Student Profiles

Brandon Bressler
Brandon Bressler
Hometown: Branson, Missouri
Class of 2021
College/University Attended: College of the Ozarks
Undergraduate Major: Molecular Biology
Specialty Interest: Family Practice
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC School of Medicine?

The UMKC PA program has many features which both initially attracted me to apply here and to ultimately choose it as my first choice school. When I compared it to other schools, I was impressed with both the organization of program and that fact that a majority of the lecturers also teach in the medical school or are practicing providers in their respective fields. I also admired that the faculty are committed to providing students with first-hand clinical experiences throughout their diadatic year. These begin within the first semester of the program and include experiences in both the hospital setting as well as community outreach through the Sojourner Health Clinic.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience?

Ironically, what I’ve enjoyed most about my experience so far is the same thing that I was most anxious about when initially applying: the small class size. For me, starting at UMKC meant moving from a small town to much larger metropolitan area where I didn’t know anyone or how to get around. However, what I realize now is that the program takes special care when selecting applicants to ensure that the class will be both diverse and cohesive. Each of my classmates has lived their own journey and possesses skills leading them to this career. We utilize our different backgrounds to help one another succeed and understand various concepts. The people in your class are not only classmates, they become your friends, your family, and your support system almost instantly. Additionally, the school’s smaller class size means more individualized attention from the faculty. They know not only know your name but have a genuine interest in you as a person and are dedicated to ensuring that you have everything you need to become an educated, competent PA.

Student organizations involved with/honors and awards?

  • Physician Assistant Student Association – President
  • Physician Assistant Student Ambassador


Bailey Hession
Bailey Hession
Hometown: Willard, Missouri
College/University Attended: University of Missouri - Columbia
Undergraduate Major: Health Sciences
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant Program?

I was born and raised in Missouri, so I really wanted to attend schools in state for both my undergraduate and master’s degrees. Two schools in the University of Missouri system ended up being my perfect matches. And because I did attend Mizzou, a partner institution, for my undergraduate degree, I was also able to take advantage of the PA Scholars Program that UMKC offers. It was a unique opportunity for me to apply to PA school during my senior year of college and get accepted a year early. Because of this, I was able to finish my senior year stress free, as I knew exactly where I was going after graduation. In addition, I really appreciated UMKC’s dedication to looking at the applicant holistically; I think it helps the school to get the best prospects to apply each year.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

I have really enjoyed the small class size, as getting to know all my classmates has been amazing. We all come from such different backgrounds and experiences, so we all have different contributions to make to the class. I was unsure what to expect from a graduate level cohort, but since there are only 20 of us, we have become very close. They are the only ones that know what this experience is like, and we have become such a great support system for each other during this process. The small class size has also allowed us to get the most from our professors as well. They are able to dedicate their time and talents to making sure we become the best version of ourselves. They always have an open-door policy and really are here to help us succeed.

Why are you pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant?

I believe that PAs have the ability to impact patients in a way that other providers might not be able to. This career provides a unique opportunity to be able to interact and care for patients while still providing high-level medical knowledge. I have always been drawn to the balance that PAs have between medicine and patient interaction. In practice, I hope to develop a patient-provider bond that will allow me to impact my patients in more ways than one. I also want to provide quality care that is easily accessible by all and, by becoming a PA, I can do that. All this can be done within the confines of a team of providers, which I think is the best way to practice. I pursued this degree to be able to help the most people in the shortest amount of time. To go to school for 2.5 years and graduate as a competent, caring provider is something that you cannot find in many other professions. Upon graduation, hopefully a job will not be hard to find, so I know that what I have learned here at UMKC will be put to good use right after graduation.



Alexis Bridges
Alexis Bridges
Hometown: Florissant, Missouri
Class of 2020
College/University Attended: University of Missouri - Kansas City
Undergraduate Major: Biolgoy
Why did you choose to attend the UMKC Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant Program?

I got my undergraduate degree from UMKC so I already knew and appreciated how much UMKC truly cares about diversity and giving back to the community. Since freshman year of undergraduate, UMKC has always felt like home to me so I was extremely happy to continue my education at the same school.

What have you enjoyed most about your experience at UMKC?

Bonding with my classmates while, at the same time, learning to provide the best patient care possible.

Why are you pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant?

During undergrad, I was on the pre-med track. I loved the science behind medicine, and I thought that becoming a doctor was my best option. It wasn’t until senior year, when I began shadowing other medical professions, that I realized the PA profession lined up perfectly with what I wanted for a career. I love the fact that, as a PA, you get to work as part of a team to give patients the best healthcare possible. I love the fact I would still get to see my own patients and make my own medical diagnoses. On top of that, I love the fact that the process to becoming a PA is much shorter than becoming a doctor. From what I’ve been told the work-life balance is also great as well. There are countless other pros about the PA profession—such as the ability to switch specialties and the fact that the job outlook is expected to grow by 30% in the next 10 years. It’s a great time to be a PA. I’m so happy that I chose this career path, it was the best choice for me, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I can’t wait until I’m officially a PA-C.



