.
What are the factors that affect your admissions decisions?
We consider the following factors in making admission decisions: academic transcript review, GPA, GRE score, clinical experience (including level of responsibility and number of hours), shadowing experience, personal statement, references, volunteer hours, fit with HSU’s mission, diversity, leadership, and your interview performance.
Who are members of the Admissions Committee and who makes the final decision?
The Admissions Committee consists of the PA program faculty and staff. Final admission decisions are made by the PA program director and PA program core faculty. Interviews are conducted by PA Faculty and community health care providers.
What GRE Code should be used?
All GRE scores must be submitted to CASPA for your application to be considered complete. When requesting official GRE Scores, use School/Institution Code “7453” for the HSU PA Program.
How should Volunteer hours be entered if they are Patient Care Experience?
Any experience that includes direct-patient clinical hours should be entered in the Patient Care section of the CASPA. For each entry, select the appropriate option for whether the experience was paid or unpaid. Volunteer patient care experiences should not be ‘double listed’ in the Volunteer section.
Does it matter what your academic major is from undergrad?
No. Applications are reviewed holistically and no specific academic major is preferred from undergraduate or graduate school experiences. Because the PA Program is a professional health science graduate program, previous coursework in the sciences is expected and grades should be competitive.
Is there a preference for residents of the state of Texas?
No. Hardin-Simmons University is a private university, and no preference is given for applicants residing in the state of Texas; however, local and HSU graduate applicants who meet academic standards and fulfill our mission may be given priority consideration. Tuition is the same for in state and out of state students.
Is the GRE waived for any applicant, even with a Master’s or advanced degree?
No. Regardless of any past academic experiences, achievements, or degrees, the GRE is not waived.
Can I use GRE scores submitted for a previous graduate program?
Yes. Official GRE scores can be submitted to CASPA as long as they are still valid. Scores are valid for five years from the test date. This would not be affected by previous graduate work or score submissions to other schools.
Can the MCAT substitute for the GRE?
No. The GRE is a required part of the application. Other graduate-level standardized tests cannot be used as substitutes, including the MCAT or GMAT.
Can I apply before I complete all the prerequisites?
Yes. When completing your CASPA application, include courses in progress and coursework planned in the appropriate fields to alert us to your plans. If you are accepted into the Program before you complete the required coursework, your acceptance will be on provisional status until records of your coursework and/or graduation are received. No student will be allowed to matriculate into the Program if prerequisite requirements are not met. Because of the various factors considered in selecting applicants, you are encouraged to complete the majority of prerequisites before applying.
If I took a prerequisite course 5, 10, even 35 years ago, will you still accept that?
Yes. We do not impose an expiration date on coursework, prerequisite or otherwise; however, more recent Science academic work is encouraged.
I need to go back to school to finish a few prerequisites. Can I take courses at a community college?
Yes. We accept prerequisites from a regionally-accredited institution of higher-learning. Prerequisites may also be taken online at a regionally-accredited institution.
Can prerequisites be waived or tested out of with CME or CEU credit?
Prerequisites cannot be waived for the Hardin-Simmons University PA Program. No prerequisite can be waived due to previous academic, life, or field experiences. Prerequisites can be completed at any regionally-accredited institution of higher learning. College credit must be earned and displayed on transcripts for prerequisites. Prerequisites cannot be satisfied through Continuing Medical Education or Continuing Education Unit credit.
What is your policy regarding Advanced Placement?
Hardin-Simmons University PA Program does not grant advanced placement in their PA Program to any matriculating student. No previous coursework will substitute for any PA courses and the program must be completed in totality.
Does HSU PA Program accept AP or CLEP for prerequisites
Yes. If a regionally accredited college/university has granted AP or CLEP credit for a course and it is displayed on the student transcript.
How often are students admitted during the calendar year?
The Hardin-Simmons University PA Program enrolls 30 students once per year into its full-time program in August. There is no part-time option.
Can I work full time and still be a PA student in your program?
No. This is a full-time program with classes during regular business hours. Employment of PA students by the Program itself is strictly prohibited.
Is a background check required?
