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Welcome from the Founding Director

Johnna K. Yealy, Ph.D., PA-C
Program Director/Associate Professor

Passion, Service, Respect  

The faculty in UT’s Department of Physician Assistant Medicine are committed to teaching students both the science and art of medicine. 

We are guided by a passion for student success, service to the community and respect for the medical profession.

UT Physician Assistant Medicine Program

On behalf of the dean, faculty and staff of UT's College of Natural and Health Sciences and Department of Physician Assistant Medicine, I want to welcome you to our website. Our 27-month, 112-credit program is designed to prepare graduates to provide medical care as part of an intercollaborative, physician-led team. Upon successful completion, graduates will receive a Master of Physician Assistant Medicine degree.

The medical faculty, including physicians, physician assistants, pharmacologists, anatomists, physiologists, molecular biologists and other health scientists have worked diligently to develop an outstanding PA curriculum. During the development of the program we have been guided by three principals: critical thinking, experiential learning and collaboration.

Critical Thinking

“Education is not the learning of facts, but training the mind to think.” —Albert Einstein

The program will provide our students instruction, preparation and participation in the critical application of medical facts to their practice as a health professional. We strive to train the mind to think as a medical provider. Therefore, we have purposefully included multiple training opportunities that allow students to apply medical knowledge to patient cases starting on day one of training. 

Experiential Learning  

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” —Aristotle

The program willprovide students multiple opportunities to practice procedures, skills and decision making processes to become excellent providers. Therefore, we have purposefully included multiple training opportunities that allow students to practice skills on the very first day of class. The didactic (“classroom”) year has been upended in our curriculum. Students will spend several days every week in the simulation lab practicing skills and procedures and in the clinical setting perfecting their history and physical examination skills, progressing their diagnosis skills and making treatment decisions — before they start clinical rotations. 

Collaboration and Communication  

“Medicine at its best is a team sport.” —John Mandrola, M.D.  

The program will provide students multiple opportunities to participate on the medical team. Recognizing that the patient is the team captain in our model, we allow our students opportunities to practice communication and professionalism with patients early in the training process with feedback to guide and direct learning. Students will become competent in the essential skills of motivational interviews, patient education and patient-driven medical decisions.

The PA faculty firmly believe that your success is our success. Our pledge to you as a graduate of our PA program is that you will be skilled in both the science and the art of medicine. We wish you the best in your journey to becoming a physician assistant. 

Johnna K. Yealy, Ph.D., PA-C 
Program Director/Associate Professor 

The faculty of the Department of Physician Assistant Medicine view the sentiment expressed in "The Bridge Builder" by Will Allen Dromgoole to be our guiding principle in our interactions with future physician assistants.   

It is our intent to create a bridge for our students during this journey. 

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide. 

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”