MTSU’s Patterson named Physician Assistant of the ...

MTSU’s Patterson named Physician Assistant of the Year by state organization

Dr. Marie Patterson, the director of MTSU’s Physician Assistant Studies program, has been named the Physician Assistant of the Year by the Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants.

Dr. Marie Patterson, assistant professor, College of Behavioral and Health Sciences and director of Physician's Assistant Program (MTSU photo)
Dr. Marie Patterson

Patterson has worked as both a clinician and an educator and for many years staffed the student health center at MTSU, according to a TAPA announcement.

She moved into academia in 2017 when she helped establish the PA program at Lipscomb University in Nashville and served as both an assistant professor and the admissions director.

In 2020, she was named the program director for MTSU’s new PA program, which welcomed its first class in May. Those who successfully complete the program earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.

“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from my peers,” Patterson said. “I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of the PA profession, including advocacy, education and clinical practice. I try to help whenever I am needed, and I strive to be a good example for the next generation of PAs.”

Patterson, who has a doctorate in health science, has long been involved with TAPA, serving as the TAPA Board secretary from 2005 to 2009 and now as the current TAPA vice president.

She was appointed by the governor to the state Board of PAs in 2018 and is currently the board chair. She also was one of TAPA’s delegates to the AAPA House of Delegates in 2019 and was recently elected to serve again in 2023 and 2024. 

TAPA’s announcement noted that Patterson has taken a particular interest in state compact licensure for PAs and represented the board at the compact licensure meeting with the Federation of State Medical Boards in 2019 and 2021.

College of Graduate Studies logo

She also has been active with her church through mission work and participated in a medical mission trip to Kenya in 2001. She’s a regular fundraiser and team captain for the annual Special Kids Race, all while raising eight children.

“Patterson has been a regular attendee of ‘PA Day on the Hill’ and often goes out of her way to mentor students and attend their meetings with them. She has developed strong relationships with her state legislators which has been beneficial to TAPA’s legislative efforts,” the organization said in the announcement.

For more information about MTSU’s Physician Assistant Studies Program, go to or email

— Jimmy Hart (