Yes. Accepted students are subject to a criminal background check preceding orientation. Should the background check yield any undisclosed disqualifying information, the offer of admission may be revoked.
Do you accept transfer students, or provide credit for experiential learning?
No. The PA Program does not accept transfer students from other PA Programs and all students must have a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States prior to starting the PA Program. The PA Program does not allow course credit for experiential learning.
Can I apply if I have not yet completed my undergraduate degree?
Yes. You can begin to apply in your senior year of college, provided that you successfully graduate by the time of the PA program’s start date in August. You must have obtained your Bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation into the program and completed all prerequisite coursework successfully.
Is working with or shadowing PAs required for admission?
It is strongly recommended that you document either working with or shadowing a PA. Working with or shadowing PAs will give you an understanding of the role PAs play on the health care team. It is to your advantage to have shadowing experience with PAs prior to applying to PA school. The more PA contact experience hours you have, the more competitive your application file. While shadowing other healthcare providers is certainly beneficial, it does not substitute for PA shadowing in the eyes of the HSU PA Program.
Does the PA Program offer applicant assistance in finding clinical work or shadowing experience?
No, due to a high volume of applicants, we cannot offer assistance to candidates looking for clinical experience. Once a student is admitted into the program our Clinical Team assigns the clinical rotation schedules.
Once I submit all of my application materials, how long before I hear if I will receive an interview?
It can take several months after submitting your application to be notified of possible your interview status. You will be notified one way or the other if you are selected for an interview and until you hear from the program your application is ‘under review’ in the department.
Can I send my application materials directly to the program?
No. All application materials must be submitted directly through CASPA. Contact CASPA at CASPA@PAEAonline.org or view the website http://paeaonline.org/caspa/ for questions regarding their application process. It is not necessary to send transcripts, GRE scores, or other documentation directly to HSU unless you are accepted into the program.
Where are clinical rotation sites located?
We offer our students a wide variety of experiences in various types of clinical settings, including hospitals, small and medium size clinics, private offices and rural opportunities. Our clinical team assigns those locations with input from each accepted student. Clinical rotation assignments are subject to availability at the time of assignment.
Does Hardin-Simmons University offer a Bachelor’s degree in Physician Assistant?
No. Our program is an entry-level Master’s program. You must have a bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation into the program; however, HSU provides many high quality undergraduate degree options to prepare students for the PA Program.
How often do classes begin?
We admit one class of students each year. Classes start in August and new students cannot enroll in the program once the class has started. Mandatory orientation will be held the week before school starts.
What is the cost of tuition?
Tuition and fees for the 27-month PA Program is is updated on our website yearly at https://www.hsutx.edu/academics/graduate-programs/physician-assistant-program/ under the Tuition and fees tab at the bottom of the page. We offer block tuition.
If I took coursework or obtained my degree from a foreign University, will it be accepted?
According to 19 Texas Administrative Code § 5.7, academic work taken at foreign colleges, universities, or preparatory schools shall be excluded from the calculation of the GPA for students seeking admission to graduate or post-baccalaureate professional school. Undergraduate foreign coursework that appears as transfer credit on the transcript of a regionally accredited U.S. college will count. Prerequisites taken at a foreign college or university will need to undergo credential evaluation through WES (World Education Services). The bachelor degree requirement must be granted from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university. Regional accreditation is the highest available form of accreditation. There are only 7 USDE-recognized regional accreditation agencies (as listed below).
Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE)
New England Association of Schools and Colleges,
Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE)
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS)
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC)
WASC Senior College and University Commission
What are the typical statistics for recently admitted students?
Admission Data on Current Student Cohorts
**Admission to the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant program is very competitive. Meeting the minimum requirements or exceeding above average admission data does not guarantee admission, nor does it guarantee an interview. We utilize a holistic admissions process considering multiple variables, including but not limited to, intellectual capacity, personal maturity, communication and interpersonal skills, recommendations, service to others, and knowledge of the profession. Students exceeding averages of previous classes are more likely to have priority review but because of the holistic process, interview is not guaranteed based on scores alone.
