Heather Bidinger

Heather Bidinger,

Founding Program Director

Education: Master of Medical Science with a certificate in PA Studies from St. Louis University; BA in psychology from the University of St. Thomas.

Previous experience: Physician Assistant in Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Urgent Care; Clinical Coordinator, Augsburg College PA program

Directed from childhood: "I was interested in medicine at an early age; I wanted to care for people and enjoyed the mystery of how the body and mind worked. I learned of the PA profession in my junior year of college. Being a PA has allowed me to care for patients, work in multiple specialties, maintain life-work balance and practice the art of medicine."

Merging interests: "I've enjoyed teaching, too. While growing up, I coached and taught swimming. In PA education, I've taught ethics and legal medicine, as well as some areas of orthopedics, women's health, pediatrics and professional issues."

On starting a new program: "It is an exciting opportunity. My goal has been to create a quality program that reflects the values and traditions of St. Kate's; one in which students, employers and patients recognize St. Kate's PA graduates as highly competent and compassionate — and I love a challenge."

Why St. Kate's suits her: "I feel very at home at St. Kate's. I appreciate the Catholic heritage of the University, an intention of incorporating the liberal arts and the support and collaborative opportunities that exist within the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health. It is a great place to build a PA Program, as well as teach and mentor the next generation of PA students."

Medicine and the liberal arts: "When students learn with a liberal arts influence, they can see the world in new ways, more broadly. PA education isn't just about learning medicine and making the right diagnosis. It's also about communicating well, learning to lead and growing as a professional."

Striking a balance: "My life is enjoyably full and I try to achieve a balance. My husband and I have four children; the youngest joined our family this spring. I continue to practice part time at Renville County Hospital and Clinics, and when time allows, I participate in the legislative and professional practice activities of the Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants.

Hobbies: "As a family we like to hike and garden. I enjoy cooking, playing the piano and spending my time with growing and busy kids."