In elementary school, Shaun Grammer, D.M.Sc., PA-C’07, would finish his homework and circulate around the classroom to assist other students. He enrolled at Iowa State University with the initial plan of becoming a high school mathematics teacher. He instead changed his major five times, earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and exercise science and then graduated from DMU’s physician assistant program. However, teaching was always in the back of his mind.
The opportunity arose when he was invited to teach night classes at a small college in Cedar Falls, IA. He eventually transitioned to full-time educator at Indiana State University’s physician assistant program.
“I loved it. There was so much energy among the students,” he says. “I enjoy helping them realize their goals and explaining to them complex concepts, so they have those ‘ah-ha’ moments.”
Grammer now is chair of the department of medical sciences, program director in the division of physician assistant education and an associate professor in the College of Allied Health Professions at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). He also is a director at large on the board of the Physician Assistant Education Association, the national organization representing PA educational programs. PAEA provides faculty development, assistance for accredited programs and resources for students.
“I leaned heavily on the association when I was a student,” he says. “It provides so much education and support to programs and faculty. Other professionals in the association help up-and-comers. I felt I wanted to give back, too.”
Before joining UNMC in 2018, Grammer was founding director of the physician assistant studies program at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha. He served as an admissions coordinator for the program as well as an academic coordinator in PA studies at Indiana State University. “I’ve loved all of my teaching jobs,” he says.
He also is proud to be one of several DMU graduates who are PA educators, including classmates Holland Taylor, PA-C’07, now director of the University’s PA program; Angela Grundmeyer, PA-C’07, an assistant professor in the program who was Grammer’s anatomy lab partner; and Cortney Kueter, PA-C’07, a clinician at Grand River Medical Group in Dubuque, IA, and an assistant professor and admission director for the PA program at the University of Dubuque.
“DMU made a big impact on me, and the network of DMU grads is strong,” Grammer says.