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Following a national search, Katie Hanlon, MMS, PA-C (’06) has been named Program Director of the Division of Physician Assistant Studies, housed within the Department of Health Sciences and UNC’s School of Medicine. Hanlon has been serving as Interim Program Director since December 2022. Clinically, she has experience in emergency medicine and critical care and works in the Cardiovascular and Thoracic ICU at UNC Medical Center.

“I am beyond honored to have the opportunity to step into this role and look forward to this new phase of the UNC PA Program as we continue to uphold our mission to improve access to healthcare for North Carolinians,” said Hanlon.

Hanlon has worked in inpatient and outpatient emergency medicine, surgery, and cardiac intensive care during the course of her career. As an assistant professor, she served as the course director for the three medical units first-year PA students work through during their pre-clinical phase, and she teaches the cardiology unit. Her leadership experiences through teaching and clinical work have contributed to Hanlon’s ability to support the program through a new phase in its 10-year history, which includes its recent first-time ranking within the top 50 physician assistant programs in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The Division of Physician Assistant Studies is currently focused on continuing to ensure quality medical education for all learners while working to fully explore opportunities that will enable the division to fully recognize its mission.

“Although Katie has been serving admirably in the Interim Program Director role for the past seven months, I want to officially welcome Katie into the fold as the permanent director as we move into the future,” said Dr. Stephen Hooper, Associate Dean of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Health Sciences. “We are extremely fortunate to have Katie assume this leadership role during a critical time of transition and future growth for the PA Program. Moving toward a PA-led program is in accordance with recent changes in the PA accreditation standards, and we are fortunate to have Katie on our team to lead this important educational initiative for the Department, School of Medicine, the broader university, and the state.”

The program will celebrate its sixth graduating class in December. The past several graduating classes have logged a 100% first-time board pass rate, and the program continues to align its admissions process holistically to be centered on the competencies of the PA profession – a standard that has yielded much success.

Hanlon graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BS in Biology in 2006. She earned a Masters of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Midwestern University, Downers Grove, in 2009.

The UNC PA program is currently accepting applications for its January 2025 class. Applications are due October 1, 2023.