Kelly Named Director for UAMS Physician Assistant Program

By Jon Parham

The Coordinating Board of the state Department of Higher Education approved plans for the physician assistant program Oct. 28, which followed approval in May by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. The college will now begin the process of seeking provisional accreditation with hopes of enrolling its first students in summer 2013.

As director, Kelly will be responsible for guiding the program toward accreditation, developing the curriculum, establishing policies and hiring staff. Prior to joining UAMS, Kelly served since 2009 as associate program director and director of curriculum for the physician assistant program at Mercer University in Atlanta.

As a certified physician assistant, Kelly lectured and served as a preceptor for students in the Emory University program as an adjunct faculty member from 2003 to 2007. She then joined the Mercer University physician assistant program as the academic coordinator and a clinical assistant professor in 2007 to assist in the development of that program. She also worked as a physician assistant in outpatient internal medicine in Georgia.

Kelly earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in education leadership in higher education in 2010 from Mercer University. She received her physician assistant degree, a Master of Medical Science, from Emory University in Atlanta in 2001.

She has a Master of Science in physiology from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and a Master of Science in Education with emphasis in sports medicine from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. In 1989, she received a bachelor’s degree in athletic training/sports medicine from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Kelly is a member of the Physician Assistant Education Association, the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Georgia Academy of Physician Assistants.

Her sports medicine experience includes serving on the medical staff for the United States team at the World Youth Games in 1998 and the Paralympic Games in 1996. She also worked as a volunteer athletic trainer at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., and at Ball State University in intercollegiate athletics.

Physician assistants conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illness and disease, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery and write prescriptions with the supervision of a physician.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,800 students and 775 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or