Hardin-Simmons University PA program values diversity and is proud to have exceeded the national average in many categories of program admitted students related to diversity over the past two cohorts:
Does graduation from this program guarantee I will be able to work in Texas or other U.S. states?
Graduation from this accredited program allows you to apply for licensure in all 50 states along with allowing graduates to sit for the national certification examination (required passage for licensure in most states). Each state has different licensure requirements.
HSU Physician Assistant Department Clinical Affiliation Agreement
HSU PA Clinical Preceptor Handbook 2018
1. What is the length or number of hours the student would be at our facility?
Each student rotation is a 5-week rotation. The student schedule (days, hours, etc) is dependent on the provider’s schedule for the 5-week rotation. Essentially, the student schedule is the preceptor’s schedule.
2. When will the students be at the facility?
It is up to the preceptor as far as the schedule for taking students. Our Clinical Coordinator will work closely with the facility’s office staff to schedule students. If at any time the provider cannot precept, please let us know. We want to respect their time!
3. What are the required documents to precept?
We must have an affiliation agreement between the HSU PA program and the facility. If it is a group practice, the affiliation will be with that group. If it is a private practice, the affiliation will be with the practice. If the provider rounds at a hospital, we require an affiliation agreement to be in place with that hospital as well. HSU has a standard affiliation agreement or if the partnering facility has one, we can review it. In addition, a Letter of Intent is needed from the provider (HSU will provide). However, please note this does NOT obligate the provider to take students, but only lets us know of your interest.
4. Will they need access to our patient charts?
Yes, our students will need access to patient charts because they will be seeing patients during their rotations. This can be electronic and/or paper. Our students will have extensive training in HIPAA compliance prior to starting their clinical year.
5. Upon completion of the student’s rotation, what is required from the provider?
The clinical preceptor will need to submit a mid-rotation evaluation of the student (HSU provides) as well as an end-of rotation evaluation of the student. This will comprise 25% of the student’s final grade in the course.
6. Is there a title given by the HSU PA program for precepting?
Yes, we give titles and recognition based on the number of students a preceptor takes per cohort. The titles are as follows:
Jennifer Eames MPAS, DHSc, PA-C
Physician Assistant Program Director/Associate Professor
Dr. Jennifer Eames is an Associate Professor and Program Director for the Physician Assistant Program at Hardin-Simmons University. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Physician Assistant Studies and her Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska with a concentration in Infectious Disease. Dr. Eames also obtained her Doctoral Degree in Health Science from Nova Southeastern University to further her career as a PA educator. She has practiced clinically as a Physician Assistant since 2002 in gastroenterology, family medicine, and infectious disease. Dr. Eames later served as a faculty member, the Admissions Director, and Vice-Chair of the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston prior to moving to Abilene to found the new PA program at Hardin-Simmons University. As a published author in both educational and professional journals, she is passionate about educating the next generation of physician assistants. She is also passionate about serving her fellow man and has participated in mission trips to the Texas-Mexico border multiple times and traveled to Central and South America for service learning experiences with her PA and Medical students. Dr. Eames serves on committees and councils at both the state and national level for PAs including being the current President-elect for the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants and one of twelve educators nationally to write the prestigious Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating Assessment Tool (PACKRAT) exam – given to thousands of PA Students each year across the country. For leisure, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and two adult children.
Clay Bulls MPAS, PA-C
Clay Bulls, of Abilene, is a Physician Assistant who specializes in Hospital Medicine, working for groups such as for Shumacher Hospitalist Group at Abilene Regional Medical Center and as a PA in Internal Medicine for Abilene Physician Group. He is a member of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants. He holds a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Hospital Medicine from the NCCPA. He received his bachelor’s degree from McMurry University, and is a graduate of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine Physician Assistant program. He completed his Master of Physician Assistant Studies Degree from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.He currently serves as a member of the Texas Physician Assistant Board after being appointed in 2015 by Governor Greg Abbott. Mr. Bulls is an Assistant Professor for the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant Program.
