Texas Children’s Hospital has established a new, first-of-its-kind Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship program. The inaugural class of four physician assistants – Lesley Davies, Jackie Guarino, Caitlin Justus and Cassie Mueller – officially started their fellowship on January 20.
The fellowship is a 12-month didactic and clinical program designed to extensively train physician assistants to become leaders in all areas of pediatric surgery.
The fellows’ two-week orientation period has featured training sessions, discussions about patient satisfaction, quality outcomes, research and child abuse awareness and special meetings with Mark A. Wallace, president and CEO, Charles D. Fraser, surgeon-in-chief, and the surgical faculty, among others.
On February 3, the fellows started their month-long rotations through each of the full spectrum of pediatric surgical subspecialties including: cardiovascular surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, general surgery, urology, otolaryngology, plastic and craniofacial surgery, as well as trauma services. After completing nine rotations, the fellows will have the opportunity to select the one area they want to focus on and will receive two additional months of training in that field.
In addition, the fellows will complete one month of research and participate in multiple community outreach projects, including career fairs at schools, wellness fairs and community service programs, such as Habitat for Humanity.
Leading the program is Dr. Larry Hollier, chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital and medical director of the fellowship program, Ryan Krasnosky, program director, and Brenda J. Davis, fellowship coordinator.
Lesley Warriner Davies, MPAS, PA-C:
Lesley is excited to be team leader of the first class of Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship program. She received her B.F.A in Ballet Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma in 2006 and danced professionally in Dallas and Austin. She then obtained her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 2013. Lesley is from the Houston area and currently lives in Dickinson with her husband where they enjoy cycling and spending time with family and friends. She is a member of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Jackie Guarino, MPAS, PA-C:
Jackie is a fourth generation Houstonian and a 2009 Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Houston. She completed her B.S. in Allied Health in three years and obtained her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in 2013. During her clinical years at BCM, Jackie rotated through Texas Children’s Hospital in General Surgery and GI/Liver service and is excited to be back as a member of the first class of the Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship program. Jackie currently resides in Houston and enjoys spending time with her large family and friends and her chocolate and yellow lab dogs, cooking, Crossfit and volunteering.
Caitlin Justus, MPAS, PA-C:
Caitlin graduated from Texas A&M University at College Station in 2011 with a B.S. in Allied Health, graduating cum laude. She received her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 2013. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants. Caitlin currently resides in West Houston with her husband and enjoys activities with her church, exercising, reading and serving others. She is a proud member of the first class of the Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship program and looks forward to an exciting year ahead.
Cassandra Mueller, MPAS, PA-C:
Cassie is originally from Andover, Minnesota, and received her B.A. in physiology from the University of Minnesota in 2010. Cassie graduated from the Interservice Physician Assistant Program of Fort Sam Houston in 2013 (the U.S. Military’s Physician Assistant Program). She continues to serve in the Minnesota National Guard as a physician assistant and enjoys running marathons. She is excited about the opportunity to be in the first Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship program and looks forward to becoming a Texan.