Course Descriptions

MEDPA 5501 Anatomy for the PA (3)

This ten-week course features a study of the structure and development of the human body to include head, neck, upper extremity, thorax, pelvis, perineum and lower extremity.  Study conducted by cadaver dissection, models, demonstration, and cross section correlated to the appropriate living anatomy.  Emphasis is placed on the structure/function correlation and the relationship of anatomic configuration to diagnosis of clinical problems.  The format of the course includes lectures, lab, small group discussion and many varieties of audiovisual and computer aids.  Student evaluation is accomplished through laboratory and written exams.

MEDPA 5502 Foundations in Basic Medical Science (4)

This ten-week course teaches an introduction of the basic principles of biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, genetics and pharmacology taught in a modular format.  The biochemistry, microbiology and immunology components prepare students for the clinical application of the principles in the organ system modules.  The nutrition module covers the basic science of human nutrition and relates the biochemical and physiological aspects of nutrition in health and disease.  The pharmacology module covers basic principles of drug action, drug disposition, and drug toxicity, providing the foundation for the pharmacotherapeutics content taught in the system modules.

MEDPA 5504 Ethics, Law and Policy (1)

A ten-week course that examines ethical rules, principles, and theories as they relate to health care delivery issues using lecture and case based presentation format and discussion of the ethical issues.  Application of these issues will continue through the system and population modules addressed in the Science and Practice of Medicine courses within case discussions.

MEDPA 5505 Clinical Assessment for the PA (2)

A ten-week course which focuses on developing foundational physical examination and history taking skills.  Didactic lectures on exam techniques and basic interpretation of physical exam findings are given.  Physical exam skills labs, patient simulations, and small group discussions provide opportunities to develop critical reasoning skills essential to patient evaluation and management.

MEDPA 5511 Clinical Practicum I (1)

A one semester course that will consist of a variety of activities including lectures, clinical exposure, interprofessional education activities, service learning, and community health experiences.  Emphasis will be on developing communication skills, exhibiting professional behaviors, recognizing diversity and needs of the community, and identifying attributes of a health care team.

MEDPA 5512 Clinical Practicum II (1)

A one semester course that will consist of a variety of activities including lectures, clinical exposure, interprofessional education activities, service learning, and community health experiences.  Emphasis will be on developing communication skills, exhibiting professional behaviors, recognizing diversity and needs of the community, and identifying attributes of a health care team.

MEDPA 5513 Clinical Practicum III (1)

A one semester course that will consist of a variety of activities including lectures, clinical exposure, interprofessional education activities, service learning, and community health experiences.  Emphasis will be on developing communication skills, exhibiting professional behaviors, recognizing diversity and needs of the community, and identifying attributes of a health care team.

MEDPA 5514 Clinical Practicum IV (1)

A one semester course that will consist of a variety of activities including lectures, clinical exposure, interprofessional education activities, service learning, and community health experiences.  Emphasis will be on developing communication skills, exhibiting professional behaviors, recognizing diversity and needs of the community, and identifying attributes of a health care team.

MEDPA 5521 PA Professions I (1)

This is the first course in the PA Professions series that will focus on the history of the PA profession including the social, regulatory, ethical and professional aspects.  Instruction will also be provided in clinical management practices and procedures including coding systems for diagnosis and reimbursement, quality assurance and risk management.

MEDPA 5522 PA Professions II (1)

This is the second course in the PA Professions series that will focus on the impact of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities on health care delivery. The student will become aware of differing health beliefs, values and expectations of patients and other health care professionals that can affect communication, decision-making, compliance and health outcomes.

MEDPA 5523 PA Professions III (1)

This is the third course in the PA Professions series. This course will provide basic doctrines and principles of the law to serve as a foundation for legally and ethically sound medical practice. It will include a comprehensive coverage of the history of legal medicine in the United States, the dynamics of the law applied to medical issues and the recent developments in health care delivery and biomedical issues. The legal and ethical issues of narrative medicine in medical practice and its practical applications will be explored and discussed.

MEDPA 5524 PA Professions IV (1)

This is the fourth course in the PA Professions series. This course will give students knowledge of the evolution of the health care industry’s components and describe the technical, economic, political and social forces that shaped their development. Principles of health policy and public health will be discussed so the student will have a systematic way of thinking about health care in the United States, its problems and the alternatives for managing these problems.