Tina Butler DMSc, MPAS, PA-C
Associate Program Director, Assistant Professor
Dr. Tina Butler is the Associate Program Director for the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant Program. She has been involved in PA education for over a decade and has previously served as the Academic Director and Chair of the Admissions Committee. She graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas Physician Assistant Program in 1998, and obtained her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies with an emphasis in Cardiology from the University of Nebraska in 2007. She earned her Doctor of Medical Science in 2020 from the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. Dr. Butler has practiced clinically as a PA for over 20 years with the majority of her clinical experience in cardiology. She has also practiced in family practice and urgent care settings. Dr. Butler has served on multiple committees at both the state and national level. She served on the Board of Directors for the Texas Academy of PAs (TAPA) for over 10 years and served as President of TAPA from 2017-18. Dr. Butler is a published author in both educational and professional journals and has presented at CME conferences and education forums. Dr. Butler also writes for the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Rotation Exam Review Committee under the Internal/Family Medicine section. For relaxation, Dr. Butler enjoys reading and spending time with her husband, their two children, three dogs, two goats, and several chickens.
Ashley Hammonds, PA-R
Ashley Hammonds began his medical career studying radiography in the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1998. He continued to expand his imaging career by cross-training into Interventional Radiography where he became a department director at David Grant Medical Center. During his time in the military, he served a remote overseas tour to South Korea providing CT/X-ray coverage for the base. Ashley was honorably discharged from the USAF in 2006 where he moved back to his hometown and went into the ministry pastoring a church and overseeing several religious organizations including medical centers, orphanages, and feeding centers worldwide while continuing his medical career consulting in Interventional Radiography. He earned his Bachelor’s in Applied Arts and Sciences with an emphasis for Pre-Med in 2013 from Lamar University. In 2016, he and his family moved to England where he undertook a Physician Associate (Assistant) Master’s degree. He received his certification as a PA through the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians and has worked in emergency and acute medicine as well as family practice. He is currently a faculty lecturer in the Physician Assistant Program teaching Medical Interview, Physical Examinations, Health Policy and Billing, as well as Cross-Cultural Medicine. Additionally, he serves on the clinical team, recruiting preceptors, facilitating affiliation agreements, creating OSCEs, and overseeing family and pediatric medicine rotations. He enjoys playing guitar, barbequing, and spending time with his wife and three children.
Brianna Martinez is an Assistant Professor with the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant Program. She has clinical experience in Orthopedic Surgery prior to entering education, specializing in Sports Medicine, Total Joint Arthroplasty, and Orthopedic Trauma. She also served as a clinical preceptor for the University Texas Medical Branch for 4 years while living and working in Victoria, TX. She has earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biochemistry from Abilene Christian University and Master’s of Physician Assistant Studies from University Texas Medical Branch in 2015. She is an active member of multiple Physician Assistant organizations, including Physician Assistants in Orthopedic Surgery (PAOS), Texas Academy of Physician Assistants, and American Academy of Physician Assistants. She is married to an HSU alumnus of the Communications and Counseling and Human Development departments. In her spare time, she enjoys serving her local church, reading, exercising, baking and decorating cookies along with her young daughter.
Dr. Kathryn Norton
Medical Director, Assistant Professor
Dr. Norton was raised in Abilene, and graduated from Cooper High School in 1990. Her father has cared for patients in the Abilene community since 1976 and it is her goal to carry on the tradition. She attended Schreiner College and graduated with a BA in Biology in 1994. She then attended the medical school at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Lubbock and graduated with her Doctor of Medicine degree in 1998. She completed her general surgery residency at Louisiana Health Science Center in Shreveport, LA in 2004. She has continued her education, obtaining an MBA from Texas Tech in 2007. Most recently she has completed Genetics training through the City of Hope. She has a private practice performing many surgeries, but her passion is the treatment and care of breast cancer patients. Dr. Norton is married with 2 wonderful children. She loves the community of Abilene and looks forward to raising her family here and taking care of the people of this community.
