Little Health Ambassadors Creator Ken Korber Shares His Journey from Physician Assistant to Children’s Book Author

Little Health Ambassadors Creator Ken Korber Shares His Journey from Physician Assistant to Children’s Book Author

The medical and children’s literature worlds couldn’t be further away from each other; one deals with highly technical knowledge about the human body, while the other teaches children about basic concepts. So it’s rare for someone to involve themselves in both fields. However, Ken Korber did just that. A former surgical and cardiovascular physician assistant, Ken left clinical practice to focus on patient education and health promotion, creating the Little Health Ambassadors series of children’s books. These books promote reading, health education, and music appreciation to young readers between ages 3 and 6. 

So, how exactly did Ken arrive at this point? He says he has always been interested in science and health, influenced by circumstances early in life. Ken was born three months premature, the eldest of five children, weighing only 2.5 pounds. At the time, the survival rate for these tiny babies was just around 30%, and he would not have made it if not for four months of medical intervention. According to Ken, this meant that healthcare and Medicine “are in his DNA.”

Ken’s father was a high school biology teacher, which further fueled his interest in science. Being a “preemie,” Ken became passionate about healthcare. At the age of 16, Ken and his friends volunteered for a local community ambulance service as EMTs. This was his first experience with the medical world, which ignited in him a desire to be a doctor.

Ken applied for medical school but was not accepted. He learned about the physician assistant (PA) profession and decided that it was also a worthwhile path, leading to a 25-year career in this field. 

Aside from taking care of patients, Ken says he is also passionate about communicating medical knowledge. His capstone project in PA graduate school was an article he co-authored with one of his professors that was published in a medical journal. He was interested in peer-to-peer communication from a science perspective during his career. From being a published medical author, he entered the world of children’s books “serendipitously.”

One day, Ken’s son, studying music education and performance at an undergraduate university, returned home during a winter break. Ken saw notes smaller than the others in his son’s sheet music and became curious about them. His son explained that these were grace notes, notes that a conductor would emphasize to add color to the musical piece. This served as the inspiration for the main character of his books. Grace is an eight-year-old girl who was transformed from a grace note by the power of music in the first book, The Musical Adventures of Grace – Winter Story

According to Ken, when writing the Little Health Ambassadors book series, he seeks to improve patient education and how to communicate complex medical language and terminology to a lay population, such as parents and children. He also collaborates with experts and survivors when writing these books. For example, Grace & Friends: A Burn Prevention/Fire Safety Activity Book was co-authored with Paul Possenti, the Executive Director of Trauma Services and Emergency Management at Yale New Haven Health, Bridgeport Hospital.

An upcoming book, Grace Saves the Day With FAST, teaches young readers about stroke and how to recognize its symptoms. It was written with the help of Bill Turck, a radio commentator who survived a stroke in 2022.

According to Ken, he initially viewed the creation of children’s books and characters as an academic endeavor, demonstrating the medium’s effectiveness in engaging patients or communicating health literacy. With a background deeply rooted in medical and health science, his overarching objective has always been to educate individuals of all ages about the significance of health. Through the Little Health Ambassadors books, Ken aspires to reach children, enhancing their reading and musical abilities while instilling crucial health literacy concepts. He believes that such initiatives can yield lifelong benefits, potentially even saving lives.


Published by: Khy Talara


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