Mission and Goals

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 to:

1. to prepare trainees with the necessary knowledge and skills to reliably perform the role of a physician assistant beyond the typical classroom settings by utilizing simulation, clinical immersion, telemedicine, electronic medical record and other current technologies,

2. to promote a lifelong responsibility for ongoing learning and active participation in the evolving practice of medicine and changing health care environments. Students will benefit from examples of leadership and strategies to deliver quality care in collaboration with other health care professionals to achieve optimal patient outcomes,

3. to instill a professional and ethical identity in each student based on the education for the mind, heart and spirit that is achieved at Duquesne, while embracing broadly defined diversity and inclusion in patient care,

4. to recruit and retain faculty who share a goal for delivering a comprehensive curriculum, serve as role models and mentors, and are willing to actively contribute to the profession via service and scholarship.

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 2020 are outlined below. 

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

1. The curriculum builds upon the strong preparation in Anatomy I (Fall semester of the 3rd year) and Anatomy II (Spring semester of the 3rd year) that students receive in the pre-professional phase in the program. Among the Class of 2022, 87% of students received the final course grade of an ‘A' in the 4-credit anatomy courses which involves human dissection,

2. All of the students in the Class of 2020 participated in small group simulations involving adult, child and birthing mannequins. All graduates in the Class of 2020 spent approximately 10 hours in the simulation lab throughout the accredited phase (27 months) of the program,

3. Utilized appropriate software and technology thought out the didactic and clinical phases of the program. The concept of utilizing the below software packages in the following courses:
    * EHR Go - History and Physical Examination Series, Fundamental of Pediatrics, Fundamentals of Surgery, Clinical Encounters in the 4th year of the program and during patient encounters via telemedicine in the clinical year.
    * Complete Anatomy - Reference materials that are used in lab preparation for History and Physical Examination Series.
    * i-Human Patients - Introduced during Clinical Externships, this active e-learning and telemedicine allows students to continue to build diagnostic competency and clinical judgement skills as the student progresses through the didactic phase of the program.
    * Shadow Health - Educational simulation technology that is used throughout the History and Physical Examination Series.
    * Aquifer Wise onCall - Clinical Encounters and Clinical Seminar Series where modules are designed to educate and prepare students as they start their clinical rotation experiences.
    * AccessMedicine - Seminar in Diagnostic Test Interpretation, Fundamentals of Pediatrics, Fundamentals of Surgery, Clinical Encounters, Clinical Seminar Series and History and Physical Examination Series utilize this comprehensive resource.

4. 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 98% of graduates in the Class of 2020 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,

5. Approximately 68% of graduates in the Class of 2020 enrolled in the undergraduate course entitled Disparities in Healthcare prior to starting the accredited phase of the program,

6. Students in the Class of 2020 have successful passed each of the eight clinical rotations (7 required and 1 elective of their choice) on their first attempt,

7. Approximately 84% of graduates in the Class of 2020 earned a high pass on at least one clinical rotation throughout the clinical year,

8. Approximately 17% of graduates in the Class of 2020 earned high pass on at least four clinical rotations throughout the clinical year,

9. All students in the Class of 2020 were Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certified prior to starting their clinical year,

10. All students in the Class of 2020 benefited from early integration into patient care environments during the didactic year of the curriculum such experiences included the burn unit, critical care unit, CORE (Center for Organ Recover and Education), neurological intensive care unit, ambulance services, children's emergency room, UPMC children's bone marrow transplant, emergency room and radiology.

• 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 2020 being accepted to the UPMC Neonatology Fellowship Program. Another 2020 graduate was named the first student director of the PAVMT (Pas in Virtual Medicine and Telemedicine). Three students in the Class of 2021 received the Department of Veterans Affair Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP) Physician Assistant Scholarship,

3. Students in the Class of 2020 logged a total of 82,762 patient encounters throughout the clinical year,

4. All graduates in the Class of 2020 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 student in the Class of 2020 participated in the day and half Substance Use Disorder Symposium along with the students from the School of Pharmacy,

6. 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 last three years have passed the initial certification exam (PANCE).

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 an evidence-based medicine paper, oral presentation, and development of a manuscript suitable for publishing. Students choose a topic of interest based on a case and do in depth research using conscientious, explicit, judicious and reasonable use of modern, best evidence in making decision about the care of individual patients.