Director of Clinical Education, Assistant Professor
Barbara Quillin is Director of Clinical Education for the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant Program. She graduated from the Texas A & M University-College Station with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio’s (now UT Health-San Antonio) Physician Assistant Studies program in 2004 earning her Bachelor’s degree. In 2008, she earned her Master’s degree from University of Texas-Pan American (now UT Rio Grande Valley). Ms. Quillin has practiced clinically in family medicine, emergency medicine as well as a mobile urgent care. Previously Ms. Quillin served as a faculty member, Admissions Chair, and Program Director as well as Interim Chair for UT Health Science Center in San Antonio’s PA program. She has also been a Visiting Professor at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Ms. Quillin has an interest in rural health as well as underserved medical care. She volunteered in a mobile medical clinic for the uninsured in rural South Texas for 5 years. She has served on committees at the state and national levels. She is also passionate about educating the future generations of PA students. In her spare time, Ms. Quillin enjoys spending time with her husband and her seven pups.
Kathy Robinson DHSc, MPAS, PA-C
Dr. Kathy Robinson is an Assistant Professor with the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant Program. She attended Angelo State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch –Galveston with a Master of Physician Assistant Studies. She received her Doctor of Health Science from Nova Southeastern University with an emphasis in Education. Her non-healthcare work experience includes administrative and managerial positions in the financial planning, life/health insurance, and non-profit sectors. She has clinical expertise in allergy, asthma, and otolaryngology. Currently, she practices psychiatry at a rural community health center outside of Abilene. Dr. Robinson is a member of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants, American Academy of Physician Assistants, and the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. She currently serves as a grant and scholarship reviewer for several local and national organizations. The Texas Academy of Physician Assistants awarded Dr. Robinson, the Outstanding PA Educator of the Year, in 2020.
Austin Alexander PT, DPT
Assistant Professor of Anatomy
Dr. Austin Alexander is an Assistant Professor of Anatomy teaching for the Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Biology Undergraduate programs at Hardin-Simmons University. He is an alumnus of the Department of Physical Therapy at Hardin-Simmons University, earning his Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2014. He was awarded with the Dr. William R. Gould Memorial Scholarship during his time at Hardin-Simmons University. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Exercise Science from University of Oklahoma in 2011. Dr. Alexander joined the faculty at Hardin-Simmons University following a position with Early Childhood Intervention at Betty Hardwick Center. He was recognized in 2018 by Betty Hardwick Center as the provider of the year. He is dedicated to patient centered care and has clinical experience in a variety of rehabilitation settings, including inpatient rehab, acute care, home health, early childhood intervention, and outpatient rehabilitation. He continues to advance his pediatric clinical experience at Hendrick Medical Center and Early Childhood Intervention. Austin is actively involved with the APTA and TPTA working towards becoming a Board Certified Specialist in Pediatrics. Austin is married to Kelsey and they have 4 children (Hank, Parker, MillieKate, and BrantleyJo).
Laura Lawrence, MPAS, PA-C
Laura Lawrence is a Physician Assistant practicing in Internal Medicine and Urgent Care at the Texas City Community Based Outpatient Clinic for Michael E DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She is also an adjunct faculty member for the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant Program as the Course Director for Internal Medicine. She graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Physician Assistant Program in 2006. Mrs. Lawrence has practiced clinically as a PA for over 12 years in gastroenterology and primary care and previously served as a faculty member and Director of Clinical Education for 5 years at UTMB’s PA Program. She attended St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX where she obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Biology. Mrs. Lawrence enjoys spending time with her husband of 15 years and their three children and going to church.
Dr. Camille Loftin
Camille Termini Loftin, DHEd, MPAS, PA-C is a Medical Care Line Physician Assistant at the Texas City Community Based Outpatient Clinic for Michael E DeBakey Veteran Affairs Medical Center. She is also an adjust faculty member for the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant Program as the Course Instructor for Professional Development. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 1989 with a BS in Health Education. She then continued her studies at UTMB and graduated in 1992 from the Physician Assistant Program. She has completed her Doctorate in Health Education at AT Still University. Dr. Loftin worked in the Division of Gastroenterology at UTMB for 4 years, and then went in to private practice in gastroenterology for 14 years before joining the UTMB PAS Department from 2009 to 2017. She has published several abstracts and articles in peer review journals, has numerous poster and oral presentations, and has coordinated several research study protocols. She loves spending time with her husband of 28 years, son, daughter, son-in-law and new grandson Brooks.
