Vol. 33, No. 1     Winter 2010
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ClassNotes

MEDEX Northwest

New job, award, move or family addition? Your classmates and colleagues want to hear from you! Let us know how you’re doing. We also welcome emailed photos — just be sure to identify everyone in them.

Seattle

  • Deborah Younger (Outhouse), PA-C (Seattle Class 9), M.D., writes, “I did my preceptorship with Marcie Jackson in Anchorage, Alaska, then worked on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and as the sole medical provider in the Tlingit Indian village of Yakutat, Alaska. Then I did volunteer work in American Samoa at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center and became interested in public health and international health care. In 1978, I attended the University of Hawaii School of Public Health, and I received my MPH in international health in 1980. I worked in Saudi Arabia for a number of years. I attended medical school and graduated from the American University of the Caribbean in 1987; then I moved to Charleston, S.C., and did my residency in family medicine. I had my first child, Grace, in 1989 during Hurricane Hugo! Upon completing my residency, I started to work in a community ER and developed a love of emergency medicine. Six years later, I was board-certified in emergency medicine, and helped to start the first county EMS system in Dorchester County, S.C. I worked full-time as an ER physician and medical control for EMS for a number of years, and as a part-time clinical instructor in emergency medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. This year I accepted a position in the emergency room at the VAH in Charleston, S.C., and continue to teach both residents and PA students. I am active on the disaster planning and pandemic flu committees and continue to work part-time in Summerville, S.C., at a community ER. I have two children: my son, Zane, is 16, and my daughter, Grace, is 20 and attending the College of Charleston. I am a single mother with a very active life and would love to hear from any of my old classmates! You can reach me at drmom52@hotmail.com.”
  • Steve Tull, PA-C (Seattle Class 22), writes, “I am now working as the Peace Corps Medical Officer in Ethiopia, a job I have been trying to get for seven years. My office email for the next two years is stull@et.peacecorps.gov. I have only been here three months but have many contacts with the embassy, NGOs and USAID (United States Agency for International Development).”
  • John Ramirez, PA-C (Seattle Class 28), writes, “During my last deployment to Iraq, I had the honor and privilege to serve with a young Army medical specialist by the name of Aaron Isaac, PA-C (Seattle Class 39). MEDEX was astute enough to accept him into their program when he returned to the U.S. He graduated just in time to be mobilized and deployed again to Iraq — this time as the physician assistant for the only battalion in our brigade to stay intact and absorb several other battalions’ companies. He served as the sole medical provider for this large force. In addition, he made time to volunteer at the Balad Base Hospital. I was fortunate enough to meet up with him at the PA conference in Baghdad earlier this year. Lt. Isaac has been a tremendous asset to his battalion, a role model to his medics and an invaluable colleague I often consult on medical and administrative issues. I just wanted to ask you to pass on a sincere “thank you” to all the folks at MEDEX for having provided his soldiers with the very best physician assistant I know. Your efforts in educating Lt. Isaac resulted in lives saved and missions safely accomplished over here. As a result, we will be returning home very soon.” (Note: Major Ramirez is a senior physician assistant with the 81st Brigade Combat Team, Washington Army National Guard.)
  • Ian Jones, MPAS, CCPA, PA-C (Seattle Class 30), is the president of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants. His other jobs include a faculty position at the University of Manitoba, neurosurgery at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, and trying to stay ahead of his two brilliant children, Brianna (now grade 10), and Andrew, an economics major at university.
Andrea Breuner

Andrea Breuner, PA-C (Seattle Class 34), writes, “Here’s a picture of the baby girl I adopted from Ethiopia last year. Best thing I’ve ever done, crazy but fantastic — I’ve never been so busy.”

  • Bill Buchanan, PA-C (Seattle Class 34), writes, “I’ve been working 90 hours a week for so long that I’ve gotten way behind in correspondence! The 40th anniversary sounds fun, and I attended the 40th anniversary gala for Medic One at Harborview not too long ago as well. I feel fortunate to have attended two great programs at the UW School of Medicine, both celebrating 40 years of exemplary instruction.”
  • Claire Reilly, PA-C (Seattle Class 40), writes, “Just wanted to drop a line and let you know I’m leaving for Iraq in two days. The Army’s been fine — my loans are pretty much paid off, and I’ve gotten some good training. Dennis and I bought a house down here in Lacey, Wash., which has been great (huge garden in the front, lakefront property in the back). I’m attached to an artillery battalion in an infantry brigade, and I’m in charge of about 350 soldiers. I’m looking forward to the more varied ER experience I’ll get over there as we see civilians — both contractors and locals — so I will have an opportunity to treat more than just orthopaedic and STD cases.”

