Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant

Student Profiles


Stephen Gaines
Stephen Gaines
Hometown: Jonesburg, MO
Class of 2017
College/University Attended: Truman State University
Undergraduate Major: Exercise Science
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant Program?

I wanted to remain in Missouri for my PA education and UMKC was instantly at the top of my list. Although relatively new, the UMKC MMSPA program has a promising future being housed within a prestigious medical school that enables the program to offer students a profound education in cooperation with multiple hospitals and clinics throughout the Kansas City area. It was important to me that I attended a program that allowed for excellent clinical opportunities along with a good classroom education.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

I really enjoy how all of the instructors are very dedicated to the success of each student and how the staff is focused on pushing their students to become the best possible PA’s.

Why are you pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant?

Being a Physician Assistant will allow me a high level of autonomy to provide a higher level of medical care to patients and be able to make a difference in the lives of so many people. Another attractive feature of being a PA is the ability to change specialties so that I may work in different disciplines within the field of medicine throughout my career if I desire. The PA career is a rapidly growing career and the future for PAs is very promising.



Liz Braun
Liz Braun
Hometown: Springfield, MO
Class of 2018
College/University Attended: Missouri State University
Undergraduate Major: Nursing
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant Program?

There are many reasons that lead me to choose the UMKC PA program. I think what initially intrigued me about the school was the PA curriculum.  I love the module format of learning.  We will study each body system in depth, including all of the anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, clinical skills, pharmacology and more.  We focus on one body system at a time, which really makes the learning process smoother.  Another benefit of the PA program at UMKC is that we are part of a greater medical community here on “Hospital Hill”.   We are on the same campus as nursing, dentistry, and pharmacy and share the same building as the MD and Master of Science in Anesthesia program. One final aspect that persuaded me to make UMKC my number one choice was its incredible location.  Kansas City is not only a fun place to live, but with so many hospitals located in the metropolitan area alone, there are a great number of clinical and professional opportunities here for me in the future.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

I absolutely love my classmates and teachers.  Being in a small classroom has been really enjoyable. I like that I can get to know everyone in my class. It’s encouraging to see that we’ve all come from such different backgrounds and we all have the same passion.  I also feel a lot of support from my instructors.  They are really dedicated to helping us succeed and you can feel that each and every day.

Why are you pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant?

What an incredible opportunity it is to dedicate 29 months of your life to medical training and then be in a position to help meet the health needs of patients in our community.  I really love working with people and a career in this field will offer me a meaningful way to impact individuals each and every day.  I was also really drawn to this career because of the medical model we are trained by and the flexibility to choose any specialty.



Christine Marchik
Christine Marchik
Hometown: Tipton, IA
Class of 2016
College/University Attended: Wartburg College - Waverly, IA
Undergraduate Major: Biology major/Spanish minor
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant Program?

UMKC and the KC metropolitan area have a lot to offer to PA students. I was drawn to the program by the module system, which has really facilitated my learning. It makes sense to me to learn one body system at a time, and everything starts to come together and we begin to think more systematically as we progress. The School of Medicine here is well-established, and all of those benefits spill over into the PA program. UMKC already has strong ties with clinical instructors and it provides us with opportunities to work alongside highly regarded medical professionals in the area. Also, the community provides ample opportunity in patient care experience and service opportunities.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

The people. Being in a small cohort made me a little anxious at first, but I love being in such a tight-knit group of people with instructors who are so dedicated to our learning and success as students and future practitioners. All of the instructors are easy to work with and incredibly open to answering questions or providing more opportunity to go over difficult concepts.

I’ve also really enjoyed the service opportunities that UMKC has provided me. I’m excited to see that UMKC is incorporating service work in the patient care fields as a part of the curriculum to further develop the spirit of service within the PA students.

Why are you pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant?

As much as I love the science of medicine, I also really love working with people. Being a PA provides me with the perfect balance of medical practice and patient care. I love the flexibility of the profession and I love knowing that I can switch specialties without going back to school. Physician assistants are also in high demand. The profession is growing and changing rapidly and PAs are gaining more independence, finding niches in the field, and becoming such an integral part of the healthcare team. It’s an exciting time to be a future PA!