Kara L. Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C, assistant program director and associate professor in the Physician Assistant (PA) program in the UTHSC College of Medicine, was recently honored by the Memphis chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women during the group’s President’s Awards Ceremony. She received the organization’s 2019 President’s Award for Excellence in Health.
The organization, which advocates on behalf of black women and girls in the areas of leadership development and around gender equity issues of health, education and economic empowerment, highlighted Caruthers’ role at UTHSC with her program’s community outreach and diversity efforts.
Caruthers has a passion for increasing the representation of students from rural communities and disadvantaged backgrounds in the physician assistant field.
“My passion for recruiting underrepresented students into all graduate health care professions comes from a variety of personal and family experiences,” she said. “While I always had an interest in math, science, and medicine, there were teachers and professors along the way, who were not supportive in my efforts, despite some of my academic achievements. Fortunately, I have been blessed to encounter amazing people along my journey, who served as unofficial mentors, coaches, and champions for my quest to enter the realm of medicine. It is my intention to pay that forward and serve as a champion for other underrepresented students pursuing a health care career.”
Caruthers has been with UTHSC since 2018. She previously worked as an instructor at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and an assistant professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB). While at UAB, she was also the co-program director for an 11-month master’s level program designed to better prepare students seeking entry into graduate health profession programs. She serves on the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) board and participates in Project Access at the American Academy of Physician Assistants and PAEA national meetings.