• HONOLULU - Capt. Rhett Soltas, Capt. Brian Gomez and Capt. Amanda Buchholz each received a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska during a graduation ceremony at Tripler Army Medical Center, here, May 14. The students received their education through Tripler's Interservice Physician Assistant Program and will be taking their skills to their new duty stations.

    Tripler graduates new PAs to Army Medicine

    HONOLULU - Capt. Rhett Soltas, Capt. Brian Gomez and Capt. Amanda Buchholz each received a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska during a graduation ceremony at Tripler Army Medical Center, here, May 14. The...

  • HONOLULU - Col. Glenda Lock, deputy commander for nursing, Pacific Regional Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center, congratulates the students of Interservice Physician Assistant Program Class 10-2 after their graduation in the TAMC Chapel, here, May 14. The graduates pictured left to right are Capt. Rhett Soltas, Capt. Brian Gomez and Capt. Amanda Buchholz. They each received a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the affiliated academic institution for IPAP.

    Tripler graduates new PAs to Army Medicine

    HONOLULU - Col. Glenda Lock, deputy commander for nursing, Pacific Regional Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center, congratulates the students of Interservice Physician Assistant Program Class 10-2 after their graduation in the TAMC Chapel...

  • HONOLULU " Jeffrey Robin (left), physician assistant, Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, Otolaryngology, Department of Surgery, Tripler Army Medical Center, receives the Capt. Sean Grimes Outstanding Preceptor Award in the TAMC Chapel, here, May 14. The award is given to an Interservice Physician Assistant Program educator nominated by each class and was created to honor the sacrifices Grimes made and recognize the sacrifices made by those involved in the training of physician assistants.  Capt. Amanda Buchholz (center left), Capt. Brian Gomez (center right), and Capt. Rhett Soltas (right), IPAP Class 10-2 each received a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the affiliated academic institution for IPAP.

    Tripler graduates new PAs to Army Medicine

    HONOLULU " Jeffrey Robin (left), physician assistant, Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, Otolaryngology, Department of Surgery, Tripler Army Medical Center, receives the Capt. Sean Grimes Outstanding Preceptor Award in the TAMC Chapel, here, May 14. The...

HONOLULU - Tripler Army Medical Center's Interservice Physician Assistant Program Class 10-2 graduated in the TAMC Chapel May 14, here.

Capt. Amanda Buchholz, Capt. Brian Gomez, and Capt. Rhett Soltas each received a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the affiliated academic institution for IPAP.

The PA profession has a long history. During the Civil War, the Union Army created a Surgeon Assistant Corps to assist physicians on and off the battle field. The modern PA profession officially began October 6, 1967 when the first PA class of four students graduated from Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Physician assistants work in all of types of medical and surgical practice settings.

Dr. John Mallon, emergency medicine physician, Emergency Department, TAMC, was invited to be the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Mallon, a Vietnam veteran, was a PA in southern Georgia from 1980-1984.

"The PA concept has just boomed," Mallon said. "There are currently 79,000 practicing physician assistants and the profession absorbs 4,000-5,000 new physician assistants a year without a problem."

Mallon said a lot of his experience as a PA is what prepared him for being a physician. He said he has helped train new PAs and is optimistic about the future of the profession.

"I think anything that makes a PA a better clinician is better for the people they take care of, especially when they send PAs downrange to take care of our Soldiers who are in combat," Mallon explained.

The students of Class 2-10 were asked to nominate their educators for the Capt. Sean Grimes, PA-C, Outstanding Preceptor Award. Grimes, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005, was the first PA killed in action during the overseas contingency operations. The award was created to honor the sacrifices he made and recognize the sacrifices made by those involved in the training of physician assistants.

During the ceremony, the students presented Jeffrey Robin, certified physician assistant, Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, Otolaryngology, Department of Surgery, TAMC with the award. Robin said that even though he is a civilian, his career has always crossed paths with the military.

"At my first job after graduating from PA school, I worked for two otolaryngologists in a private civilian practice, (who were retired military medical officers)," Robin explained. "All the skills that I developed and knowledge I obtained about Otolaryngology, I received from military medical officers.

"Here I am ten years later taking the exact same skills and knowledge I learned from (them) and I am teaching it to future medical officers," Robin added. "This is my way of trying to keep the tradition of military medicine alive."

Robin said the students in Class 2-10 had a positive influence on him as an educator.

"I can honestly say that this particular class of PA students were some of the most dedicated, passionate and driven students, who I have had the opportunity to work with," Robin said. "They already had the same traits that I try to use to motivate students, so what this did was it motivated me to work harder for them. These students reminded me why I like to teach."

Buchholz will be taking her skills to Fort Carson, Colo., while Gomez and Soltas will stay on Oahu where they will utilize their PA skills at U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks.

Page last updated Thu May 17th, 2012 at 00:00