Spokane

Ken Waugh

Ken Waugh, MS, PA-C (Spokane Class 2), writes, “Just a note, hope this finds you all well. As you know, I have been practicing in Alaska since graduation, but Lisa Sabatka, PA-C (Spokane Class 2), has recently found her way up here and joined our group. Here is a photo of us on our way to work.”

  • Elson Leinweber, PA-C (Spokane Class 3), writes, “I am in Waterville, Wash., the lone provider at the Waterville Clinic. This is a small, rural, medically underserved area. We have an ambulance service that I supply the ALS for at times. I am on call 24/7 and work with two assisted living homes. I also am coaching junior-high fast-pitch softball for the local school.”
  • Damon Sevart, PA-C (Spokane Class 3), writes, “I’m currently working as a general surgery PA-C for a 10-physician group in Eugene, Ore. I split my time between the office and the operating room. We have two PAs and an RNFA. I recently married, one year ago now, and we spent three weeks in Italy for our honeymoon. Upon returning, we bought a house and remodeled before moving in.”
  • Greg Stafford, PA-C (Spokane Class 3), writes, “Dr. Richard Smith (nooooo, not that one! the guy I have been working with since graduating) and I relocated our practice to Carrollton, Miss., a small farming community, in July 2008. We are associated with a critical-access hospital, and we are starting the process of getting our rural health clinic status and providing primary care in both family medicine (our clinic setting) and ER coverage. I am involved in some state politics and will be appointed to the Board of Healing Arts PA Council for 2010. (I remember Ruth’s golden rule: those who show up get to make the rules!) Dr. Smith and I rotate every year between medical students and PA students. I am helping with the local high-school athletic program; I’m a part-time football coach and provide some athletic training care. If I have any spare time, I spend it with my bird dogs, and I am in the process of training a new six-month-old German shorthaired pointer puppy. My family is doing well. My wife is working for CERNER and is very involved in the development and enhancement of electronic medical records in the critical-care venue. Our daughter is attending college (Missouri Valley) and working on her degree in human resource management. She also is on the college’s track team as a shot and hammer thrower. Our son graduated from college (Missouri Science & Technology) in 2008 with a degree in petroleum engineering, and he is managing some oil and gas fields in the panhandle of Oklahoma.”
  • Kim Dotson, PA-C (Spokane Class 4), writes, “On a professional level, I am still working at the Airway Heights Correction Center, in Airway Heights, Wash., serving as a clinical preceptor for MEDEX students and volunteering as an ambassador with the National Health Service Corps. I had six students this past year for their medically underserved rotations, and one liked it so much she recently came on board with us as a full-time employee!
  • I just celebrated my fifth anniversary with the Washington State Department of Corrections and continue to enjoy the unique challenges associated with work in a correctional setting. After graduating from MEDEX, I became involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, a program dedicated to finding a cure for blood-related cancers. They provide training for an endurance event in exchange for your fundraising efforts. I completed my first marathon and went back several times as a volunteer mentor, team captain and fundraising athlete. Prior to getting involved with Team in Training, I couldn’t even run a block; since then, I have run several half-marathons, six marathons, a couple of sprint triathlons, and, last summer, I completed my first half-Ironman event! I hope to do a full Ironman in 2011.”
  • Tom Douthit, PA-C (Spokane Class 5), writes, “I continue to work in otolaryngology in the Nampa-Meridian region of Idaho with the same physician. I have completed my master’s degree in physician assistant studies with an emphasis on otolaryngology. Camille and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary this summer and have two daughters, Allison (5) and Lexi Lee (2).”
