MEDEX Northwest ClassNotes

Please note: all classnotes submitted prior to March 2020 are indicated with an asterisk (*). Any views expressed are those of the submitter and not of the UW School of Medicine.


*Charles Hall, PA-C (Seattle Class 4), writes, “I had a grand time in the MEDEX Program , felt that I helped move the ‘needle’ to help the cause. Have missed many that I knew along the way — would love to hear from those I knew or knew me.”

*Ruth A. Ballweg, PA-C (Seattle Class 11), former Director of the MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Program for 29 years, is working to develop the PA career as Director of International Affairs for the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Her most recent contacts and travel include India, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.


Digby Kirby, PA-C (Seattle 24) HeadshotDigby Kirby, PA-C (Seattle Class 24), writes, “I am still very close to my best friend from MEDEX, Patrick Davidson, who works in the Spokane VA. I am retired after a very fulfilling career as an emergency medicine PA. I recently reconnected with my PA preceptor at Medex, Vee Yoong, and his wife Maureen. Vee is currently practicing in Washington.”


Susan Terran, PA-C (Seattle Class 27)
, writes, “For 48 years now, still working full-time at a remote rural FQCHC, the only provider who sees prenatals and infants but have birth to age 104 patients. I am both a “COVID vulnerable” person at age 72 and an essential healthcare provider, wearing mask and gear all day, worried every night. Sticking with it until our county levels rise to my defining level of risk. (Don’t know yet what that is.) Doing virtual visits when I can, but many patients need hands-on care. Yes, our lives are different now. I think of you all often; ‘Stay safe’ is the new wish for everyone.”

Elizabeth Lykins, PA-C, Headshot with mask onElizabeth Lykins, PA-C (Seattle Class 28), writes, “I have spent most of my career working in emergency medicine, but I am currently working in an urgent care setting in the Santa Cruz, California, area. We are rotating working in our outdoor respiratory clinics treating patients with symptoms of COVID-19 and working indoors with patients who have a negative screen for COVID-19.

I am also the CEO/publisher of “Magnificent Metamorphosis Magazine – Inspiration for Positive Change.” This quarterly magazine offers positive messaging by contributors who are experts in their various disciplines. TYou can visit to learn more about what I am doing. I am always looking for contributors.

Realizing that there is a significant connection between mental well-being and physical health, I have also written an inspirational art book, “Reflections on Transcendence (Everything You Have Been Searching For Is Already Inside of You),” that will be in bookstores by the end of the year. The artwork is provided by world-renowned expressionist artist Steve Lyons, with short chapters with quotes by well-known philosophers and my brief reflections on them. The goal of the book is to direct the reader inward, where they can discover all the resilience they need to get through life, especially during these difficult times.

In my spare time, I enjoy the beauty of the central California coast and the Bay Area with my teenage daughter. Even though many group activities are not possible during the pandemic, I continue to participate in karate via Zoom sessions (I will soon be a brown belt) and regularly play a variety of musical instruments in my home for relaxation.”

*Tracey Lee Smith, PA-C (Seattle Class 32), writes, “I opened Progressive Pain Partners as a new pain practice February 4, 2019. We focus on holistic pain management using standard of care modalities.”

*Hector Camacho, PA-C (Seattle Class 33), writes, “Many years are passing by but the memories of that wonderful stage of my life at the UW, Seattle and my MEDEX fellows, never will.”

Hector Gutierrez, PA-C, in scrubsHector Gutierrez, PA-C (Seattle Part Time Class 3), writes “On the front lines in emergency medicine, miss all of you and stay safe!”


*Theresa Schimmels, PA-C (Spokane Class 1), writes, “It’s been 20 years since MEDEX Northwest moved to Spokane to offer Physician Assistant training. That means we are having our 20th class reunion this year! We are looking for Spokane Class 1 classmates to join us the weekend of August 17 for a no-host get together. Please contact me at for more information. It’ll be a fun time!

I’m still glad I went back to school to become a PA. I’d do it all over again in a minute! I’m working at the Mann-Grandstaff VAMC in Spokane as a dermatology PA, going on my second year. After 20 years in practice (4 in family practice, 16 in dermatology) I’m loving being back with Veterans! In my personal life, my daughter and her husband and their two children live just minutes from me in Spokane Valley. Being a grandparent is one of the best things ever! I keep busy with work, my two blue heelers/heeler mixes, continue to travel, kayak, spend time with friends and family, and learn new crafting skills either for my yard, garden, crocheting, embroidery, or just sitting back with a good book and a glass of good beer or wine.

I will not make it to the MEDEX 50th, unfortunately. I hope every has a great time. Congratulation MEDEX Northwest and UW on your 50th Anniversary. Cheers to 50 more!”

*Christina Rust, PA-C (Spokane Class 18), was featured in a Ruralife cover story on February 25, 2019.


*Major Daniel Hankes, PA-C (Yakima Class 7), writes, “After spending the last 20 months as the Division PA of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), I am now the Chief of Soldier Health Services for Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. I’m back to seeing more patients — which means I’m loving the new job! This article describes a nice encounter I had with NFL Titans quarterback, Marcus Mariota —which also references my beloved alma mater!”

Barbara H. Burrowes*Barbara H. Burrowes, PA-C (Yakima Class 8), writes, “This October, I will have worked for Denver Health for 10 years, all of them for their school-based health clinic program. The idea is to bring care to where the kids are, so they miss minimal school while addressing healthcare needs. Because we have multiple payor funding, we can provide services to all comers, including the uninsured, at no cost to them. It has been a good fit for me, and I feel like I am making a difference in my community.”

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