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CHA/PA Students and Faculty Honors, Recognition and Scholarships


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Alumni Reception at the Wynkoop

October 2014- Almost two hundred alumni, their guests, and current students gathered for a reception on October 11th at the Wynkoop in downtown Denver.  This reception gave alumni and students the opportunity to network as well as celebrate the launching of the CHA/PA Alumni Association.  The CHA/PA Alumni Association will focus its attention on engaging and supporting alumni.  Next year's reception is scheduled for October 10, 2015 - so mark your calendars! Interested in partipating in the Alumni Association?  Contact Jonathan Bowser at

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AAPA Photo Challenge
October 2014 - The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) held its first-ever PA Week Photo Challenge in October. CHA/PA students received a runner up position as the sweetest photo.


AHEC Scholarship Recipients

October 2014 - Keli Sherman & Scott Krankkala were selected as this year's Health Professions Scholars through Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC).

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PAEA National Conference

Several CHA/PA faculty members presented at the Physician Assistant Education Association’s (PAEA) annual conference held in Philadelphia in October:

• "Providing Formative Feedback: Trials and Tribulations"-Cathy Ruff & David Eckhardt, CHA/PA
• "Introducing the PAEA Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest"-Gino Gianola, Univ of WA; Joyce Nieman, CHA/PA
• "Developing Script Concordance Items for Clinical Reasoning Assessment"-Rebecca Maldonado & Kevin Bogart, CHA/PA
• "Developing Functional Proficiency in Medical Spanish: Creating a Longitudinal Curriculum?"-David Eckhardt & Claudia Luna-Asturias, CHA/PA
• Basic Clinical Coordinators Workshop - Joyce Nieman, CHA/PA
• Enhanced Clinical Coordinators Workshop - Jacqueline Sivahop, CHA/PA


Poster Presentation

October 2014 - Faculty member Jacqueline Sivahop presented a poster at the 14th International Conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome entitled "Using a Train-the-Trainer Model for Physician Assistant Students to Provide Community Education on a State-Wide Education Outreach Campaign on the Prevention of Abusive Head Trauma".

UPCOMING EVENT – Graduates, please join us for an Alumni Reception at the Wynkoop in Denver on October 11th at 5:30pm.  Don't miss this terrific opportunity to network with current CHA/PA students and alumni, reconnect with friends, and learn the latest about the Child Health Association/Physician Assistant Program at CU. The evening will feature a brief program, fun giveaways, and great company. Cash bar provided.  Click HERE to register or call 303.724.2518 to register by phone.

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New Medical Director Announced

The CHA/PA program is excited to announce that Dr. Tai Lockspeiser has been named the new CHA/PA Medical Director.  The prior Medical Director, Dr. Celia Kaye, retired in May 2013 after serving in this leadership role for six years.  Dr. Lockspeiser attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco.  She joined the University of Colorado Denver faculty as an Assistant Professor in pediatrics four years ago.  As a general pediatrician, she works mostly in the Child Health Clinic at Children's Hospital Colorado supervising medical students and residents.  She is also the Director of Electives for the School of Medicine and the Co-Director for the pediatric residency career focused experiences. 
Much of Dr. Lockspeiser’s educational scholarship has been concentrated on the use of learning goals in medical education.  She has won several awards for her educational research including the AAMC RIME best paper award for her paper on the creation of a learning goal scoring rubric.  Additionally, she recently completed a master’s degree in health professions education from the University of Illinois, Chicago to further strengthen her educational skills.
Outside of medicine, Dr. Lockspeiser loves reading, the outdoors, road biking, and photography.

CHA/PA Graduate Awarded PA of the Year​

May 2014- CHA/PA Graduate and former CHA/PA Faculty Member Sandy Hoops was awarded this year's PA of the Year by the Colorado Academy of Physician Assistants.

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Student Awarded Air Force PA and Veterans Caucus Scholarship

CHA/PA student Geoff Slater, Class of 2015, received the Society of Air Force Physician Assistants and Veterans Caucus scholarship.  The scholarship honors veteran Physician Assistant students who served with distinction in the United States Air Force. 

CHA/PA Faculty Present Poster at President's Teaching and Learning Collaborative

Faculty Members Darcy Solanyk and Cathy Ruff presented their poster “Development of a Valid and Reliable Evidence-Based Practice Curriculum Assessment Tool” at the President's Teaching and Learning Collaborative in May.