Dr. Holly West DHEd, PA-C, DFAAPA
Dr. Holly West is an Adjunct Instructor with the Hardin-Simmons Physician Assistant Program. She is graduate of Texas A&M University, received her Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, and her Doctorate of Health Education degree from A.T. Still University. Dr. West served as the Director of Academic Curricula at UTMB’s PA Program and directed the Clinical Medicine and Skills Practicum courses as well as the Women’s Health rotation. In 2014, Dr. West became a Women’s Health Specialist in the Department of OB/GYN at UTMB where she was responsible for multiple large-scale clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Industry. She also played a regulatory role and worked with the NIH and Food and Drug Administration. Committed to education, she remained heavily involved in the UTMB Medical School curriculum and served as the only PA Co-Director for a School of Medicine course (Endocrine and Reproduction). In July 2019, Dr. West transitioned to the UTMB School of Medicine’s Office of Educational Development as a Senior Medical Educator. A resident of League City, Texas, she lives close to family and enjoys spending time with her husband and son, Eli.
Tenell Zahodnik is an Adjunct Instructor of Emergency Medicine with the Hardin-Simmons Physician Assistant Program. Tenell completed her undergraduate degree at Abilene Christian University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Business. After graduating from ACU, she worked in Marketing/Sales for 5 years before deciding she wanted to delve into medicine. She graduated PA school from University of Texas Medical Branch in 2016 and was at that time recognized as a member of the Pi Alpha Honor Society and Who’s Who Among Students In American Universities and Colleges. She currently works full time in the Emergency Department at Hendrick Medical Center where she serves as the Chief Education APP. She also serves on the Education Committee for the Society of Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants. In her spare time, she loves to read, cook, take piano lessons, and is a die-hard San Antonio Spurs fan. She is newly married to Zach, who serves in administration at a local middle school.
Admission & Program Technology Coordinator
Kristen Anyan is the Admission and Program Technology Coordinator for the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant Program. Kristen was born in Louisiana but has lived in Texas since 1991. She has worked in hospital laboratories and earned her Phlebotomy Technician certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Kristen is currently a junior pursing a Bachelors of Business Administration. She has 6 years experience in higher education, with a technology emphasis. She considers the Physician Assistant Program position as her dream job; combining her passion for healthcare, technology, and helping to prepare the next generation of healthcare providers to go into the workforce. Kristen enjoys spending time with her family, spoiling her niece and nephew, and looks forward to reading in her down time. She enjoys fly fishing, shooting guns, and studying home defense. Her favorite hobby is training and spending time with her service pup, Sniper. Kristen is a member of Beltway Park Church.
Clinical Administrative Coordinator
Amy Young came to Hardin-Simmons University in 2006. She graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. She has worked in Enrollment Services, The Kelley College of Business and Graduate Student Services. She currently serves as the Clinical Administrative Coordinator. Amy has a true passion for students and watching them grow in their academic journey. She is originally from Oklahoma, but has been in the Abilene area for the last 19 years. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and has a deep love for animals. Amy is an active member at Beltway Park Baptist Church.
Clay Bulls MPAS, PA-C
Mr. Bulls was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott, in 2015, to serve as a member of the Texas Physician Assistant Board.
Tina Butler MPAS, PA-C
Mrs. Butler was the 2017-’18 President of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants.
Jennifer Eames DHSc, PA-C
Dr. Jennifer Eames, PA-C is currently serving in her second term on the board of directors for the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA) and was elected president of TAPA this Spring. She will serve as President-Elect beginning in July 2020.
Barbara Quillin MPAS, PA-C
Mrs. Quillin was awarded “Outstanding PA Educator of the Year” by the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants in 2015.
Kathy Robinson, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C
Dr. Robinson was awarded “Outstanding PA Educator of the Year” by the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants in 2020.
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