Mercy Health Love County - News

ER Physician Assistant Honored As Rural PA of Year for 2021

Posted on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021


Emergency Room PA Wins Rural PA of Year Award

Maria Maynard of Mercy Health/Love County Hospital and Clinic was named Rural Physician Assistant of 2021 by the Oklahoma Academy of Physician Assistants (OAPA) on September 30.

Maynard’s career as a PA has been in the emergency room in Marietta. “Maria strives for excellence in everything she does. Working in the demanding arena of rural emergency medicine and primary care, she has dedicated herself to growth through learning and the teaching of others,” the OAPA noted.

“A bilingual provider, with Spanish as her primary language, she has positively impacted a growing Hispanic population in need of healthcare.  Connecting to patients through culture and language, she has made a positive impact on the underserved.  She is the consummate rural physician assistant.”

Maynard also was cited for service as a clinical preceptor.  She provides one-on-one mentoring and training to several physician assistant students each year. “She is a remarkable example for young PA’s, demonstrating compassionate care and evidence-based medicine,” the award noted. 

Maynard was honored in an awards ceremony at the 48th annual OAPA conference, in Tulsa, OK, September 29-October 1, 2021. OAPA was established in 1974, the year the physician assistant profession was introduced in Oklahoma and taught at the OU College of Medicine.

Making the presentation was Natasha Simonson, PA-C, a member of the OAPA Board of Directors. 

Maynard completed clinical rotations in the Marietta emergency room while a student of the OU Physician Assistant Program in the College of Medicine.

She graduated in 2015 and joined the ER as a Board-certified PA fulltime in January 2016.“I found a welcoming staff and community members. Everyone functions as a team. The camaraderie here is very appealing,”Maynard said.

“I know that to be nominated and considered for an award like the Rural Physician Assistant of the Year from OAPA is really due to all the people surrounding me.  I am very lucky to be working at the hospital in Marietta. It is a blessing to me,” Maynard said.

Prior to PA school, Maynard taught zoology at East Central University in Ada. She holds a medical degree from the University of Guadalajara School of Medicine. She practicedmedicine prior to emigrating from Guadalajara in 1998 and becoming a U.S. citizen.

Maynard was inspired to enter the medical field by her mother, who was a laboratory technician.  “She sparked my interest in taking science courses to prepare for college and medical school,” Maynard said. 

Now she is inspired by her coworkers, including the nurses, paramedics, and other staff members who assist on the critical cases of the emergency room. “It takes a unified effort and their work is very supportive,” Maynard said.

Maynard and her husband Kermit enjoy biking, camping, kayaking, and gardening in their spare time.  She said she takes a full day to get ready for a 24-hour shift in the ER. “I make sure I am well-rested and am mentally prepared. I feel I must be at 100% of my best self to give 100% to the needs of patients for the time I am here,” Maynard said.