Physician Assistant Research

David Areaux, MPAS, PA-C, assistant professor in Western Michigan University's physician assistant department, developed and received HSIRB approval for a research project named, "The Possible Impact of Learning Styles on Physician Assistant Choice of Medical Specialty." The goal of this study is to examine possible associations between a physician assistant's individual learning styles and their subsequent choice of medical specialty. The long-range goal is to build a knowledge base to determine if learning style can be used by post-graduate residency programs to help assess the applicant's suitability as a candidate to their particular post-graduate program. Areaux applied for and has been awarded a grant from HayGroup (Hay Resources Direct) for use of "The Kolb Learning Style Inventory."  The grant is equivalent to $12,600. He was also asked by the program director of the physician assistant program at the University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine to write Chapter 19: Reduction of the Shoulder/Finger Subluxation in the book Essential Clinical Procedure, 3rd edition.

Denise Bowen, MA, PA-C, assistant professor in the Physician Assistant Department has an interest in reducing health care disparities by affecting change in the attitudes of health professional students during their professional training. Along with Dr. Maureen Mickus and Dr. Richard Long, she received HSIRB approval and conducted a pilot study aiming to affect change in the ethnocentric attitudes and implicit bias of PA students regarding health services for Mexican migrant workers. Ms. Bowen is also working with Dr. Doris Ravotas on her research project to determine what training is necessary for adults with low basic literacy to make informed child health decisions. She has developed the group health training for the parents and will train PA students to lead the trainings. In addition, Ms. Bowen has an interest in Team Based Learning (TBL) and is currently developing a TBL curriculum for PA students.  She is also working on developing a practicum experience for PA students during their clinical year to conduct a quality improvement project in a clinical setting and present those project results in various venues.

Dr. Amy Curtis is a professor in the physician assistant department and the Ph.D. program in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. She is an epidemiologist, and her current research focuses on diabetes, obesity and developing and evaluating community participatory public health initiatives.

Dr. Maria E. Scott is an assistant professor in the physician assistant department. She is a molecular biologist, with research focused on understanding pathogenesis of diarrheal infections through the identification and characterization of proteins involved in infection and the response of the host to infection. This fall, she submitted a grant that will lay the groundwork for a new research project that will provide an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the pathogenesis of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli diarrheal pathogens and how the host's commensal gut microbiota influences the outcome of infection. Her current work also involves the use of nanoparticle-bioengineered antibacterial agents to control hospital-acquired antibiotic-resistant infections.