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Physician Assistant Studies Program Mission

The mission of the Physician Assistant Studies Program is to develop highly qualified Physician Assistants who will serve as collaborative leaders in patient care, professional service and advocacy for all populations.

Program Goals

  • To provide students with the required cognitive knowledge, affective behaviors, and psychomotor skills to consistently and reliably function as a physician assistant;
  • To graduate skilled physician assistants who practice patient-centered care;
  • To inspire a lifelong desire and responsibility for continued learning, service to the community and advocacy within the health care profession;
  • To encourage graduates to pursue educational, research and administrative activities within the health care profession.

Evidence of Success

Applicant Admission Statistics

In order for the program to succeed in meeting our goals we have been able to recruit a highly qualified and diverse cohort of students who have successfully gone on to complete their medical education as a physician assistant. Click here to view supporting data.

Assessment Data

To assure that our graduates have met these goals we measure the following competencies. The results of the assessments in each area are also listed below. 

  • Medical Knowledge and ​Systems-Based Practice

    • PANCE Scores: Beginning with the inaugural Class of 2011 through the Class of 2016, the mean graduate performance in each of the seven tasks assessed (applying scientific concepts, clinical interventions, formulating the most likely diagnosis, health maintenance, history taking and physical examination, pharmaceutical therapeutics, using lab and diagnostic studies) has met or exceeded the mean national performance for each of those years.
    • Attrition rates: The program overall deceleration rate over the last five years for the total number of graduates (190) for academic reasons is 4%.
    • Preceptor Evaluations: Benchmark “3” Likert Scale with 5 (honors), 3 (pass), and 1 (fail). 
      • Past three graduating classes:​
        • Medical interview 4.5
        • Physical Examination 4.3
        • Ability to Perform Clinical Procedures 4.5
        • Factual Knowledge & Concepts 4.4
        • Diagnostic evaluation and use of appropriate consultation 4.5
        • Clinical judgment 4.5
        • Monitoring and therapeutic skills 4.5
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Direct Patient Care

    • Preceptor assessments: Benchmark “3”; mean performance of the past three graduating classes using the Likert Scale with 5 (honors), 3 (pass), and 1 (fail).
      • Oral case presentations: 4.5 (one year of data)
      • Written Patient Record: 4.6
      • Relating to Colleagues: 4.9
      • Relating to Patients: 4.8
      • Patient education skills: 4.6
      • Interpersonal skills with instructors: 4.9
    • Communication skills and interpersonal skills are assessed by standardized patient encounters during the didactic year.
      • Academic years 2015 and 2016 had a median score of 91%.
  • Professionalism

    • Faculty Evaluations: The class of 2016 was assessed by the principal faculty each semester of the didactic year using a Likert Scale with 5 (superior and consistent performance), 3 (competent performance), and 1 (poor performance). The class was assessed using the following criteria. These are displayed with the students overall mean scores in each area:
      • Time management: 3.7
      • Communication: 4.0
      • Deportment: 4.1
      • Motivation: 4.1
      • Work ethic 4.2
    • Preceptor Assessments: Benchmark “3”; mean performance of the past three graduating classes using the Likert Scale with 5 (honors), 3 (pass), and 1 (fail).
      • Reliability and Dependability: 4.8
      • Professionalism: 4.9
      • Work ethic: 4.8
      • Time management: 4.7
      • Initiative: 4.8
      • Recognition of limitations: 4.7
    • Pursuit of educational, research and administrative activities within the health care profession: Our students and graduates have continued their involvement in our program as guest lecturers, lab instructors, graders, and clinical preceptors; they have published in professional journals JAAPA, JOPA, and presented posters in Health Policy at our annual state professional conferences. Students and graduates have participated in mission trips to Africa and Central America, attended post graduate residencies, and have obtained academic appointments at other physician assistant programs and medical schools.