MEDPA 5531 Science and Practice of Medicine I (9)

This course builds upon the basic and clinical sciences already offered to present the disease processes of body systems in terms of etiology, historical data, clinical signs and symptoms, diagnosis, current treatment to include pharmacotherapeutics and lifestyle changes of common disease processes and the interrelationship of body systems in the makeup of the whole patient. Major emphasis is on etiology of disease, physiology, pathophysiology, basic medical sciences, pertinent preventive medicine initiatives and nutrition, pertinent laboratory medicine perspectives and radiographical concerns.  The student will build on the physical examination knowledge base as well as the pertinent clinical skills.  S&P of Medicine I provides an integrated approach to several subdivisions that divide the course content by clinical specialty or system, which include Dermatology, Hematology and Neurology.

MEDPA 5532 Science and Practice of Medicine II (12)

This course builds upon the basic and clinical sciences already offered to present the disease processes of body systems in terms of etiology, historical data, clinical signs and symptoms, diagnosis, current treatment to include pharmacotherapeutics and lifestyle changes of common disease processes and the interrelationship of body systems in the makeup of the whole patient. Major emphasis is on etiology of disease, physiology, pathophysiology, basic medical sciences, pertinent preventive medicine initiatives and nutrition, pertinent laboratory medicine perspectives and radiographical concerns.  The student will build on the physical examination knowledge base as well as the pertinent clinical skills.  S&P of Medicine II provides an integrated approach to several subdivisions that divide the course content by clinical specialty or system, which include EENT and Cardiology.

MEDPA 5533 Science and Practice of Medicine III (20)

This course builds upon the basic and clinical sciences already offered to present the disease processes of body systems in terms of etiology, historical data, clinical signs and symptoms, diagnosis, current treatment to include pharmacotherapeutics and lifestyle changes of common disease processes and the interrelationship of body systems in the makeup of the whole patient. Major emphasis is on etiology of disease, physiology, pathophysiology, basic medical sciences, pertinent preventive medicine initiatives and nutrition, pertinent laboratory medicine perspectives and radiographical concerns.  The student will build on the physical examination knowledge base as well as the pertinent clinical skills.  S&P of Medicine III provides an integrated approach to several subdivisions that divide the course content by clinical specialty or system, which include Genitourinary, Gastrointestinal/Nutrition, Endocrine, and Pulmonology.

MEDPA 5534 Science and Practice of Medicine IV (19)

This course builds upon the basic and clinical sciences already offered to present the disease processes of body systems in terms of etiology, historical data, clinical signs and symptoms, diagnosis, current treatment to include pharmacotherapeutics and lifestyle changes of common disease processes and the interrelationship of body systems in the makeup of the whole patient. Major emphasis is on etiology of disease, physiology, pathophysiology, basic medical sciences, pertinent preventive medicine initiatives and nutrition, pertinent laboratory medicine perspectives and radiographical concerns.  The student will build on the physical examination knowledge base as well as the pertinent clinical skills.  S&P of Medicine IV provides an integrated approach to several subdivisions that divide the course content by clinical specialty or system, which include Renal Orthopedics/Rheumatology, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Behavioral Health, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, and Emergency Medicine.

MEDPA 5610 Family Medicine I Rotation (4)

This required four week rotation will require student to participate in the delivery of ambulatory primary care.  The students will study problems commonly encountered in family medicine situations occurring in ambulatory clinics in an urban or rural setting.  The students will develop an appreciation for the skills of other allied health professionals and observe the efficient utilization of these personnel.

MEDPA 5611 Family Medicine II Rotation (4)

This required four week rotation will require student to participate in the delivery of ambulatory primary care.  The students will study problems commonly encountered in family medicine situations occurring in ambulatory clinics in an urban or rural setting.  The students will develop an appreciation for the skills of other allied health professionals and observe the efficient utilization of these personnel.

MEDPA 5620 Internal Medicine I Rotation (4)

This required 4 week rotation will require the student to actively participate in all aspects of direct patient care in inpatient and/or outpatient adult medicine. This fundamental clinical experience places emphasis on patient evaluation and assessment, oral and written case presentations, understanding the complexities and interrelationships of disease processes and diagnostic and therapeutic collaboration. 

MEDPA 5621 Internal Medicine II Rotation (4)

This required 4 week rotation will require the student to actively participate in all aspects of direct patient care in inpatient and/or outpatient adult medicine. This fundamental clinical experience places emphasis on patient evaluation and assessment, oral and written case presentations, understanding the complexities and interrelationships of disease processes and diagnostic and therapeutic collaboration.

MEDPA 5630 Emergency Medicine Rotation (4)

This required 4 week rotation provides in-depth exposure to the illnesses and injuries sustained by adults and children that necessitate emergency care. The student is expected to assess different types of emergencies and to provide appropriate treatment under the supervision of the physician.  The student will participate as a member of a team in the assessment and care of major trauma and cardiac emergencies.

