UD’s Physician Assistant Program Accredited

Apr 6, 2016 | S. Ortman

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the University of Dubuque Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies sponsored by University of Dubuque.

“The rigorous, five-year process of accreditation has demonstrated that UD has all the resources in place – financial, physical, faculty, and curriculum – to provide a high-quality, graduate-level program in Physician Assistant studies,” said Mark Ward, vice president for academic affairs at UD, adding. “This process has also affirmed the strong programs in the natural sciences and nursing that provide the foundation for establishing a graduate program in the health sciences.”

The Physician Assistant (PA) program will welcome its inaugural class of 25 students in August from a pool of over 500 applications. As a graduate-level program, the PA program will consist of a 27 month, year-round curriculum with 15 months of academic coursework followed by 12 months of clinical rotations in Dubuque and tri-state area hospitals and clinics.

The first cohort of students will graduate December 2018, and they will be eligible to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam to become certified physician assistants.

Physician assistants are health care professionals licensed and credentialed to practice medicine with physician supervision. They perform physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, assist in surgery, and more in a variety of settings such as clinics, emergency rooms, and hospitals.

“The University of Dubuque, as well as other higher educational institutions, see a national and rural need for medical providers,” said Warren Gall, M.D., founding director of the PA program.

Around 200 institutions in the country offer a PA program. U.S. News & World Report’s “100 Best Jobs of 2016” lists physician assistant as one of the top ten jobs in America, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30 percent job growth rate for the profession by 2024.

“Over the last two decades, UD has positioned itself to offer degrees that serve the current and future needs of students and society,” Ward said, adding. “The PA program is an extension of that mission, providing an educational pathway to a career of purpose and service. I have been overwhelmed by the level of support within the local medical community for this program. I believe this program helps to solidify the community’s position as a regional center for health care.”

PA program classes will be held in a 9,100-square-foot, two-story addition to the University Science Center. Construction on the $3.3 million addition started in May 2015, and it is expected to be completed before students start class in the fall.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.