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Kerry Humes, MD, To Lead MPAS Program

Kerry Humes at podium

August 2016

Kerry Humes, MD, became the new director of the St. Ambrose Master of Physician Assistant Studies program in August.

An assistant professor and academic coordinator since the MPAS program welcomed its first cohort in the summer of 2014, Humes assumes the directorship just as that initial group of students is preparing to graduate in December.

Humes was the second faculty hired for the program, and her standing as a medical doctor has benefited the program over the past two years, said Sandra Cassady, PT, PhD, St. Ambrose vice president for strategic initiatives and dean of the College of Health and Human Services.

Cassady said Humes' background will further benefit the program in her role as director. Humes replaces former director Clare Kennedy, MPAS, PA-C, who has returned to her native Nebraska.

""Having a board certified physician on the core faculty provides more opportunities for student learning," Cassady said.

Humes has been a member of the Quad Cities medical community since 1995 when she moved to the area with her husband, Tim Humes, MD, a radiologist and a native of Rock Island, Illinois.

She said she hopes to leverage the connections she and her husband have made with local physicians to continue to expand the program's clinical placement opportunities. Humes said her experience as a physician will be a plus in preparing St. Ambrose MPAS students to work under the supervision of medical doctors.

"I have a great perspective on what physicians are looking for from a physician assistant, and the depth of medical knowledge I can bring to the program is extensive," she said.

Humes is certified in internal medicine and licensed in Iowa, Illinois, and Tennessee. The Chicago native earned her Doctor of Medicine/MD degree from Northwestern Medical School and completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. She earned an undergraduate degree in American history and biology from Harvard University.

Humes was a primary care physician at the Women's Health Center in Moline, Illinois, from 1995 through 2004 and the medical director and founder of the Good Samaritan Free Clinic in Rock Island, Illinois, from 2007 until July 2015.

Humes said she always had an interest in teaching and said her interest in St. Ambrose was kindled in 2012 when, as a member of the Moline Foundation Board of Directors, she heard a presentation from Cassady on the soon-to-launch MPAS program.

"St. Ambrose has a great reputation in the community, and it was a great fit for me," Humes said. "I always enjoyed teaching and whenever I had opportunity, I had a student or resident working with me."

Humes has watched the physician assistant profession grow from a small number of practitioners in the 1990s into the one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States.

She is proud to have played a foundational role in the St. Ambrose program, which was one of just three PA programs in the state of Iowa when it launched. She said her work in the classroom has furthered her passion for teaching.

"I love the students," she said. "We have great students. They are very enthusiastic, and they want to learn. It's a great environment, and I love that."

Two, 30-student cohorts already have followed the inaugural group into the MPAS program. It is part of a thriving health sciences community at the Center for Health Sciences Education on Lombard Street.

There, a medical clinic for underserved Quad Citians is staffed by students in the MPAS, Nursing, and Master of Social Work programs. That clinic joins an existing rehabilitation clinic staffed by students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Occupational Therapy, and Master of Speech-Language Pathology programs. The Interprofessional Health Clinic is now accepting patients.

Each program is part of a dynamic, interdisciplinary approach to health sciences education that makes the St. Ambrose programs stronger than many others, Humes said. "I think it's a great opportunity to understand what other disciplines do," she said. "It's a huge bonus."

As they ready for their final semester working under the clinical guidance of health providers across the country, Humes said virtually every member of the inaugural St. Ambrose MPAS class has received multiple job offers, and she said their success will help the program's reputation grow.

A year ago, more than 500 students from throughout the Midwest applied for entry into the SAU program. With the deadline to apply still two months away, more than 400 applications have been received for the next cohort.

MORE LIKE THIS:AmbroseZine, College of Health and Human Services, Faculty & Staff News/Achievements, Health Sciences

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