MEDPA 5640 Women’s Health Rotation (4)

This required 4 week rotation provides an exposure to problems and issues associated with women’s health care, primarily in the ambulatory setting.  Emphasis is placed on learning experiences in family planning and birth control, the recognition and treatment of sexually transmitted disease, cancer detection and prevention, prenatal care, and the evaluation and treatment of common ambulatory gynecologic problems.  Students may have exposure to the delivery room and surgical suite.

MEDPA 5650 Pediatrics Rotation (4)

This required 4 week rotation provides the student with experience in the ambulatory and institutionally-based care of neonates, infants, children and adolescents. Settings may include hospitals, clinics and private practice sites.  The rotation is intended to provide the opportunity to refine the techniques of history-taking and physical examination specific to the pediatric population, and to provide experience in parental education and guidance, appropriate milestone recognition, illness, injury, and accident prevention, and care unique to the needs of the adolescent patient.

MEDPA 5660 General Surgery Rotation (4)

This required 4 week rotation provides experience in the management of patients who present with surgical problems. Preoperative preparation and evaluation of patients for surgery, intra-operative assistance, operative procedures, the care of surgical wounds and postoperative complications are stressed.

MEDPA 5670 Behavioral Health Rotation (4)

This 2-4 week clinical rotation provides experience working with patients in a psychiatric/behavioral medicine setting. Emphasis is placed on the clinical presentation, diagnostic work-up, treatment and management of these patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

MEDPA 5680 Geriatrics Rotation (4)

This 2-4 week rotation provides the student with exposure to the principles and practice of geriatrics and the diseases and conditions common to the elder population. The student will develop an increased understanding of the social, economic and environmental factors related to the elder and their family including end-of-life decision-making.

MEDPA 5580 Senior Seminar (1)

A one semester course focusing on small group discussion, study and review of previously covered topics in preparation for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE).

MEDPA 5581 Professional Development for the PA (1.5)

A one semester course based on lecture and discussion of professional development, topics pertinent to employment and practice as a PA such as licensing and credentialing, avoiding malpractice, healthcare financing and delivery systems, and career and leadership opportunities.  Students will develop their professional portfolio.

MEDPA 5595 Capstone (1)

The capstone experience is a one semester course for the physician assistant program. The purpose of this course is to align didactic, clinical and professional instruction as well as Graduate Learning Competencies into a project that will have lasting impact for patients, clinical practice, PA education and/or the PA profession.

Clinical Rotations

Required Clinical Experiences

Students will receive forty weeks of training in the core clinical areas of family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, general surgery, behavioral health, geriatrics and emergency medicine. Each required rotation is four weeks in length.

Required Clinical Rotations
  • MEDPA 5610 Family Medicine I
  • MEDPA 5611 Family Medicine II
  • MEDPA 5620 Internal Medicine I
  • MEDPA 5621 Internal Medicine II
  • MEDPA 5630 Emergency Medicine
  • MEDPA 5640 Women’s Health
  • MEDPA 5650 Pediatrics
  • MEDPA 5660 General Surgery
  • MEDPA 5670 Behavioral Health
  • MEDPA 5680 Geriatrics

These clinical experiences are under the supervision of assigned preceptors in approved clinical sites. Students have the opportunity to examine and treat patients with urgent, emergent, acute and chronic medical conditions. Student clinical experiences include healthcare services that are provided in outpatient and inpatient settings (including surgical environments), and the delivery of healthcare for patients of all ages. The student will gain proficiency and experience working as a member of an organized health care team, will deliver patient education, and participate in the continuity of healthcare for the patient. Students are required to complete eight weeks of elective clinical rotations ranging from two to four weeks in length.

Elective Clinical Experiences

This clinical experience is a student-selected experience that meets program defined expectations.  The experience is chosen either from a site in the program’s database or from a site the student proposes that meets program approval. The Program reserves the right to assign the student a specific elective to meet expected program clinical expectations and learning competencies. The experience gives students an opportunity to enhance an area of interest and/or a potential location for future clinical practice.  Generally, the elective is scheduled later in the clinical year of study.

Policies & Procedures

General Policies

This page is intended to be a general overview of the PA program policies.  A complete guide to these policies is contained in the PA program student handbook and the School of Medicine handbook, distributed to all matriculating students.

Advanced Placement

Course work in the Physician Assistant program is different from most traditional graduate programs. Due to the knowledge base of each semester building on the knowledge base from the previous semester, it is vital that all students of the UMKC Physician Assistant program complete the required work in the prescribed sequence. No advanced placement, or substitution of coursework based on prior academic or clinical experience, within the PA program is allowed.