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CHA/PA's 1000th Graduate

May 2014-The CHA/PA program graduated its first class in 1972 with nine graduates. Over our 45 years of educating PA students, we have grown and expanded in many ways, including the move to the medical campus in Aurora in 2003, the addition of curricular options with the program tracks, and the size of the class itself accommodating 44 students per class. This year we reached a major milestone in graduating our 43rd class with our 1000th graduate!

michael.jpgDr. Michael Hall Wins CU Teaching Award
April 2014 -  We would like to congratulate faculty member Dr. Michael Hall on being awarded the University of Colorado Chancels Teaching Recognition Award.  This award is one of the highest honors given to teaching faculty at the University.  Dr. Hall received his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 1987.  While pursuing his doctorate, he began lecturing for the CHA/PA program as a guest speaker and ultimately joined the CHA/PA faculty in 1989.  Dr. Hall has taught CHA/PA’s first-year biochemistry and physiology curriculum for over twenty-five years and has influenced the lives of hundreds of PA students.  Congrats!

AHEC Scholarship Recipients

March 2014 - The Central Colorado Area Health Education Center awarded Maria Kallman, Class of 2015, and Sandra Benitez Kruidenier, Class of 2016, with the CO Health Professions Scholarship.  This scholarship recognizes outstanding graduate level students enrolled in health professions who will ultimately practice in rural or underserved communities in Colorado.  Faculty Member Joyce Nieman presented Maria and Sandra with their awards at the banquet on March 29th. 

SAAAPA Oral Health Champions

March 2014 - SAAAPA (Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants) recognizes students from various PA programs nationwide that demonstrate exemplary dedication to oral health in PA education.  The goal is to educate PAs about the importance of good oral health and the systemic implications of oral disease.  In partnership with the nccPA Health Foundation, SAAAPA has recognized two CHA/PA students as this year’s Oral Health Champions: Ryan Miller and Anne Dederer.


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CAPA Scholarship Recipient
February 2014 - The Colorado Academy of Physician Assistants (CAPA) awards a scholarship annually to a PA student from the CHA/PA or Red Rocks PA program. The scholarship recipient is chosen based on service to the PA profession and community, potential for future leadership, and scholastic achievement. Patrick Machacek is this year's recipient.  He is the CHA/PA student representative to CAPA for the Class of 2015. He has had exposure to the legislative process at a state and national level, where he learned about the importance of lobbying.  Lobbying plays an essential role in maintaining PA's current scope of practice as well as expanding the profession in hopes of bringing better medical care to patients. Patrick is grateful for this scholarship, and notes, "My involvement with CAPA has definitely laid the foundation for me to continue to work with state and national level PA organizations as a student and throughout my career."

Group with Emmy (036).jpgFaculty Member’s Workgroup Wins Emmy

November 2013 - Faculty Member Jacqueline Sivahop is a member of the Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Workgroup at Children’s Hospital Colorado, who was recently awarded with a Heartland Emmy for their Calm a Crying Baby Campaign.  This campaign has been successfully implemented in collaboration with 9News and Kohl’s.  Kohl’s presented a check for $282,000 to continue to fund the Calm a Crying Baby Campaign at a ceremony at Children’s Hospital Colorado on November 12th. 

​Jonathan Bowser Joins PAEA's Board of Directors

October 2013 - CHA/PA Program Director Jonathan Bowser has been appointed to the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Board of Directors as one of four Directors at Large.  His role includes the administration of the Association's financial affairs, the appointment of standing and ad hoc committees, and the management of all Association business.

​Students' Paper Profiled in Denver Post

October 2013 - Geoff Slater, Class of 2015, and Sarah Tietz, Class of 2016 CU Medical Student, authored a paper entitled "Capacity and Access - Care in Colorado During Health Reform" as part of the LEADS track at CU. The Idea Log at the Denver Post profiled their ideas as guest commentators.

Associate Director of Clinical Curriculum Appointed

September 2013 - Faculty member Rebecca Maldonado was recently appointed as the Associate Director of Clinical Curriculum.  In this position, Rebecca serves as the leader of the clinical team and will focus her attention on continued refinement of the clinical education process at CHA/PA.  "I am honored to serve as the Associate Director of Clinical Curriculum.  The CHA/PA students, and the patients we are training them to serve, are the program's largest stakeholders.  I am excited to work with a great group of faculty and staff who are dedicated to developing and maintaining effective clinical learning opportunities for our students."

Faculty Member Jacqueline Sivahop Publishes Article in the Journal of PA Education

September 2013 - The Journal of Physician Assistant Education published the article "To Teach or Not to Teach: 2011 National Survey of Physician Assistants and Preceptor Experiences", in which CHA/PA faculty member Jacqueline Sivahop was an author. This article was based on a national survey of PAs and their responses to the incentives and barriers to precepting PA students. This survey resulted in the AAPA granting the ability for PA preceptors to earn Category 1 CME credit.

Faculty Member Joyce Nieman Joins the PAEA Ethics Committee

September 2013 - Joyce Nieman, a CHA/PA faculty member, was elected into the PAEA Ethics Committee for a three year term. This Committee promotes and advances PAEA Best Practices for organizational and professional ethics through the education of members and member institutions.