Welcoming the first Pediatric Orthopedic Physician Assistant Fellows
For the past three years, Texas Children’s Hospital has invested in the training of physician assistants (PAs) through our Pediatric Surgery Fellowship. The success of the program has paved the way for the development of a new fellowship, one focused solely in the field of pediatric orthopedics. In January we launched our first Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery PA Fellowship with two fellows from across the world. Megan Lomax (Arkansas) joins the fellowship from Mississippi College and Darius Dranginis (Lithuania) completed his training at UT Health Science Center. The fellowship program includes 12 months of clinical pediatric orthopedic surgical experience with designated time for research. The fellows will complete rotations in the following subspecialties: hip, lower extremity deformity, oncology/tumor, spine/scoliosis, sports medicine, trauma and upper extremity.
“Early in my PA training I knew I had a passion for kids. During PA school, I focused the majority of my elective clinical rotations on surgical specialties. Eight of those weeks were spent on the pediatric orthopedic surgery service at Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. During this rotation, I was able to experience the positive and life-changing impact orthopedic surgery can have on the pediatric population. As I began searching for post-graduate opportunities, I discovered the pediatric orthopedic surgery fellowship at Texas Children’s. As a former patient and recipient of two corrective eye surgeries, Texas Children’s has been a special place to me for many years. I was ecstatic to learn about the fellowship, and knew I had to apply. For me, doing the fellowship was an opportunity of a lifetime. Not only would I get to train under some of the most innovative and revolutionary surgeons in their respective subspecialties within the orthopedic department, but I would also get to give back to patients at a place that gave so much to me. My first two months at Texas Children’s has been incredible. As a PA, I feel valued in my professional career. There are endless opportunities for me to learn and grow in my profession.”
“My interest in medicine came when I got my hands on the anatomy atlas way back when I was still a school student in Lithuania. Exploring the world through military service afforded me the life experiences I believe were essential before becoming a PA. In short, there are very few of us who find what they want to do early on, but for most of us it’s a search. My interest in orthopedics came from my surgery rotation in PA school and my own experience as an orthopedic patient. Back in Lithuania I played basketball and injured my ankles multiple times. It’s very gratifying to treat children simply because children are the future. I chose the pediatric orthopedic surgery fellowship because it’s a unique opportunity to gain very specialized knowledge, experiences and develop a unique set of skills. After graduating, I feel I will gain credentials that otherwise would be very difficult to obtain through other means. There is more and more asked of PAs, therefore I believe additional training is essential, especially for subspecialties like this. Being a part of the inaugural class is something very special to me. Megan and I are the first fellows to experience highly-specialized training from the very best. We are pioneers. We are learning from top experts in their fields. I am very honored to be in a program that so far exceeded my expectations. I believe this program will gain national recognition and will be very successful in the future.”