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Competencies for Graduates of the DPAS Program

The Doctor of PA Studies curriculum is based largely on the Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession. These competencies were developed and endorsed by the four national professional organizations that represent PAs:

  • National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
  • Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc.
  • American Academy of PAs
  • Physician Assistant Education Association.

The curriculum is also based on the Physician Assistant Educator Competencies as developed by the Physician Assistant Education Association.

The competencies are designed to enhance the professional development of the PAs throughout the span of their careers by deepening knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to advance their work, improve patient care and educate future professionals.

Practice-based Learning and Quality Improvement

Demonstrate the ability to learn and implement quality improvement practices by engaging in critical analysis of one’s own practice experience, the medical literature and other information resources for the purposes of self-evaluation, lifelong learning and practice improvement.

Graduates from the Doctor of PA Studies program will demonstrate the following skills:

  1. Exhibit self-awareness to identify strengths, address deficiencies and recognize limits in knowledge and expertise.
  2. Identify, analyze and adopt new knowledge, guidelines, standards, technologies, products, or services that have been demonstrated to improve outcomes.
  3. Identify improvement goals and perform learning activities that address gaps in knowledge, skills and attitudes.
  4. Use practice performance data and metrics to identify areas for improvement.
  5. Develop a professional and organizational capacity for ongoing quality improvement.

In addition, students will choose a personalized elective, either academic or administrative, as part of their plan of studies.

Administration Elective

Graduates from the Administration Elective will also be able to:

  1. Analyze the use and allocation of resources to ensure the practice of cost-effective health care while maintaining quality of care.
  2. Understand how practice decisions impact the finances of their organizations, while keeping the patient’s needs foremost.
  3. Advocate for administrative systems that capture the productivity and value of PA practice.

Read DPAS '23 student reflections about this elective here.

Academic Elective

Graduates from the Academic Elective will also be able to:

  1. Use educational theory and evidence-based literature to design teaching and evaluation practices that challenge and facilitate learners to practice high quality, compassionate patient care.
  2. Focus on a personal commitment to learners’ professional success, well-being and growth.
  3. Implement effective interpersonal and communication skills in the educational setting.