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Maj. Tim Howerton
Maj. Tim Howerton '09

Commencement Close-up: Maj. Tim Howerton is ready to recruit more physician assistants

By Lynn Gosnell
Special Projects Writer

(May 27, 2009)--Maj. Tim Howerton loves being a physician assistant with the U.S. Air Force. And with the spring 2009 completion of his M.Ed. in educational leadership and policy studies in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, he's ready to bring new recruits into his profession.

Howerton's particular focus in the UTSA program was in higher education administration. Next month, he will join the faculty of the Interservice Physician Assistant Program at Fort Sam Houston. IPAP trains physician assistants from all branches of the uniformed services.

"There are around 140 physician assistant programs in the U.S. and IPAP is consistently ranked in the top 10 each year," Howerton says.

Although he joined the service in 1982, he did not apply to train for working as a physician assistant until 1990.

"I had served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and I was involved in patient care. But I wanted to be more hands-on, so I applied. I just took to it," says the former air commando. From 2000 to 2004, Howerton served as director of medical operations for 16th Special Operations Squadron based at Hurlburt Field in Florida.

Of his time in special ops, Howerton says, "I really miss that, but it's for younger guys."

Before coming to UTSA, Howerton was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base where he was flight commander, the equivalent to chief of family practice in a civilian clinic, for both the Family Practice Clinic and the Women's Health Clinic.

Although an experienced PA, Howerton came to UTSA to learn more about the field of higher education. "Interacting with teachers and administrators opened my eyes to the culture and systems of higher ed," Howerton said. As part of his program, he completed a four-month internship at the University of Texas Health Science at San Antonio. The master's program in higher education administration, which welcomed its first students in 2007, has more than doubled its enrollment in the past two years.

Howerton will begin his new job at Fort Sam Houston in June.

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