Meet Jordan Williams

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2024

Jordan Williams and his wife, Megan, in front of a mountainside lake view

Tell us a little bit about where you're from.

Growing up in the Texas Panhandle was a very unique experience. The red dirt environment, tumbleweeds, and 70 mile per hour winds were considered normal, and I didn’t think twice about them until I moved away after college. Since then, I’ve lived in Arkansas, Kansas City, and now Iowa. I have loved each one in their own unique way, but the Panhandle still holds a place in my heart. I’ll never forget hiking the Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro Canyon, watching my friends attempt to eat a 72 oz. steak, and spray-painting Cadillacs that are buried headfirst in the ground.

How did you decide to pursue a career as a physician assistant/associate?

Before I began physician assistant (PA) school, I worked as a certified athletic trainer (ATC). I began my career as an intern with the Seattle Seahawks and with the Texas Tech track and field team. My work as an ATC allowed me to travel the world. This is how I met my wife. Megan is my world. She’s a native Iowan and a lifelong Hawkeye.

Choosing to come to the University of Iowa PA program was a no-brainer. Not only do I get to attend one of the premier PA programs in the country, but Meg and I get to raise our family surrounded by people who love and support us. Iowa has been a hidden gem, allowing us to see concerts and shows at Hancher Auditorium, to kayak rivers before attending regional summer festivals, and to take our dog hiking across the state’s rolling hills. Iowa has been our home away from home. We love getting to take part in the Wave during Iowa football games. The changing seasons have taken some getting used to, but simple things like taking in the bright autumn leaves on my walk to classes at MERF in the morning have made it worth it.

How have you made advocacy a focus of your career and education?

My work as an ATC afforded me opportunities in patient advocacy, where I honed my skills in speaking and networking with various stakeholders in health care. This work led me to Washington, D.C., where I learned to communicate with U.S. senators and representatives more effectively.

I’ve been able to renew these early interests in advocacy during my PA training at the University of Iowa. For the past two years, I’ve participated in PA Legislative Day at the Iowa State Capitol with the Iowa Physician Assistant Society. During this time, I witnessed the passing of HF424, which allows Iowa PAs' supervisory agreements to be determined at the practice level, increasing health care access for Iowans across the state.

More recently, I was invited by Jeremy Nelson [DMSc, MPAS, PA-C, FAAFP] to apply to serve on the American Academy of Physician Associates C-25 taskforce. The taskforce was created to identify barriers and explore potential opportunities and resources for aspiring PAs to utilize. Lots of resources are available to students but at an extremely high cost and with variable quality. The taskforce shined a light on this fact, allowing the AAPA to create a variety of free resources, timelines, and checklists for future PAs to be successful in their applications and interviews. Currently, the taskforce is reaching out to pre-PA and PA organizations to discover how students are using these resources and working to identify PA mentors to help students along the way. I plan on continuing to work on this taskforce in the future.Jordan Williams engaged in advocacy activities with legislators

What advice would you give a new PA student?

The biggest advice that I can offer to an incoming student is to be adaptable and open-minded. Every day will be a new challenge, and you never know who you will meet and where your interests will take you. Coming into PA school, I was so focused on finding a job with an orthopedics team. Since then, my interests have drastically changed. Admittedly, I had little interest in women’s health or psychiatry when I started, and now, my eyes have been opened after having fantastic experiences during my clinical rotations in these specialties. Now, I take every opportunity that comes my way to grow as a person and as a PA.