Col. Terry Mathews, PA-C
Colonel Terry Mathews, PA-C serves as chief PA consultant to the United States Air Force Surgeon General. In this role, he works with Air Force PAs at every point in their careers, from the time of their application to become an Air Force PA through their assignments, separations and retirements.
Col. Mathews is responsible for the Air Force portion of an $18 million joint graduate medical education program (through the Interservice PA Program, or IPAP), which trains 240 students annually. He is also the head of the board that’s in charge of selecting applicants to become PAs in the Air Force.
Col. Mathews selects the Air Force’s clinical and specialty program directors, working with them to assign PAs to the specialties in which they’ll be most effective, channeling them into 12- and 18-month certificate and doctoral training programs for Air Force PAs in specialties such as otorhinolaryngology, emergency medicine, general surgery and orthopaedic surgery.
He oversees the design of the Comprehensive Medical Readiness Program for Air Force PAs, which they must complete before they can deploy for wartime missions. The program teaches a series of skills they need to have to be deployed; advanced trauma skills, including Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS); and whatever specialized training they need for their assigned mission.
Once out of training, Col. Mathews assists with rotations of assignments and stations PAs, depending on the need, across the 78 Air Force clinics and hospitals around the world. When PAs are needed in a wartime area, he evaluates all the Air Force bases to see which ones have the PAs with experience to meet that need.
In 2016, Col. Mathews was put in charge of the PA refresher course providing essential trauma skills training for wartime readiness and providing continuing medical education (CME) for the attendees. Over 220 PAs in the armed forces attended the most recent meeting.
It’s important to Col. Mathews that PAs in the Air Force receive a top education, are clinically competent and fully qualified to serve their country whenever they’re needed. “It’s difficult sometimes, but it’s our duty to support the Air Force mission and care for the 1.2 million beneficiaries, including active duty, retirees, and family members,” he says.
“Terry Mathews has been a lifelong leader, compassionate medical provider, and well respected colleague,” said Timothy J. Bonjour, Lt. Col., USAF, BSC, DSc, PA-C. “In the U.S. military, with budgetary constraints and worldwide stressors, Terry has a very positive and optimistic view that empowers colleagues and represents the PA profession in a fantastic manner. We as an organization are proud to recognize him because he is truly making a difference.
Col. Mathews says that becoming a PA “was the best career move” he ever made, and he loves the “variability of the job from day to day.”