E&H Launches Master of Science Program in Physician Assistant Studies

Posted by Rachael Wilbur
Emory & Henry College will officially launch the third graduate offering at the School of Health Sciences on the E&H Marion Campus on May 22 with the addition of the master of physician assistant studies program.

The college has already welcomed their first full class of 30 graduate students in the inaugural class. Students in the first cohort are presently involved in their bootcamp/orientation week and will officially begin classes on May 22. Students and faculty will also participate in their inaugural white coat ceremony on Monday, May 22 at 4 p.m. in the historic Lincoln Theater in Marion, Va.

Students will attend year-round for 27 months and earn a master’s degree. Physician assistants are advanced practice health professionals who practice clinical medicine as members of a team.

“With a unified goal of continuing the E&H mission-centric and learner-centric curriculum, the PA program will focus on student success and civic engagement, helping students to not only become stellar medical providers focused on providing stellar medical care to the underserved, but also more compassionate and contented human beings with first-hand experience in improving access to high quality, patient-centric medical care in the region,” said Dr. Scott Richards, program director.

U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in rankings and consumer advice, listed physician assistant as the #3 ranked job in its 2017 Ranking of the 100 Best Jobs.

Patient-Centric Medical Care

Richards says the program has been designed to be student-centric and mission-focused. To accomplish this, class sizes will remain small. Emphasis will be placed on rural primary care for the underserved and clinical activities will be embedded throughout the educational phase of the program, beginning in the very first week of classes. Clinical activities will include service at the Mel Leaman Free Clinic at Emory & Henry College, also located on the Marion Campus.

The curriculum will feature evidence-based teaching and evaluation methods with emphasis on case-based and experiential learning and will incorporate active learning strategies including flipped classrooms and team-based learning.

Richards states the program will be relatively unique among other PA programs in the U.S.: The program will incorporate mindfulness training throughout the entire curriculum; begin clinical activities the very first week of classes – students will accompany their faculty advisors in providing medical services at the Mel Leaman Free Clinic at Emory & Henry College; have two full semesters of behavioral medicine/psychiatry training; incorporate didiactic training and a clinical rotation in hospice/palliative care; incorporate simulation activities throughout the curriculum.   

The program, housed in new state-of-the-art facilities on the Marion campus, will utilize a ten-room simulation suite with both standardized patient examination rooms and high-fidelity simulation mannequin hospital rooms. Students will have access to a dedicated state-of-the-art cadaver lab.

The program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

  • The Emory & Henry College School of Health Sciences
    The Emory & Henry College School of Health Sciences
“With a unified goal of continuing the E&H mission-centric and learner-centric curriculum, the PA program will focus on student success and civic engagement, helping students to not only become stellar medical providers focused on providing stellar medical care to the underserved, but also more compassionate and contented human beings with first-hand experience in improving access to high quality, patient-centric medical care in the region,” said Dr. Scott Richards, program director.

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