Student Employment

Full or part-time employment is strongly discouraged while a student, but not prohibited. Due to the rigorous nature of the program, the demands placed on students are extremely high, particularly with respect to the clinical work schedule and associated study requirements. Non-program activities shall not interfere with academic or clinical requirements of the program.

Students are not required to work for the program. Students may not, by position or responsibility, be employed or function as instructional faculty or substitute for clinical or administrative staff during clinical rotations. UMKC employee policies do not apply to students while in the program. An MMSPA student, credentialed or licensed in other non-PA professions cannot function in that role while in the role of an MMSPA student. Students must not accept payment while on rotation for work at clinical sites. Rotation experiences are for educational purposes only.

Remediation

Remediation in the Didactic Phase

Remediation in the didactic phase will occur when a MMSPA student fails to successively pass a module exam or clinical assessment/skill check off in the following courses: MEDPA 5531, MEDPA 5532, MEDPA 5533, and MEDPA 5534.

In the event that a student fails a module exam (<70%), the course director will notify the student. The student will then meet with their advisor to formulate a remediation plan. The remediation plan will be tailored to the failed learning outcomes and may consist of appropriate reading, other applicable learning activities, working with relevant instructional faculty, and accessing SOM academic resources for assistance.

The student will have the opportunity to take a remediation exam and must earn a score ≥ 70% to pass. A student is allowed only one attempt at the remediation exam. Regardless of the remediation exam score, the score equal to 70% will be awarded. A student may not remediate more than 50% of the module exams in any one semester. Achieving less than 70% on more than 50% of the module exams in a semester will result in failure of the course.

In the event a student fails a module clinical assessment or skills exam by scoring below the program set passing score, the student will meet with their advisor to formulate a remediation plan. The student will have the opportunity to take a remediation clinical assessment and/or skills exam and must score the program set expectation in order to pass. The student is allowed only one attempt at the remediation exam. Regardless of the remediation clinical assessment or skill exam score, the minimum passing score for the exam will be awarded.

Students must complete any and all remediation exams prior to the end of the course.

Students who fail to successfully complete a remediation plan and/or exam will be referred to the Allied Health Committee on Progression for further determination.

Remediation in the Clinical Phase

Remediation in the clinical phase will occur when students fail to successfully pass the end of rotation exam (EOR) for the following subjects: family medicine, internal medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, general surgery, psychiatry, and emergency medicine.

Students must pass the EOR exam to pass the course. Failure to achieve the program-defined pass rate for the EOR exam on the first attempt will result in the student enrolling in a study course immediately following the rotation in which the EOR exam was not passed. Failure to pass the EOR exam at the end of the initial study course will result in a second study course and a third attempt to pass the EOR exam. Failure to successfully pass the end of rotation exam on the third attempt will result in failure of the course.

Enrollment in a study course(s) will result in the extension of a student’s program of student to allow for the completion of required clinical rotations and may result in a delay of graduation. Financial costs associated with an extended program of student are the responsibility of the student.

Remediation of the Promotion & Summative Exam

Students who fail to meet the program set passing score for passage of the promotion and/or summative exam will be given one chance to remediate each exam. Students who fail to achieve a passing score will be notified by the Program Director. Students will then meet with the Program Director and the student’s academic advisor to formulate a remediation plan. The remediation plan may consist of appropriate reading and activities relative to subject areas of need, scheduled meetings with identified faculty and identification of SOM resources for assistance.

The time required to remediate either exam may result in a delay of program completion and graduation. Students who fail to successfully remediate the promotion and/or summative exam will appear before the Allied Health Committee on Progression for further determination.

Graduate Learning Outcomes

The UMKC MMSPA program utilizes the Graduate Learning Outcomes as a foundation for student instruction and experiences and a guide to competency assessments.  The eight learning outcomes described below consist of Interpersonal and Communication skills, Medical Knowledge, Professionalism, Practice-based Learning and Improvement, Systems-based Practice, Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, Social, Cultural, and Community Contexts of Health Care, and Patient Care.  Our curriculum and clinical experiences allow students to develop the skills and acquire the knowledge base to meet the intermediate objectives for each outcome prior to entering the clinical phase and the advanced objectives as a requirement for graduation from the program.

Interpersonal and communication skills include effective verbal, nonverbal, written, and electronic exchange of information.  Physician Assistants must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, patients’ families, physicians, professional associates, and other individuals with the health care system.

Medical knowledge includes the synthesis of pathophysiology, patient presentation, differential diagnosis, patient management, surgical principles, health promotion, and disease prevention.  Students will demonstrate core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care in their area of practice.  In addition, students are expected to demonstrate an investigative and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations.

