PA Spotlight – Ken Harbert, PhD, MCHES, MHA, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA

PA Spotlight – Ken Harbert, PhD, MCHES, MHA, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA

This year, in celebration of our PA professions 50th anniversary, Certified Medical Educators would like to honor 50 exceptional PAs for their professional accomplishments, passion, and dedication. It is with great excitement that we spotlight Ken Harbert, PhD, MCHES, MHA, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA

Ken Harbert, PhD, MHA, PA-C

Kenneth Harbert, PhD, MCHES, MHA, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA

Dr. Kenneth Harbert is a respected clinician, medical educator and administrator who, over a span of 35 years, helped establish eight physician assistant programs in the USA and assisted Drs. Bart van Bergen and Fons Wierink to adapt and develop the physician assistant profession in the Netherlands. Clinically, Harbert has worked in a variety of specialties and settings. As a clinical administrator at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA, Harbert helped develop some of the first guidelines for the use of physician assistants in hospitals.


Birthplace: McKeesport, PA

PA Program graduated from: State University of New York Stony Brook Physician Assistant program 

Favorite Sports Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Mentors who had an influence on you: “Steve Turnispeed, he was my advisor in PA school. Also I would like to recognize the person who taught me the most about being a PA, Dr. Richard Smith. Dr. Smith taught me about the true nature of what a PA does and how it functions. He also encouraged me to come into academics and focus on teaching others”

Interesting fact: “I am as interested in sailing as I am in medicine. One of the farthest places I have sailed to was the British Virgin Islands for my honeymoon”
Book you’d recommend PA students to read: How Doctor’s Think – Jerome Groopman, MD

PA Interview Questions:

What are you most proud of from you career: “The two things I am most proud of in 40 yrs of being a PA is assisting the development of the PA profession in the Netherlands and assisting veterans to enter the PA profession in the United States. I feel that both of these issues allowed me to “Pay it Forward” which we should all do”

What advice would you give current PA students: “Never give up in learning, learn as much as you can about medicine because its always changing, and fight every day for our profession”

Where do you see our PA profession in another 50 years: “I would like to see us, go back to the future and come up with a name that doesn’t have assistant in and be independent practitioners”

Certified Medical Educators salutes Dr. Harbert for being an incredible leader, teacher, and PA.


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