Karen Mulitalo is a native of Utah and attended the University of Utah where she earned a bachelors degree in biology and attended the Utah Physician Assistant program for her PA education. Her clinical career centered around primary care in underserved communities and included care for adjudicated adolescence, becoming the primary care provider for children in foster care, psychiatric care through the Dallas City School District, and providing healthcare services and outreach to Pacific Islander populations in Dallas, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Ms. Mulitalo has worked with many professional organizations and committees. She has served on the Utah Governor’s Advisory Council on Ethnic Health and the Utah Department of Child and Family Services Health Care Advisory Team. In 1997, Ms. Mulitalo joined the faculty at the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program and became Chair of the PAEA (formally APAP) Committee on Ethnic and Cultural Diversity (2000-2007) and served on the AAPA Committee on Diversity (2000-2003). She became a member of the Pi Alpha Honor Society in in 2007.
In 2006, Ms. Mulitalo was recruited to develop Australia’s first Physician Assistant education program at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. She worked with Queensland Health to develop and adapt a PA training program to meet the needs of the Australian healthcare system. This program accepted the first cohort of students in 2009 and graduated the first class of Australian PAs in June of 2011. Mulitalo then served as a director at large for the International Association of Physician Associate Educators to assist inaugural training programs in countries or areas interested in implementing PAs in to the workforce.
Ms. Mulitalo is currently the the interim division chief and program director at the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program. Her interest continues to be increasing minority recruitment to the profession as well as access to health care through the development of the profession in the Pacific region. She serves on the CGNFS International Physician Assistant Committee and is feature editor for Cultural Perspectives for the Journal of Physician Assistant Education. In 2012, she joined the Physician Assistant History Society as a Board Trustee. She served as president of the PA History Society. She also serves on the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition advocating for policy and services that will increase access to health care for Utah’s minority and underserved populations.
Acknowledgments: This biography was written by Karen Mulitalo and submitted to the Society on May 18, 2015. The photographs are provided by Ms. Mulitalo.