One of the PA world’s longest-serving and most accomplished educators rode into the Texas sunset last week — toward a well-earned (though at this point, only partial) retirement. On May 25, Gene Jones completed his last day as chair of the Department of PA Studies at the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas PA Program, where he has been program director since 1993 – for more than 24 years – and a full professor since 1999. Jones was honored with professor emeritus status by the university at a retirement ceremony in late May.
At that ceremony, his longtime Associate Director Michel Statler, now director of the Rosalind Franklin University PA Program (and director at large on the PAEA Board), told Jones and assembled colleagues that “We are going to miss you from the bottom of our PAEA hearts, as a program leader, as a mentor, and as a friend. It has truly been a pleasure and an honor.”
Over the years, Jones has served PAEA (and its predecessor, APAP) in roles too numerous to count. He was president in 1999-2000, when he had the chance to welcome PA educators to his home state of Texas for the 1999 Education Forum in Austin. He has been a mainstay of the PA and PA education research communities for more than two decades, publishing dozens of journal articles, posters, and book chapters; and holding several research-related committee roles, including chair of the APAP Research Institute. And he has served on countless Association workgroups and task forces, including most recently the PAEA Accreditation Task Force, which outlined the Association’s vision of an outcomes-based accreditation process earlier this year. He is likely best known for his nearly 10 years’ service as editor in chief of the Journal of Physician Assistant Education, during which time the journal steadily improved in quality to the point that it was awarded MEDLINE Index status in 2011.
“When you threw your hat in the ring to be the journal’s editor in chief, I knew that the journal — having just been brought in-house — would be a success,” said PAEA CEO Timi Agar Barwick in a retirement tribute to Jones. “And when you signed up as a consultant for PAEA two years ago, again I knew that you would bring the highest quality to the service.”
It will not surprise his colleagues to learn that Jones’s retirement will be of the active variety. He will continue to serve PAEA as a principal advisor in its Professional Services consulting service, as well as volunteering at a local VA clinic, and continuing to conduct and publish research. However, he does plan to pursue his fishing hobby (including an upcoming trip to Alaska) and to travel for pleasure more than for work.
“I will miss our outstanding team of dedicated faculty and staff the most because I always enjoyed working with them,” Jones said. “And I’m looking forward to traveling for leisure with my wife and PA school classmate Beth to catch up on missed vacations.”
PAEA extends its very best wishes to Gene for a long, happy, and much deserved retirement.