Elon, Novant Health partner on clinical education in Charlotte area

Through the new partnership, students in Elon’s Physician Assistant Studies program will participate in hands-on clinical education at Novant Health practices and facilities in the Charlotte area.

Students in Elon’s Physician Assistant Studies program will have the opportunity to undertake hands-on clinical education in the Charlotte metro area through a new partnership with Novant Health, a multi-state nonprofit health care system with a significant presence in North Carolina’s largest city.

University leaders met with Novant Health leaders at Elon Charlotte on Wednesday, March 6, for a formal signing ceremony to celebrate the new partnership. Elon has been increasing its presence in Charlotte with the addition of its new national campus location in the city’s South End neighborhood in fall 2023. The new agreement will open up new opportunities for students in Elon’s School of Health Sciences and expand Elon’s presence and offerings in the city.

President Connie Ledoux Book and Dr. Sidney Fletcher of Novant Health signing an agreement through which Elon physician assistant studies students will participate in clinical education experiences at Novant Health sites. Provost Rebecca Kohn, left, and Dean Maha Lund, second from left, look on.

“This partnership will enhance the options available to students in Elon’s nationally recognized Physician Assistant Studies program as they build their knowledge and skills by practicing hands-on care,” said Maha Lund, dean of the School of Health Sciences. “We’re excited to strengthen this connection with Novant Health and to see our students grow through their work with their health care providers.”

Up to 10 Elon students in the Physician Assistant Studies program will be learning in Novant Health facilities through the partnership, with up to five participating in clinical education with Novant Health in Charlotte this year and up to five more working in Charlotte in 2025. Novant Health is a nonprofit health care system with 19 medical centers, more than 2,000 physicians and over 850 locations, primarily in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Through the partnership, each student will participate in six-week rotations in each of the following areas: primary care, pediatrics, emergency medicine, inpatient medicine, surgery and an elective area of care. Students will also complete three-week rotations in women’s health and behavioral medicine.

“Clinical experience is a vital part of medical education and Novant Health is thrilled to partner with Elon University to guide future physician assistants as they gain necessary skills in the field,” said Dr. Sidney Fletcher, chief clinical officer for the Novant Health greater Charlotte region. “By investing in the education and professional growth of these students, together, we will build a strong pipeline of future medical providers who can provide remarkable care to our community.”

Elon’s Physician Assistant Studies program is a 24-month, full-time program in which students immerse themselves in a curriculum structured around active learning strategies through collaborative work with Elon’s faculty, scholars and practitioners in the field. Midway through the program, students receive their white coats during a ceremony that marks their transition into the clinical education portion of the program. Students complete a master’s project that supports and promotes professional development in the areas of accessing, critically appraising and applying the best available evidence to address a research, patient care or policy question relevant to physician assistant practice or education.