  • Brian Martin, PA-C (Spokane Class 4), writes, “It’s been quite a hectic few years for me. I still live in Idaho with my beautiful wife, Sharon Brewer, PA-C (Seattle Class 29), who has retired. After graduation, I went to work for an orthopaedic surgeon for about four years and then took a job at the VA in Boise. I work in the surgery service with an emphasis on orthopaedic surgery. I help precept PA students from the University of Washington and Idaho State University, and I enjoy their fresh outlook. I hope to be a part of MEDEX’s student selection committee some day.”
  • Tom Douthit, PA-C (Spokane Class 5), writes, “I continue to work in otolaryngology in the Nampa-Meridian region of Idaho with the same physician. I have completed my master’s degree in physician assistant studies with an emphasis on otolaryngology. Camille and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary this summer and have two daughters, Allison (5) and Lexi Lee (2).”
  • Jonna Lindbergh, PA-C (Spokane Class 5), writes, “I am working in diagnostic radiology for Inland Imaging in Spokane, Wash., as is classmate Paula Thompson (Spokane Class 5.) Life? Hmm. Well, since I take no call and have great hours, I actually do have one! My daughter is graduating from high school this year, I belong to the local Vespa club and go to a lot of scooter rallies. That is pretty much the excitement in my life, and I’m not complaining!”
  • Raylene Lawrence, PA-C (Spokane Class 6), writes, “Since graduation in 2004, I’ve lived and worked in Othello, Wash. Othello is a rural town in eastern Washington that serves a largely migrant Hispanic population. The place where I work, Columbia Basin Health Association (CBHA), is a community health clinic with three sites that include all aspects of family and specialist care in state-of-the-art facilities with electronic medical records, digital x-rays, dental and vision care, behavioral health and other support services. We were recently recognized by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for our use of health information technology to improve health care quality and patient safety. I practice family and occupational medicine with an emphasis on industrial accident cases. On a more personal note, I have moved three times, gained three dogs, built a house and divorced. I spend my spare time gardening, playing with grandchildren and volunteering in the community. I particularly enjoy teaching health care at church and community events. My next endeavor is learning to play bridge! I love being a PA, I love Othello, and I am so grateful for all the blessings of the last few years.”
  • Jennifer Martin, PA-C (Spokane Class 6), writes, “After five years in the ER at St. Joseph’s in Tacoma, Wash., I decided to go back to school. I graduated from Pacific University with my master’s and completed a rural trauma and critical-care residency at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Ore. I began working in the ER at Harborview in January. I also will be doing some neurosurgery on the side in the Seattle area.”
  • Erin Flynn, PA-C (Spokane Class 8), writes, “Immediately out of PA school I was hired at Arthritis Northwest, a premier autoimmune and inflammatory arthritis center in Spokane, Wash. We have five rheumatologists and three mid-level providers. I work full-time, keeping busy with three active children as well.”
  • Ryan Saunders, PA-C (Spokane Class 8), writes, “The surgeon I work with and I decided to start our own orthopaedic and spine surgery practice here in Spokane, Wash., and we opened on Nov. 17, 2009. We already have numerous patients and surgeries lined up — otherwise, I’m keeping busy with family.”
  • Tim Thornton PA-C (Spokane Class 8), writes, “I have been working full-time in Plains, Mont., at a small critical-access emergency department. On average, I see 12–17 patients per 24-hour shift. I’m also the EMS medical director for the volunteer ambulance service, which allows me to keep in touch with EMS (which was my focus prior to PA school). I married a wonderful woman I met at my first PA job in Kalispell last December. Adrianna, Tyler and I live in Kalispell with two dogs and one cat. My life since graduating from MEDEX has been a wonderful whirlwind of activity and excitement. I wouldn’t want it any other way!”