Professionalism is the expression of positive values and ideals as care is delivered.  Foremost, it involves prioritizing the interests of those being served above one’s own.  Students must acknowledge their professional and personal limitations.  Professionalism also requires that students practice without impairment from substance abuse, cognitive deficiency or mental illness.  Students must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population, and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements.

Practice-based learning and improvement includes the processes through which physician assistants engage in critical analysis of their own practice experience, the medical literature, and other information resources for the purposes of self- and practice-improvement.

Systems-based practice encompasses the societal, organizational, and economic environments in which health care is delivered.  Students must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of health care to provide patient care that balances quality and costs, while maintaining the primacy of the individual patient.

Interprofessional collaborative practice exists when multiple healthcare workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families and communities to deliver the highest quality of care. The nature and practice agreement of the Physician Assistant profession lends itself to this type of practice. Students must demonstrate integrated enactment of knowledge, skills, and values/attitudes that define working together across the professions, with other health care workers, and with patients, along with families and communities, as appropriate to improve health outcomes in specific care contexts.

Social, Cultural and Community Contexts of Health Care involves the diverse factors that influence the health of the individual and the community.  Students must be able to identify the socio-cultural, familial, psychological, economic, environmental, legal, political and spiritual factors impacting health care and health care delivery; and respond to these factors by planning and advocating the appropriate course of action at both the individual and the community level.

Patient care includes patient- and setting-specific assessment, evaluation, and management.  Students must demonstrate care that is effective, safe, high quality, and equitable; work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals to provide patient-centered care; obtain essential and accurate information about their patients; make decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, current scientific evidence, and informed clinical judgment; develop and implement patient management plans; perform medical and surgical procedures essential to their area of practice and; provide health care services and education aimed at disease prevention and health maintenance.

Program Goals & Objectives

Program Goals

1. To graduate competent Physician Assistants.

The first class (cohort) of Physician Assistant students graduated in May 2016. Data reflecting outcomes from the following objectives are listed below each objective.

Specific objectives:

    • Program PANCE pass rate equal to or above the national average
      • All graduating cohorts have a 100% 98% first attempt PANCE pass rate. The national five-year first time pass rate average in 2019 was 93%. National results for 2020 will be available in 2021.
    • Graduates will meet the published Program graduate competencies and requirements
      • All students must pass a summative exam developed to meet graduate learning competencies at the end of the clinical year. This OSCE assesses each student’s adequate preparation for entry into clinical practice. In 2016, 100% of the cohort passed within 2 attempts. In 2017, 100% of the cohort passed on the first attempt.

 

2. To advance the Physician Assistant profession.

The first class (cohort) of Physician Assistant students graduated in May 2016. Data reflecting outcomes from the following objectives are listed below each objective.

Specific objectives:

•  Increase employment of PAs in the state of Missouri

Graduates from the first cohort (May 2016) all received full time positions post graduation. 57% of graduates (8 of 14) are practicing in the state of Missouri. Additionally, 4 graduates took positions in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

•  Prepare graduates to practice in both rural and urban underserved areas

As stated in our mission statement, we strive to educate Physician Assistants who are prepared to meet the healthcare needs of our community, which would include both rural and urban underserved areas in the state of Missouri.  To achieve this goal the UMKC MMSPA Program integrates multiple rural settings and utilizes urban health clinics located in Kansas City for clinical rotations and Practicum courses.  Additionally, PA students complete experiences at Sojourner Clinic, a student run free clinic providing outpatient care to the homeless and underprivileged population.

•  Recruit a highly qualified and diverse faculty and student body

The following data, from the last five cohorts of PA students (2015-2019) serves as evidence of admitting student body that reflects this objective.

Average Undergraduate / Cumulative GPA 3.68
Average Pre-Requisite GPA 3.66
Average GRE Score 308
Average Number of Shadowing Hours 37
Percent of Students from Missouri / Non-Missouri 73% / 27%
Number of States Non-Missouri Students Represent 5
Percent of Female vs. Male Students 70% / 30%
Percent of Underrepresented Minority v. Non-Minority Students 12% / 88%

 

•  Promote a culture of service among students and faculty

As stated in our mission statement, our graduates will advance the Physician Assistant profession through clinical excellence, service, and dedication to professional stewardship.  Students are instructed on professional stewardship early in their education with presentations from the Missouri Academy of Physician Assistants introducing the responsibility of professional involvement.  Students serve the homeless and underprivileged population of Kansas City through Sojourner Clinic, a student run free health clinic.  For the past three years PA students and faculty have adopted a family through Operation Breakthrough to provide support through the holiday season.  Faculty fulfill service commitments as members of numerous Program and School of Medicine committees.  Students are encouraged and allowed opportunity to attend Local, State and National PA meetings such as the Missouri Academy Annual Meeting and the American Academy of Physician Assistants annual conference.

