New PA program receives approval to begin classes

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Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., program director

The School of Medicine’s new Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant program cleared its final hurdle for starting classes this winter when the program recently received official written notice of provisional accreditation status from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Provisional status indicates that the plans and resource allocation for the proposed program appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA standards if fully implemented as planned. Provisional accreditation does not ensure subsequent accreditation status and is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., program director, said the School received an earlier email notification that the written approval was forthcoming. Provisional accreditation is required before a program can officially admit students and begin classes.

“It was very exciting to receive that email,” Ervie said. “We felt very good about it. We had a site visit with two site visitors here for two days in June. They gave us their observations and we had responded to those.”

Ervie said the program would begin with an inaugural class of 15 students. The School received nearly 100 applications to be part of that first class and about 40 were interviewed. At least 80 percent of the class will come from the instate application pool, Ervie said.

“We have been very pleased with the number of applications we’ve received and they have been exceptional,” she said.

The first class is scheduled to begin on Jan. 14.

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