USD PA professor planning retirement Marilyn Harms, clinical coordinator and assistant professor for the Physician's Assistant (PA) program at The University of South Dakota, will retire on Dec. 31.
Professor Harms came to USD in 1995 in a temporary position and has remained to help build a nationally respected PA program at USD.
Harms was instrumental in instituting the first and only PA program in the state of South Dakota, beginning with her personal relationship with former Gov. George S. Mickelson, who made the program a priority in his 1993 inaugural address.
In the beginning, Harms was able to assist Dean Frank Brady with national contacts and information needed to
get an accredited program started. She began work at USD in 1995 on a temporary basis to arrange clinical sites for students ready for their clinical year and prepare graduates of the first class for graduation and their national board exams, until a new director was scheduled to arrive.
Since its inception in 1993, graduates of the program have an exceptional 100 percent pass rate on national board examinations.
The program currently has four full time faculty and two full time staff members.
"I came to USD at the request of Dean Frank Brady to help facilitate the program's adaptation to an entirely new faculty and ended up staying," Harms said.
"Marilyn is highly respected and has done an amazing job with the program," said Herb Ridings, director of the Physician Assistant program at USD. "Even though she's retiring, we hope she stays active in the South Dakota Academy of Physician Assistant's Association."
The University of North Dakota will honor Harms by presenting her with the 2002 Robert C. Eelkema Award on Jan. 17 in Grand Forks, ND. This award recognizes graduates for their outstanding contribution to the practice and profession. Only two other UND alumni have ever received this award.
UND faculty choose recipients from nominations across the nation. Harms has also been asked to speak to graduates about her experiences during the upcoming UND graduation exercises on Jan. 17, 2003.
Harms received her undergraduate degree from Creighton University, Omaha, NE, in 1962 and received her physician assistant/nurse practitioner training from the University of North Dakota in 1979. During her career, Harms has given unselfishly of her time and professional talents through public service to many committees and community organizations, publishing, presentations, and other pro- fessional activities.
She has organized and participated in approximately 14 medical mission trips over the past 12 years. In several instances, she has included physician assistant students on these missions.
She holds a variety of certifications and has received numerous honors and awards, including the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Outstanding Physician Assistant of the Year (1994); South Dakota Academy of Physician Assistants, Physician Assistant of the Year (1993); Business and Professional Women, Woman of the Year (1986); and
South Dakota Academy of Physician Assistants, Outstanding Service Award (1984).