Faculty and Staff

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Leadership
Lindsay T. Abernethy, MMSc, PA-C

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Interim Program Director
Abernethy, Lindsay T.
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Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., F.C.C.P.

Assistant Dean , Chair and Professor – Department of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine
Department(s) of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Internal Medicine
Section: Pharmacology
UMKC School of Medicine
Banderas, Julie
235-5249
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Laura Begley, Ed.D

Assistant Dean
Graduate Health Professions in Medicine
UMKC School of Medicine
Begley, Laura
235-5412
Biography
  • Doctor of Education- University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Master of Business Administration & Master of Arts- Lindenwood University
  • Bachelor of Arts- Lindenwood University

Laura joined the UMKC staff in 2009 as Program Assistant for the Master of Science in Anesthesia (MSA) program and spent seven years as the program coordinator for the Office of Allied Health. During that time her work in part supported the achievement of continued accreditation for the Physician Assistant (PA) program. Her current role as Associate Director for the Department of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine allows her to serve students in the MSA, PA, and Health Professions in Medicine programs. She serves as a member of the admissions committee for the AA & PA programs and previously served as a Copyright Advocate for the School of Medicine and an evaluator for the UMKC RooWriter writing assessment program.

Laura has more than 15 years of experience working in higher education and nonprofit organizations. In her personal time, Laura is committed to serving her community through the work of the Waldo Brookside Rotary Club. She is a proud charter member, as well as an acting executive board member of the club.

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Edwin Kraemer, M.D.

Assistant Professor, Years 1-2 Docent, Medical Director - Physician Assistant Program, Director - Family Medicine Preceptorship, Clinical Faculty - Sojourner Clinic
Department(s) of Community and Family Medicine
Truman Medical Center - Lakewood
Kraemer, Edwin
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Program Staff
Amber Blair

Student Support Specialist II
Department(s) of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine
Blair, Amber
235-1924
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Roslyn Powell

Student Support Specialist
Graduate Health Professions in Medicine
Powell, Roslyn
235-1863
Biography

Roz joined the UMKC staff in 1998 she’s worked with the School of Education Department and the Career Services Staff and in 2015 she joined the Allied Health Program.

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Program Faculty
Sara Cox, MPAS, PA-C

Assistant Teaching Professor, Director of Didactic Education
Department(s) of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine
UMKC School of Medicine
Cox, Sara
235-1975
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Darlene Hirst, MHS, BSN, RN, PA-C

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Hirst, Darlene
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Stephanie Painter, MPA-C

Assistant Teaching Professor, Director of Assessment and Student Learning
Department(s) of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine
UMKC School of Medicine
Painter, Stephanie
235-1982
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Instructional Faculty
Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., F.C.C.P.

Assistant Dean , Chair and Professor – Department of Graduate Health Professions in Medicine
Department(s) of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Internal Medicine
Section: Pharmacology
UMKC School of Medicine
Banderas, Julie
235-5249
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Xiang-Ping Chu, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Tenured
Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences
Section: Neurosciences
UMKC School of Medicine Chu, Xiang-Ping

Specialties and Research/Medical Interests

Anesthesiology, Neurology, Pediatric Prenatal

Chu, Xiang-Ping
235-2248
M4-108
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Maria Cole, Ph.D., M.Ed.L.

Associate Teaching Professor
Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences
Section: Anatomy
UMKC School of Medicine
Cole, Maria
235-1904
M3-423
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Theodore Cole, III, Ph.D.

Teaching Professor
Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences
Section: Anatomy
UMKC School of Medicine
Cole, Theodore
235-1829
M3-413
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Paul Cuddy, Pharm.D., M.B.A.

Professor, Vice Dean
Department(s) of Internal Medicine
Section: Pharmacology
UMKC School of Medicine, Truman Medical Center - UMKC Health Sciences District

Specialties and Research/Medical Interests

Clinical Pharmacology

Cuddy, Paul
235-1809
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John Foxworth, Pharm.D.

Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Enrichment, Director of Research, Internal Medicine Residency, Fellow, American College of Clinical Pharmacology and American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Member and UMKC SOM Councilor - AOA (Alpha Omega Alpha)
Department(s) of Internal Medicine
Section: Pharmacology
UMKC School of Medicine, Truman Medical Center - UMKC Health Sciences District Foxworth, John

Specialties and Research/Medical Interests

Teaching research methodology, Biostatistic and evidence-based medicine

Foxworth, John
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Darla McCarthy, Ph.D.

Associate Teaching Professor, Assistant Dean - Curriculum
Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences
Section: Biochemistry
UMKC School of Medicine
McCarthy, Darla
235-1736
M3-419
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Paula Monaghan-Nichols, Ph.D.

