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Physician Assistant Studies program receives approval

Elon University’s new PA program has been granted provisional accreditation.

Elon's Physician Assistant Studies master's program will be located in the Gerald L. Francis Center.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation - Provisional to the Elon University Physician Assistant Program. Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status. The 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. Accreditation – Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status and is limited to no more than five years for any program.

The provisional monitoring visit of the program by the ARC-PA will occur prior to the graduation of the first class of students.

“We are very pleased to have received provisional accreditation for the physician assistant studies program,” said Elon University Provost Steven House. “PA program director Mark Archambault and Elizabeth Rogers, dean of the School of Health Sciences, have brought together a distinguished department of teacher-scholar-mentors. We look forward to their continued excellent work as they prepare to enroll the first class of 38 students next January.”

“The support by the university and surrounding medical community for this program has been instrumental to our early success,” Archambault said. “The quality of the faculty, staff, facilities and charter class of students has greatly exceeded my expectations and raised the bar to a higher level than previously thought possible for developing programs.”

Rogers said the accreditation is the result of hard work by program faculty and staff who adopted the vision for an excellent PA program established by Elon trustees and senior administrators. "In addition, the supportive reception of the medical community in our area has been exceptional; we look forward to a strong partnership with Alamance Regional Medical Center and Cone Health," Rogers said.

Elon University’s Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the Physician Assistant Studies master’s program in October 2010 and the program has been in development since that time. The PA program is headquartered in Elon’s Gerald L. Francis Center, the home of the School of Health Sciences, which also includes the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The building features an anatomy lab, clinical skills lab, simulated outpatient exam rooms, cardiopulmonary auscultation lab, dedicated PA classrooms and meeting areas, all with state-of-the-art technology to foster a learner-centered environment.

Elon's 27-month, full-time program prepares graduates to think critically and act skillfully to meet expanding health care needs in local and global communities. Students will immerse themselves in a curriculum structured around active learning strategies through collaborative work with Elon's faculty, scholars and practitioners in the field.

Including Archambault, the program includes eight full-time principal PA faculty members who have a combined 35 years of full-time PA education teaching experience and 60+ years of full-time clinical experience representing all four primary care disciplines and additional clinical subspecialty experience. The program also includes three staff members who support the program’s administrative, clinical education and simulated patient program needs.

Local clinical partners including Alamance Regional Medical Center and Cone Health have supported the program’s development and provided continued support for the clinical education of PA students.

The ARC-PA is an independent accrediting agency that defines the standards for PA education and evaluates PA educational programs within the territorial United States to ensure their compliance with those standards. The accreditation process is designed to encourage sound educational practices and innovation by programs and to stimulate continuous self-study and improvement.

The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American College of Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and the Physician Assistant Education Association (formerly the Association of Physician Assistant Programs) all cooperate with the ARC-PA as collaborating organizations to establish, maintain, and promote appropriate standards of quality for entry level education of physician assistants and to provide recognition for educational programs that meet the minimum requirements outlined in these standards.

Dan Anderson,
9/19/2012 8:39 AM