iMeetApril Dunning is a Physician’s Assistant with Mercy Pediatrics. She enjoys helping families and getting to know their stories. She loves her family and her church - most of all of her free time being devoted to both. iMeet this sports-loving mom who can help your children stay well!

Welcome to iMeet. April. Tell us a little about yourself...

I grew up in La Center and graduated from Ballard Memorial High School. After high school, I played college basketball for four years at Bethel University. After graduating there, I attended the University of Kentucky for my degree in Physician Assistant Studies.

Tell us about your family...

iMeetI am married to John Dunning and we have two children, Kendrick (10) and Kambell (8). We have a dog, Max, who is a rescue from a local shelter.

You’ve been with Mercy pediatrics for a long time, April…tell us about your job…

I am a Physician Assistant with Mercy Pediatrics, where I've worked for almost 18 years. I started with this group in 2000 under the direction of Dr. James Shumaker, a pediatrician who practiced in Paducah for over 35 years when he retired. 

We joined Lourdes and Mercy Health sometime around 2009 and moved into our current location on Lone Oak Road, across from Hannan Plaza, in 2014. We now have four providers: myself, Dr. Rachel Lowdenback, and Dr. Holly Payne, and psychologist Dr. Emily Brame-Thomas.

My first job was in a rural family medicine clinic in Ballard. I worked there for three years before I joined Dr. Shumaker. I took a break from that office for about a year while I worked for Dr. John Cecil at his clinic. I am very grateful for the opportunity he gave me during that time. I loved private practice so much that I wanted to come back to my original office and have been at Mercy Pediatrics ever since.

What’s a typical day like for you in Pediatric care?

iMeetWith pediatrics, it certainly varies. In the winter, there are lots of sick kids. Then in the spring and summer, its well-visits and getting kids ready for back to school.

Unfortunately, we also see a lot of behavioral and mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression, which seems to be getting more and more prominent in kids these days. For this reason, I am thankful to have psychologist Dr. Emily Brame-Thomas integrated into our practice to see the children suffering from these issues.

I love helping families and getting to know them and their story. We do so much more for our kids and families than just treat the one illness, or provide a few checkups. I am thankful to have the opportunity to impact the lives of our patients and families.

I feel God has blessed me with this talent and I hope that I am using it every day for His glory and that I make Him smile. If I have done that in my "typical day," then I have fulfilled my purpose.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, it is all about my family and my church. Both of my kids are involved in sports: baseball, basketball, volleyball and softball. So, most weekends in the spring and summer, we are packing the car up for a weekend ball tournament somewhere. It is my favorite time of year!


On my afternoon off, I try to volunteer at my kids’ school. I have been on two mission trips to Thailand. Sharing what God has done for me and for others through his Son Jesus is the most important message I can tell.

You visited Thailand last year as part of a mission trip…tell us about that…

Dr. Christopher Sperry and I spent ten days in different cities throughout Northeast Thailand, providing medical care to those without access to doctors or routine medical care. Between myself, Dr. Sperry, and Dr. Doug, a local missionary physician who has been in Thailand for 23 years, we saw between 150-250 patients per day.

iMeetAll of these patients had health issues, ranging from blood pressure problems, to intestinal issues, to musculoskeletal complaints. Many of the medical supplies given to their patients to help with their symptoms were donated by Mercy Health.

God has given me the gift/talent of practicing medicine. I want to use it for His glory. Whether I am serving people here in my daily job at Mercy Pediatrics - or in another country - I want people to know of God’s love for them and be used as a vessel to relay this message.

It's 10 pm on a Friday night; what might we find you doing?

Packing the car up for the weekend! Or I'm asleep - 10 pm is late for me!

If you were a flavor of ice cream, which would you be?

Coffee, probably, because it is yummy and my kids hate it so I wouldn't have to share!


Thanks for sharing your work and love of God with us on iMeet this week, April. We’re glad you are here to help our kids and local families.