Yakima

  • Brian Callier, PA-C (Yakima Class 4), writes, “I work for United Health Care, previously Sierra Health. I have been doing urgent-care medicine for the last five years and really enjoy it. I work three 12-hour shifts a week and have four days off. I’ve been married for 10 years and I have two kids, Ryan (10) and Makayla (8). My wife is a PA, too.”
  • Laura Valdez Reka, PA-C (Yakima Class 4), writes, “I’m busy working part-time ob-gyn/surgery Monday through Wednesday. On Thursdays, I work in the ER. Then I’m off three days with my four daughters! Our oldest will start kindergarten this year — my heart is breaking. Then we have a three-year-old and one-and-a-half-year-old twins. ALL girls. We drive my husband crazy. I love it. I am blessed. After PA school, I returned to school, received my theology degree and did missionary work in Honduras for six years. I now use that knowledge to drill my daughters about the Christian faith since my husband is Muslim. You never know where life will take you!”
  • Jose Osorio-Lopez, PA-C (Yakima Class 6), writes, “This is a challenging year here in Tampa, Fla. My wife is a teacher; we have a 22-month-old girl named Sara. This period (when we get new residents in our service) is the busiest time of the year in our department. We spend considerable time in the fall preparing them for surgical and residency duties. (University of South Florida works with Tampa General Hospital to train residents.) Otherwise, I’m doing fine. I’m entering my seventh year in general/colorectal surgery. I have great relationships with my supervising surgeons. Actually, one of them is Sara’s godfather! I have a great deal of autonomy, therefore a lot of responsibilities. I love it!”
  • Daniel Hankes, PA-C (Yakima Class 7), writes, “I am deploying to Iraq and will return in August 2010. I’m currently with the 82nd Airborne Division and I am the senior PA in the 1st Brigade Combat Team — did an inter-service transfer from the USPHS/USCG (U.S. Public Health Service/U.S. Coast Guard) last year. Very happy with my decision. All is well with me and the family. Regards to the MEDEX team!”
  • Janet Huntley, spouse of Gary Huntley PA-C (Yakima Class 7), writes, “It is with such sadness that I let the Yakima Class 7 know that my beloved husband, Gary Huntley, passed away July 15, 2009. Gary had been waiting for a liver transplant when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He never complained, fought harder than anyone could and lived his final days with such grace. Our family misses him terribly.”
  • Mary Boscamp, PA-C (Yakima Class 9), writes, “I have fulfilled my National Health Service Corps contract in underserved rural Wyoming, have completely paid off my student loan (and hospital) debt and have returned to my beloved home in Montana with my husband. Now, after a six-month sabbatical (yes, I skied a lot), I have resumed my career at Belgrade Urgent Care and will begin filling in at Montana State University Student Health Services. I wish all of you the very best and look forward to re-establishing contact.”
  • Dawn Elton, PA-C (Yakima Class 9), writes, “I am doing well. I am working for the State of Nevada and am practicing internal medicine and psychiatry. I also have worked in urgent care, and I continue to learn every day! I do hope the MEDEX celebration was an event to remember, and I’m sure it was! You should be proud of all of the work you have accomplished with the MEDEX program.”Lt. Howie Martindale, USCG, PA-C (Yakima Class 9), writes, “I’m back in the States, down in San Pedro, still on active duty. I am on standby to go to Puerto Rico. I am finding opportunities to mentor future PAs.”
  • Ann Weiss, MPAS, PA-C (Yakima Class 9), writes, “After graduation, I worked at Group Health Cooperative in Silverdale, Wash., my home town. After only four days working part-time in urgent care, a position opened in family practice; the PA who had been my preceptor for our six-month family practice rotation left for medical reasons. To this day, I believe he kept that seat open for me until I graduated, and I will always be indebted to him. I later reduced my family-practice days to four and worked one day at the local hospital as a hospitalist. I thought internal medicine would help me in my family-practice work, and it certainly did. But it’s tough work when your youngest patient of the day is 82 and has co-morbidities and a list of meds the length of your arm! While I was working two jobs, I completed work from the University of Nebraska for an MPAS degree. Two years ago, I was offered a position working for the Department of Defense at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash. I work five days a week and have a corpsman assigned to me for several months at a time. I teach the corpsmen to conduct a thorough physical exam that would hold up under the scrutiny of the MEDEX staff (remember that week in March on campus in Seattle?) and have taught several how to suture. I enjoy working with these bright young people. It is humbling to work with them before they are deployed, and it’s joyful when they return home. I have talked to several about pursuing a career as a PA. On a personal note, my husband, Ted, retired from Boeing after 30 years. It’s very strange going to work and coming home to a nice meal (nice, yes, but still strange as we try to define our new roles). We have two grandchildren who keep me young but tired. We moved into a big house and have room for YOU and your family if you ever come to Seattle. Just drop me a note. Hoping that this finds you and yours happy and healthy.”
  • Angie Bean, PA-C (Yakima Class 10), writes, “I have been working at Lacamas Medical Group in Camas, Wash., for 2.5 years in family practice and urgent care. Love it! A PA owns the clinic; there are two PAs, one NP and one doctor, and we are looking for another doctor. My husband is doing well. He just finished up an EMT course, and he’s still welding. He started volunteering at the fire department and really liked the medical side. Go figure. Otherwise, working, taking photos and camping!”

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