Published: November 20, 2017
The University of Tampa has announced it will begin offering a master’s degree program in physician assistant medicine starting in Fall 2019.
The program is intended to engage in collaborative training that produces competent graduates who provide quality medical care to their communities. Physician assistants are licensed medical providers who practice medicine on health care teams with physicians and other providers.
UT’s PA curriculum is based on the medical model of education — focusing on in-depth study of disease processes, their diagnosis and treatment — and consists of 27 months of master’s level coursework. Basic science instruction in anatomy, physiology, genetics and other biological sciences are followed by a phase of general clinical medicine, specialty medicine, medical diagnostics, pharmacology and physical exam topics. The PA educational program of study also includes a yearlong clinical “hands-on” training phase consistent with the University’s commitment of “learning by doing.”
Applications for the Fall 2019 cohort will be accepted May 1 to Oct. 1, 2018, through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).
The program is headed by Johnna Yealy, Ph.D., who will be focused on developing the curriculum and facility and guiding the program through its initial and lengthy accreditation process.
“Demand for physician assistants will increase as the U.S. population ages and as we see the trend of fewer primary and specialty care providers,” Yealy said. “UT is well positioned to provide outstanding training for physician assistant medicine studies in a new, modern facility.”
She added that UT is excited to provide undergraduates with a path to pursue graduate training in the provision of medical care consistent with the commitment to providing graduates with advanced understanding of their field of study. “This is an educational program of study that is heavily steeped in interprofessional training, which is consistent with the University’s commitment to developing a collaborative and interdisciplinary workforce,” Yealy said.
The PA program will partner with local organizations to provide the highest quality education. Students will have the opportunity to complete their anatomy training at The Florida InnoVation & Education (FIVE) Labs, which is an innovative facility designed to educate health care professionals located in Tampa. The second year of training will be spent in clinical sites, local hospitals and clinics, where students will have the opportunity to apply their medical knowledge and develop their clinical skills while guided by a licensed medical provider.
The PA program will be housed in the new 91,000-square-foot Graduate and Health Studies Building at UT, which is currently under construction. It will include 30,000 square feet of PA medical training space and will include state-of-the-art spaces, including simulation labs, a digital anatomy lab and all the latest health technology and equipment. The building will also have a state-of-the-art audiovisual system, the same as used in health care facilities, that is designed to capture clinical and learning events for future review and assessment by students from anywhere. This will help to facilitate a unique connectivity to other health care facilities, enhancing the student clinical experience. The simulation labs in the building will serve as a CAE demonstration site. CAE is a global leader in health care simulation. By serving as a demonstration site, the PA faculty and students will have access to the latest, most technologically advance health care simulators and training at all times. The building is expected to be completed in August 2018.
Forbes magazine ranked physician assistant on its list of “The 10 Most Promising Jobs of 2016.” LinkedIn listed physician assistant on its inaugural list “Most Promising Jobs of 2017,” and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of physician assistant jobs will increase 30 percent by 2018 with median annual wages of $101,480. The employment of physician assistants in the U.S. is projected to grow an additional 30 percent through 2024 — much faster than the average for all occupations.
UT has a long history of health care training, as its nursing program has long been renowned as one of the best in Florida. Typically, 100 percent of UT nursing graduates pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) on the first try. UT has offered the Master of Science in Nursing degree and four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs for many years. Additional health science programs include allied health, athletic training and graduate exercise and nutrition science.
For more information about the program, including admission requirements, see www.ut.edu/physicianassistant.
UT has applied for Accreditation-Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). UT anticipates matriculating its first class in August 2019, pending achieving Accreditation-Provisional status at the March 2019 ARC-PA meeting. 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.
UT is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees. The physician assistant program is currently pending approval by SACSCOC.