Professor, Associate Dean - Research Administration, Chair - Biomedical Sciences
Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences
UMKC School of Medicine Monaghan-Nichols, Paula

Specialties and Research/Medical Interests

Community and Family Medicine, Neurology, Pediatric Oncology

Monaghan-Nichols, Paula
235-6663
M3-403
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Chad D. Touchberry, Ph.D., M.S.

Assistant Teaching Professor
Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences
UMKC School of Medicine
Touchberry, Chad D.
235-1983
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Michael Wacker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Associate Dean - Academic Affairs, Vice-chair - Biomedical Science
Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences
Section: Physiology
UMKC School of Medicine Wacker, Michael

Specialties and Research/Medical Interests

Cardiology, Cell Biology

Wacker, Michael
235-6069
HSB 2232
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James Wooten, Pharm.D.

Associate Professor
Department(s) of Internal Medicine
Section: Pharmacology
UMKC School of Medicine, Truman Medical Center - UMKC Health Sciences District

Specialties and Research/Medical Interests

Clinical Pharmacology

Wooten, James
235-2197
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Kristin Wright, Ph.D.

Associate Teaching Professor
Department(s) of Biomedical Sciences
UMKC School of Medicine
Wright, Kristin
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Technical Standards

All candidates for the Physician Assistant program must have the intellectual ability to learn, integrate, analyze and synthesize data. They must have functional use of the senses of vision, hearing, equilibrium and taste. Their exteroceptive (touch, pain, temperature) and proprioceptive (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis and vibratory) senses must be sufficiently intact to enable them to carry out all activities required for a complete PA education. Candidates must have motor function capabilities to meet the demands of PA education and the demands of total patient care.

The candidate for the PA certificate must possess the following abilities and skills:

Observation
  • The ability to observe is required for demonstrations, visual presentations in lectures and laboratories, laboratory evidence and microbiologic cultures, microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states.
  • A candidate must be able to observe patients accurately and completely, both at a distance and closely. This ability requires functional vision, hearing and somatic sensation.
Communication
  • A candidate should be able to speak, hear and observe patients in order to elicit information, perceive nonverbal communications, and describe changes in mood, activity and posture.
  • The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families including not only speech but reading and writing.
  • Communication in oral, written, and electronic form with the health care team must be effective and efficient.
Motor
  • A candidate should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation and percussion, as well as carry out diagnostic maneuvers.
  • A candidate should have motor function sufficient to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients. Such skills require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and sensation.
  • A candidate should be able to manipulate equipment and instruments to perform basic laboratory tests and procedures required to attain curricular goals (e.g. needles, stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, tongue blades, intravenous equipment, gynecologic speculum, and scalpel).
  • A candidate must be able to transport themselves from one location to another in a timely fashion in order to facilitate patient care responsibilities and to receive educational training.
Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
  • Problem solving is a critical skill demanded of PAs and this requires all these abilities.
  • The candidate must also be able to comprehend three dimensional relationships and the spatial relationships of structures.
  • A candidate must be able to collect, organize, prioritize, analyze and assimilate large amounts of technically detailed and complex information within a limited time frame. This information will be presented in a variety of educational settings, including lectures, small group discussions, and individual clinical settings. The candidate should be able to analyze, integrate, and apply this information appropriately for problem solving and decision-making.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
  • A candidate must have the emotional health to fully use his/her intellectual ability, exercise good judgment, and complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients.
  • A candidate must be able to develop mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and colleagues.
  • A candidate must be able to tolerate physical, mental, and emotional stress in training and continue to function effectively.
  • A candidate must possess qualities of adaptability, flexibility and be able to function in the face of uncertainty. He/she must have a high level of compassion for others, motivation to serve, integrity, and a consciousness of social values.
  • A candidate must possess sufficient interpersonal skills to interact positively with people from all levels of society, all ethnic backgrounds, and all belief systems.
  • A candidate must be able to accept criticism and respond by appropriate modification of behavior.

In the first phase of the program, all PA students are required to attend all classes and educational sessions, master physical examination skills, complete all surgery laboratory exercises, attend assigned patient interactions and complete BLS and ACLS. In the clinical year, students must successfully complete all assigned rotations which may include extended hours of instruction, evenings, nights and weekends. Students must be able to transport themselves to all training sites. It is the responsibility of each applicant to affirm that they meet these technical standards upon entrance to the Physician Assistant Program. During enrollment, the program’s Committee on Progression will monitor students for continuing compliance with technical standards. The faculty of the Physician Assistant Program recognizes its responsibility to present candidates for the PA certificate who have the knowledge and skills to function in a wide variety of clinical situations and to render a broad spectrum of patient care.