Meet Kloe Thomas

Date: Thursday, June 13, 2024

KIoe Thomas in her PA student white coatYou were born in California and raised in Utah, where you enjoyed snowboarding, skiing, hiking, climbing, and motorcycle riding. How have you been enjoying the outdoors while in Iowa?

Since moving to Iowa, I’ve lost a few of my hobbies. So, to make up for it, I picked up a new one. I’ve started golfing, which keeps me somewhat active and enjoying the nice weather. I’m also still able to climb since the Iowa rec facility has a climbing wall. Nothing compares to Utah, but it’s still pretty good. Football has also always been an interest of mine, so in the fall, I enjoy tailgating with my classmates and attending Iowa games.

Before PA school, you worked as a medical technician, phlebotomist, and nursing assistant. What role did these experiences play in preparing you for PA school?

Working as a nurse aide was a transformative experience, highlighting the importance of health care team members in patient care. It taught me compassion for personalized care. Similarly, working as a medical technician in ophthalmology provided insight into the diagnostic process and the diverse patient care involved.

Why did you choose the University of Iowa?

When I interviewed here in Iowa, I truly felt the faculty and staff were geared to the success of the students. I felt the program was designed well and their graduates were well prepared for their future careers in medicine.

You’ve shared that your mother is South Korean and has experienced challenges navigating the health care system in the United States. How has this framed your perspective on health care access?

My mom, a first-generation immigrant, has experienced cultural and language barriers when seeking medical care, and this has given me some insight into the challenges minority groups face. During an immersion trip to the Navajo Reservation, I witnessed the health care disparities faced by Native Americans and the compassionate care extended by health care providers. They worked with Native medicine men to provide culturally sensitive care to their patients. These experiences highlighted the importance of understanding the patient populations you serve to provide the best care. I hope to become a PA who can soften cultural barriers and connect with patients more personally.

If you weren't pursuing a career in health care, what would you be doing right now?

I would have gone into environmental science work or research on the environmental impact of climate change. I'd be in a career that allowed me to be outdoors often.

What do you want to be remembered for?

My only goal in life is to impact everyone with whom I interact in a positive way. I hope to be remembered as someone who was passionate about helping people.

What fact about you now would impress 10-year-old you?

I ride a motorcycle now. 10-year-old Kloe would think that is so cool.