University of Evansville Announces New Physician Assistant Program
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013
The University of Evansville is proud to announce that it will launch a new physician assistant program, the first in the Tri-State area, to build on its existing strength in health professions education and help meet the growing need for health care providers. The master’s-level program is slated to begin classes in 2017.
The University began conducting a feasibility study for a physician assistant program more than a year ago. The study, led by Tripp Umbach, indicated that the prevalence of physician assistants (PAs) in the Tri-State is lower than the national average. In addition, experts in the health care field project significant shortages of primary care providers, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for physician assistants will grow by 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than average.
The University is currently conducting a national search for a physician assistant program director and is pursuing provisional accreditation, a status granted to new PA programs, from the Accreditation Review Council for Physician Assistants (ARC-PA).
Physician assistants work as part of a physician-led team to provide a broad range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services: performing physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting tests, prescribing certain medications, and more. PAs work in diverse medical and surgical settings, including family and internal medicine, emergency departments, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery and surgical sub-specialties, and mental and behavioral health care.
UE’s physician assistant program will last approximately 24 to 27 months and will include both classroom and clinical education in topics such as medical, behavior, and social sciences; clinical medicine; patient assessment; and health policy and practice issues.
“We look forward to offering the region’s first physician assistant program, which we are developing based on the current and future needs for health care providers – both here in the Tri-State and nationwide,” said John A. Mosbo, UE senior vice president for academic affairs. “The new program provides an excellent opportunity to educate local students and import talent from a broad geographical area. Given our existing strength in health sciences education, UE is well positioned to make an impact on those needs through a physician assistant program.”
“Physician assistants can be a vital part of medical practices here in Evansville, and I’m thrilled to see a local university stepping up to educate these health care professionals,” said David Schultz II, MD, a local physician with Evansville Primary Care and 1994 UE alumnus. “With the physician and nurse shortage in Indiana and America, physician assistants serve an important role in increasing healthcare availability.”