Gini Henke speaks to Golden K members


For The Daily News

KINGSFORD – The sun was barely peeking out as Golden Krs arrived for the March 25 meeting at the Presbyterian Church. Ken Schultz was anxious to clang the bell to start his final meeting as March chairman, at exactly 10 a.m. As usual there was lots of singing to the oldies such as “Put Another Nickel In,” “Smiles,” and “Baby Face.”

There were three GK members with birthdays this week, Walter Jensen, Lorraine Jacobs, and Joan Jouppi so “Happy Birthday” was sung to GK friends.

The “Welcome Song” was sung for the days program speaker, Ginni Henke.

Pot of Gold winner was Vernell Gendron.

Happy dollars were read by Harlan Walters. They included some “Ole and Lena” jokes from the collection of GK’s oldest member, Zyg Bonkowski.

Ben Detterman was the days program chairman. He was proud to introduce his daughter, Ginni Henke, and we were happy to learn from her “What a PA is.”

Ginni is presently a PA, physician’s assistant, in the OB-GYN practice of her husband, Dr. Doug Henke.

A PA is “a medical professional who works as a part of a health team under supervision of a doctor.” Her presentation dealt with two parts; the history of the PA profession and her training and what she does now.

The profession got its start in 1965 when Dr. Eugene Stead at Duke University, in response to studies predicting a critical doctor shortage, recognized there was a large pool of trained , experienced health care providers-Navy corpsmen. He started a program at Duke and based the curriculum on his knowledge of the fast-track training of doctors during World War II. The first class of PAs graduated in 1967.

The original idea of PAs was to extend medical care. Twenty percent of the American population live in rural areas. Seventeen percent of all PAs work in rural areas while only 10 percent of physicians work in rural areas.

At the present time PAs are licensed in all 50 states. Nationwide there are 86,000 PAs with 2,147 in Wisconsin and 3,724 Pas in Michigan.

All states allow PA to practice and prescribe drugs. Thirty two percent are in primary care 2. While 2/3 are in a medical or surgical specialty. One third work in hospitals and 1/3 in group practice.

In order to practice as a PA in Michigan one must be: a graduate of one of the 170 accredited PA programs, pass a national certification exam, and be licensed by the state. PA programs are located all around the country. There are five Universities with a PA program in Michigan and three in Wisconsin.

There are now PA programs in Canada, India, The Netherlands, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia.

PA Ginni Henke attended the University of Iowa as an undergraduate and completed a bachelor of arts in zoology. After graduation she worked as a blood gas technician in UI hospitals and clinics in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. She was a research assistant in a biochemistry lab doing basic research involving cholesterol metabolism. She was also a volunteer at a Free Medical Clinic in Iowa City.

Henke said the University of Iowa has one of the top PA schools in the country. She has worked in family practice, pediatrics, public health, and OB-GYN as she currently does.

As a PA she has had the opportunity to go on two medical mission trips. In Honduras she was part of a general medicine team providing primary care to villagers at a Franciscan mission.

In Guatemala she was a team member for cervical cancer screening.While cervical cancer in the US is less common due to the success of widespread screening of women with Pap smears, in third world countries it is still a killer.

Her practice now consists of an office gynecology practice providing routine and preventative GYN care to women of all ages. She recently became a certified menopause care provider through the National Association of Menopause Providers. Health education is a big part of her practice as she strives to help women stay happy, healthy, and active into their golden years. PA Henke answered several questions from the audience.

It was indeed a very informative program. Many thanks to Ginni Henke for a very interesting program.

The next GK meeting will be on April 1 at the Presbyterian Church 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Ken Schultz will tell us about the former Outdoor Program that was in area schools.

New members and visitors are always welcome at Golden K.

The Golden Throats will be singing at Hylands on Wednesday, April 3.