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Texas Children’s pediatric surgery PA fellows reflect on unique program

Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship | Texas Children's Hospital
Images courtesy of Allen Kramer

Why did you choose Texas Children's Pediatric Surgery Fellowship for Physician Assistants?

My love for pediatrics commenced with my very first clinical rotation while in PA school at Baylor College of Medicine, and was matched only by the excitement I experienced while doing my Emergency Medicine and Surgery rotations. This fellowship was the perfect conduit with which to amalgamate these passions, offering the ability to work with a pediatric population in high-acuity care settings. I have already learned so much more than I had previously imagined about both pediatrics and surgery, and have been awed at the clinical and surgical experiences I have witnessed and participated in. I’m confident the fellowship is making me a more competent provider in a field I love, and I’m ecstatic to put these lessons and skills to use throughout my career.

-- Scott Braddock, MSPAS, PA-C, Baylor College of Medicine

My interest in pediatric medicine came early, after my baby brother had a major cranial deformity surgically corrected. I was fascinated, not only by the magnitude of the surgery, but also by how such a big team was able to work together to help treat him.  Throughout PA school rotations I tried to remain open-minded to all medical specialties, but I landed at WakeMed Hospital in Pediatric Surgery for my last elective rotation and immediately knew this was my niche in medicine. I have such a passion for this patient population, for their families, and for the teams and procedures that are able to help them. Texas Children’s Hospital provides the only fellowship in the nation for the advancement of physician assistants in pediatric surgery. We are able to further develop our skills in preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative patient management. We work with physicians who are leaders in their respective fields, and we are able to glean experience in multiple subspecialties. This fellowship will be the foundation upon which we build our practice, and I’m honored I was selected to participate in such a fantastic opportunity. Our kids are full of hope and resilience, and they inspire me daily.

-- Kelby Fuller, MPAP, PA-C, Campbell University

While completing PA school at Mississippi College in Clinton, MS, I started my clinical rotations at the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital (Blair E. Batson). From day one, I enjoyed the patient population as well as the diversity of problems that working in pediatrics presents. In pediatrics, you are not only caring for the needs of children but also the needs of parents, guardians and the relatives that will resume the care we provide at home. In PA school, we are educated in Pediatrics and Surgery, but do not always have the opportunity to learn or become more experienced in the complex subspecialties that make up Pediatric Surgery. I wanted to complete an extra year of training in hopes to develop a stronger foundation of knowledge that will carry over into future practice for years to come. Texas Children’s also provides the opportunity to care for complex patients that providers at other institutions may not treat. This fellowship allows me to learn from some of the greatest doctors and APPs in the country as they care for these extra special and unique kids. Lastly, coming from a state in which the physician assistant profession is fairly new (2001), it’s encouraging and exciting to be a part of a medical community that utilizes and respects the care APPs provide. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity.

-- Bryan Nathan Harrell, MSM, PA-C, Mississippi College

Before starting my PA program, I knew I had a passion for both working with children as well as in surgery. This fellowship offered me the rare opportunity to gain additional experience working with the pediatric patient population in a high-acuity setting. I am grateful for the exposure fellows get to experience a wide variety of surgical subspecialties while working alongside those who are innovators in their chosen profession. I have been able to gain confidence as a provider, as well as the chance to explore what specialties and team dynamics fit me best. I’ve had opportunities I never would’ve imagined if I had taken a job after graduation. I hope that in furthering my education, I can ultimately give back to this patient population I care so deeply for. Every day at Texas Children’s, I am reminded why I chose to work in pediatric surgery.

-- Ashley Shaw, MPAS, PA-C, Loma Linda University

While attending Baylor College of Medicine’s PA program here in the Texas Medical Center, I had the opportunity to rotate through Texas Children’s Hospital for some of my clinical rotations. I was able to see first-hand the kind of amazing things that happen here. The providers are world-class and the patient population is very diverse. I always had my heart set on going into surgery, but Texas Children’s helped me discover my passion to work with children. Once I learned about this fellowship, I knew I would not have to choose between one or the other, but would be able to pursue both fields in this unique program. Getting to work at one of the greatest children’s hospitals in the world is truly humbling, but it’s the patients and families I get to help who make me grateful I chose the fellowship.

-- Bryan Stoker, MSPAS, PA-C, Baylor College of Medicine

Throughout my life, I have always had a passion for working in pediatrics. During my time in PA school at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, I also found I liked performing procedures both in the operating room and at the bedside. After graduation from PA school, I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a PA in adult cardiology in the Northeast, but during that time I missed working in pediatrics. When I received the call that I was accepted into this fellowship program at Texas Children’s Hospital, I knew it would allow me to combine both my passion for pediatrics with my excitement for surgery, all while learning from the top physicians in each field. I also love working with our pediatric patients each day, as their strength and resilience are truly empowering and make me aspire to be a better PA! In doing the fellowship, I am given the opportunity to grow and learn as a PA, as well as become the pediatric practitioner I’ve always wanted to be.

-- Jessica Zink, MSPAS, PA-C, Rochester Institute of Technology

Program overview

  • First fellowship of its kind in the United States
  • Commenced in 2014
  • Pictured is our 5th fellowship class
  • This is a tremendous opportunity to work with renowned surgeons and medical providers, and to further develop clinical skills

Program objectives

  • Acquire knowledge of all pediatric subspecialties within Texas Children’s Hospital, to allow for diagnosis, treatment and management of the pediatric population
  • Develop baseline understanding of potential complications related to the diagnosis and treatment of specific surgical diagnoses
  • Develop skills in performing invasive procedures
  • Experience the PA collaborative role among MDs and PAs
  • Provide fundamental knowledge on the PA First Assist role within the operating room
  • Develop and implement original research projects with expert guidance from a leading medical research institution

Clinical rotations

The program consists of rotations that can be completed in the following areas:

  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Trauma Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Surgical Hospitalist
  • Congenital Heart Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Urology
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
  • Oncology/Hematology
  • Interventional Radiology
  • Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology

Interview snapshot

Projected start date: January 2019

To be eligible for an interview, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be anticipating graduation from an accredited PA program in 2018
  • Passed or eligible to sit for the PANCE
  • Masters of Physician Assistant studies
  • Possess desire to learn, be self-motivated
  • Completed application includes: CV, personal statement and professional letters of recommendation


Larry Hollier, MD, Chief of Surgery

Ryan Krasnosky, PA-C, Program Director

Kris Marsack, PA-C, Academics Director

Jackie Broda, PA-C, Fellowship Program Clinical Lead

Jordan Rodriguez, Project Manager

If you're interested in learning about Texas Children's Pediatric Surgery Physician Assistant Fellowship, click here