The Program's overall purpose is to provide the highest quality of academic and clinical training that prepares graduates to be certified and licensed of 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 2018 are outlined below:

• to provide an innovative and stimulating course of study through an integrated set of educational experiences

  1. All of the students in the Class of 2018 participated in small group simulations involving adult, child and birthing mannequins. All graduates in the Class of 2018 spent approximately 10 hours in the simulation lab throughout the accredited phase (27 months) of the program.

  2. All didactic phase students participated in the Advanced History Taking Seminar Training involving instruction and role play focusing on challenging patient interactions. Throughout the didactic phase students get to interact with over 20 diverse "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. Approximately 95% of graduates in the Class of 2018 earned 80% or greater when they obtained a full history and performed a full physical examination on these patients who are also experienced consumers of healthcare.

  3. Approximately 80% of graduates in the Class of 2018 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 2018 were successful in passing each of the eight clinical rotations (7 required and 1 elective of their choice) on their first attempt.

  5. Half (52%) of graduates earned a high pass on at least one clinical rotation throughout the clinical year. 

  6. Almost 20% of graduates earned high pass on at least four clinical rotations throughout the clinical year. 

  7. All students in the Class of 2018 were Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certified prior to starting their 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. 

  2. In addition, graduates are able to successfully compete for seats in post-graduate residency programs, with four graduates of the Class of 2018 achieving this goal (Norwalk Hospital and Yale School of Medicine PA Surgical Residency Program, UPMC Advanced Practice Provider Neonatology Residency Program and Allegheny Health Network West Penn Physician Assistant Neonatal Intensive Care Residency Program). 

  3. On average students in the Class of 2018 logged an average of 6,295 patient encounters throughout the clinical year.

  4. All graduates in the Class of 2018 participated in the Inter Professional Education Ethics Seminar and the Grand Rounds Workshop with students from Physical Therapy Occupational Therapy, Athletic Training, Speech-Language Pathology, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Health Management Systems.

  5. The Class of 2018 completed a course entitled Health Policy in which the final course grades included 37 "A's".

• 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 2018 passed the initial certification exam (PANCE) on their first attempt.

  2. All graduates in the Class of 2018 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.

  3. Almost all (99%) of the 2018 graduates would recommend the program to others.

  4. As a cohort, the Class of 2017 scored above the national average on the initial certification examination in the following organ systems: endocrine, gastroenterology, genitourinary, hematology, infectious diseases, and neurology.

  5. As a cohort, the Class of 2017 scored above the national average on the initial certification examination in the following task areas: applying scientific concepts, formulating the most likely diagnosis, health maintenance, and history taking and physical examination.

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

  1. Since the inception of the program, 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.

  2. All members of the Class of 2017 and 2018 participated in the Duquesne University Graduate Research Symposium with Hayley Stettner receiving an honorable mention by the Honors College in 2017 and Julia Marn receiving recognition from the Center of African Studies in 2018. Also, five students were selected to give formal oral presentations during the symposium in 2017 and three were selected to present orally in 2018.