July 21, 2008

Dorris heads physician assistant program

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Jason Dorris is the new interim director of the Physician Assistant Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Dorris has been a clinical assistant professor in the program since 2007.

As a student at SIUC, Dorris earned a bachelor’s degree in the physician assistant program and a bachelor’s degree in physiology. He also holds a master of physician assistant studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., and completed his associate of science degree at John A. Logan College in Carterville.

Dorris, of West Frankfort, has also worked as a certified physician assistant at the VA Medical Center in Marion and Southern Illinois Urology in Herrin, and as a urological medical office assistant for Dr. Rahim Asgard in Herrin. He’s acquired a number of professional certifications and organization memberships, served on various health-related committees and made several professional presentations.

The physician assistant program, founded in 1997, currently has 10 faculty members and seven staff. It became a master’s program last year and boasts very high graduation and employment rates for students. Dorris said each of the program’s three phases has an enrollment of 24-25 students. The School of Allied Health in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at SIUC offers the physician assistant program in cooperation with the SIU School of Medicine.

Former director Laurie Dunn-Ryznyk remains in the program as an assistant professor after deciding to focus more on teaching and research.

The search process has begun and the program hopes to have a new permanent director in place by January, Dorris said.