Mission

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 2019 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 2019 participated in small group simulations involving adult, child and birthing mannequins. All graduates in the Class of 2019 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 2019 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 60% of graduates in the Class of 2019 enrolled in the undergraduate course entitled Disparities in Healthcare prior to starting the accredited phase of the program.

  4. Approximately 98% of graduates in the Class of 2019 were successful in passing each of the eight clinical rotations (7 required and 1 elective of their choice) on their first attempt.

  5. About half (49%) 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 2019 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 a graduate of the Class of 2019 being accepted to the Yale School of Medicine PA Surgical Residency Program. Another 2019 graduate was accepted into Penn Medicine & the University of Pennsylvania Fellowship Program.

  3. Students in the Class of 2019 logged a total of 71,588 patient encounters throughout the clinical year. 

  4. All graduates in the Class of 2019 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. All students in the Class of 2021 completed a course entitled Health Policy, Ethics and the Law in which all final course grades were an "A".  

• 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 Classes of 2017 and 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, Ethics and the Law course offered during the spring semester of the 4th year of the program. 

  3.  As a cohort, the Class of 2019 scored above the national average on the initial certification examination in the following organ systems: gastrointestinal system/nutrition, male genitourinary system and neurologic system. 

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 2019 participated in the Duquesne University Graduate Research Symposium with Brielle Corrente selected to give a formal oral presentation during the symposium. Ms. Corrente also was the recipient of one of the prestigious Provost's Awards for Outstanding Research for her project entitled: Aortoduodenal Fistula Formation for Primary Aortic Stump Graft in a Two-time Multivisceral Transplant Patient with a Presentation of a Gastrointestinal Bleed and Bowel Perforation: A Case Report.