Katherine “Katie” Thompson, PA-C, personifies the flexibility and opportunities that the physician assistant (PA) profession offers in clinical, academic and leadership roles. Since graduating from the University of Washington’s Northwest MEDEX PA Program in 2016, she has practiced emergency medicine, trauma, acute surgery, and urgent care. As a former instructor of women’s self-defense and empowerment and later as a forensic examiner, Thompson developed an early interest in helping patients that were victims of interpersonal violence (IPV). As a student, she noticed that the PA curriculum was lacking in IPV instruction and training. When she approached the MEDEX faculty about this, they asked her to prepare and present IPV lectures to current and future students in the program. After helping other PA programs develop holistic and well-rounded IPV curriculums and presenting IPV continuing medical education lectures at American Academy of Physician Assistant (AAPA) meetings, Thompson decided to create her own consulting service, IPV Educators, headquartered in Seattle, WA. IPV Educators’ goal is to empower and educate healthcare workers to provide compassionate, holistic care to survivors of interpersonal violence.
During her formative years, Thompson enjoyed playing a variety of competitive sports. She preferred team sports, which taught her how to work and rely on others to achieve a common goal. Her other passion was theater and the performing arts which she decided to pursue as a career. She attended and received a BA in Theatre Design from Scripps College, Claremont, CA in 2005 and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Design from CalArts, Valencia, CA in 2008. While in college, she took a course in self-defense and empowerment, eventually becoming an instructor and mentor, an activity that she continues to this day. While in graduate school, Thompson became disillusioned about pursuing a career in theater and began thinking about a health-oriented career. She took a course to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and started as a lead assistant instructor at the College of Canyons EMT Program, Santa Clarita, CA in 2008. From 2008 to 2014, she worked as an EMT/Field Training Officer for McCormick Ambulance, Hawthorne, CA. Being an EMT peaked Thompson’s interest in forensic medicine and motivated her to apply to physician assistant programs.
After graduating from the Northwest MEDEX/PA Program in 2016, Thompson spent a year working in emergency medicine at the California Hospital Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA and served as a forensic examiner at the Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Northridge, CA where she interviewed and performed medicolegal examinations for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and human trafficking. She worked with law enforcement, district attorneys, federal attorneys, detectives, and other members of the justice system in preparation for trial and served as an expert witness when asked. The following year, Thompson took a position in trauma and acute care surgery at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, splitting her time working as an emergency room/urgent care PA at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Panorama City, CA. She routinely saw 4-5 patients an hour in this setting. In 2018, she joined the faculty of the Charles R. Drew University Physician Assistant Program, Los Angeles, CA, to help them develop course content that met accreditation standards while working as a forensic examiner at the UCLA Rape Treatment Center, Santa Monica, CA. In 2019, Thompson moved back to Washington state to work in urgent care at Kaiser Permanente, Bellevue, WA, and in trauma and acute surgery for Providence Health, Everett, WA.
Thompson continues to present IPV-related lectures to an array of health professionals at national meetings and clinical ground rounds and has published articles in PA professional journals. Her interests include trying new sports, outdoor activities (long distance running and rowing) and working with homeless and underserved populations, as well as the care of sexual assault survivors.
Acknowledgments: This biography was prepared by Reginald Carter with the assistance of Ms. Thompson and submitted to the Society in June 2022. The photographs are courtesy of Ms. Thompson. Information for this biography was extracted from online biographical information, Ms. Thompson’s 2022 CV and the IVP Educators LLC website.