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2024 Faculty Recognition

    Jennifer M. Coombs, PhD, PA-C, MPASJanuary

    Dr. Jennifer Coombs has been with DFPM for over 30 years, joining the department in 1993 as a staff clinical associate for the Physician Assistant Studies program, getting multiple degrees and advancing to her current rank of professor in 2022. Coombs received a BA from Colorado College in psychology and became a Licensed Midwife (LM) in New Mexico. She graduated from the DFPM’s Physician Assistant Program (UPAP) in 1991, obtained her Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) in 2001, and received her PhD from DFPM’s Public Health program in 2011.

    As the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Coombs supervises community-based Master's projects. During her tenure, she conceptualized and executed the transition from individual Master's papers to collaborative group projects, resulting in numerous awards and publications. Dr. Coombs served on the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine Alumni Board for seven years, and has acted as the chair of the communication committee responsible for the Utah Med publication. She is actively engaged in clinical community service, working alongside PA students in running Migrant Farm Pediatric physicals for over 20 years, contributing to the Salt Lake Community Action Program, volunteering at the Student Run Free Clinic, the Peoples Clinic, and more recently, supporting the local Special Olympics.

    Dr. Coombs is involved with the PA profession nationally, serving on committees and contributing to several PA-related blogs. She was an Academy of Health Science Fellow for six years and was the Chair of the Symposium in 2022. Dr. Coombs’ research interests include rural and underserved health care in Utah and across the world, dedicating 14 years to working in Family Medicine at Madsen Health Center and the Community Health Center. Internationally, she’s involved in medical outreach to India, Papua New Guinea, Nepal and Guatemala. Dr. Coombs led the international rotation to a small community on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala for 11 years. Dr. Coombs has practiced as a Physician Assistant in family practice at Northwest Community Health Centers for over 14 years with an emphasis on serving Vietnamese and Laotian Refugees. She received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Utah Academy of Physician Assistants in 1992 and 2006.

    We are grateful for Dr. Coombs’ many contributions to our department and are glad to highlight her as an exceptional faculty member in the month of December.