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The Program's overall purpose is to provide the highest quality of academic and clinical training that prepares our graduates to be certified and licensed to practice as extenders of physicians in a competent and reliable manner.

The mission of the Duquesne University Department of Physician Assistant Studies is five-fold:

  1. to prepare trainees with the necessary knowledge and skills to reliably perform the role of a physician assistant,
  2. to promote a lifelong responsibility for ongoing learning and active participation in a changing health care environment,
  3. to instill a professional identity in each student based on the education for the mind, heart and spirit that is achieved at Duquesne,
  4. to prepare graduates to provide quality primary health care among rural, urban and minority populations, and
  5. to expand knowledge beyond primary care.

Duquesne University provides an environment in which we can enrich the mind and the life of the spirit by providing the highest quality of educational and clinical professionalism, and maintaining an atmosphere of inclusion, tolerance and free exchange of ideas that fosters critical thinking and problem-solving. The faculty work with the students in a values-laden environment to achieve this end. The Rangos School, through the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, encourages students to examine the moral and ethical foundations of their thoughts and actions, and to develop their values and ethical commitment as it relates to the provision and delivery of healthcare services.

As stated above, the Program's overall purpose is to provide the highest quality of academic and clinical training that will prepare our graduates to become certified and licensed to practice as extenders of physicians in a competent and reliable manner. To fulfill this purpose for overarching goals guide the Program. The specific goals and evidence of how these goals have been met via the Class of 2016 are outlined below:

  • to provide an innovative and stimulating course of study through an integrated set of educational experiences
  1. 100% of the students in the Class of 2016 participated in small group simulations involving adult, child and birthing mannequins. All graduates in the Class of 2016 spent approximately 8 hours in the simulation lab throughout the accredited phase of the program.
  2. Throughout the didactic phase students get to interact with "real" patients, many of whom are recruited by faculty who work clinically one day per week. Students are evaluated by these patients for communication skills and interpersonal relations. All graduates in the Class of 2016 earned >85% when they obtained a full history and performed a full physical examination on these Patients who are also experienced consumers of healthcare.
  3. Approximately 70% of graduates in the Class of 2016 enrolled in the undergraduate course entitled Disparities in Healthcare prior to starting the accredited phase of the program.
  4. All graduates in the Class of 2016 were successful in passing each of the eight clinical rotations (7 required and 1 elective of their choice) during their first attempt.
  5. 50% of graduates earned a high pass on at least one clinical rotation throughout the clinical year.
  6. 29% of graduates earned high pass on at least four clinical rotations throughout the clinical year.
  •  to facilitate an understanding of core medical sciences, patient care, cultural values, public policy issues, and critical thinking that will enable future physician assistants to assume positions of responsibility
  1. Based upon the structural design of the Program and its curriculum, we have created a unique educational model that takes inexperienced, novice candidates and transforms them into experienced and professional healthcare workers for the 21st century healthcare environment. Students successfully complete the rigorous course of study and are highly competitive in the employment arena. The Class of 2016 is evidence of successful employment, with 96% employed following graduation. The success of the curriculum is evidenced by the 96% pass rate for first time test takers on the 2016 PANCE.
  2. Graduates achieve 100% employment rates upon successful completion of the Program, as evidenced by the graduating Class of 2016.
  3. In addition, graduates are able to successfully compete for seats in post-graduate residency programs, with two graduates of the Class of 2016 achieving this goal.
  • to graduate a cadre of educated and clinically-competent professionals able to serve the public by delivering high quality, cost-effective medical services while simultaneously improving access to care
  1. All graduates in the Class of 2016 earned either an A or B as a final course grade in the required, 2-credit Health Policy course offered during the spring semester of the 4th year of the program.
  2. Graduates of the Class of 2016 performed exceptionally well with 96% passing the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) on the first attempt.

As Physician Assistants, our graduates are well educated on the healthcare system. By the nature and design of this profession, graduates are providing high quality, accessible and cost-effective healthcare in a variety of medical and surgical settings.

  • to engage in meaningful research applicable to the interests and needs of the physician assistant profession

Since 2010, the students have undergone a rigorous research exercise as a part of their PHYA 540 Master's Independent Research/Study course. This involves the development of a case study including a poster presentation, oral presentation, and development of a manuscript, suitable for publishing. All members of the Class of 2017 participated in the Graduate Research Symposium with Hayley Stettner receiving an honorable mention by the Honors College. Also, 5 PA students were selected to give a formal oral presentation during the symposium.