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Dr. Christy Eskes Named Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program Director Ahead of Inaugural Year

Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) President Dr. Sheldon Schuster has announced Dr. Christy Eskes as the newly appointed Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) Program Director.

Eskes previously served as the MSPA Director of Didactic Education before being promoted to Program Director in July.

“I am thrilled and honored to be named Program Director for the MSPA program,” Eskes said. “Physician Assistant (PA) education is my passion, and I’m so excited to educate the next generation.”

Eskes, an Arizona native, earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Northern Arizona University (NAU) before coming across the PA profession. Shortly after graduating from NAU, she enrolled in the PA program at Loma Linda University.

“I was originally taking courses to do physical therapy,” Eskes said. “Once I came across the PA field, I never looked back.”

Eskes said she knew she wanted to enter medicine or the physical sciences because her mother was an Intensive Care Unit nurse. She was also exposed to Physical Therapy (PT) during her high school athletic career.

She switched from pursuing PT to PA when she decided she wanted to make a closer connection with her future patients earlier in their wellness journey.

“Once I started evaluating my options, I wanted to be able to see the patient from before they needed the physical therapy,” Eskes said. “I realized I wanted to work in primary care with patients of all ages and their families.”

She enrolled in an emergency medical technician (EMT) course and began working with an ambulance company to obtain patient care hours as a prerequisite for PA school.

Since graduating from Loma Linda University, she has fulfilled her goals by working in primary care settings, from family medicine clinics to correctional facilities. During her clinical career, she began volunteering as a clinical preceptor and fell in love with PA education.

Eskes went on to complete her Doctorate in Health Science with an emphasis in Advanced PA Studies from A.T. Still University and has worked various roles in PA education, including Didactic Coordinator, Associate Program Director, and Program Director.

She has also been a part of several state and national committees, including serving on the Board of Directors for the California Academy of PAs (CAPA), chairing the PA Program Relations Committee and the Continuing Medical Education Committee for CAPA, and serving on the Conference Curriculum committee and the Project Access subcommittee for the Physician Assistant Education Association.

Eskes said she and the MSPA team are ready to hit the ground running with the inaugural cohort in the fall.

“The MSPA team we have built at KGI is collaborative and student-focused,” Eskes said. “We aim to link these students arm-in-arm with the faculty so we can walk with them on the journey to their new career.”

KGI will welcome 40 students into the inaugural MSPA cohort on August 29. Learn more about KGI’s MSPA program by visiting kgi.edu/mspa.

Listen to a special podcast with Christy!