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Expansion of Physician Assistant Education

Cawley, James F. MPH, DHL(Hon), PA-C; Jones, P. Eugene PhD, PA-C; Miller, Anthony A. MEd, PA-C; Orcutt, Venetia L. PhD, PA-C

The Journal of Physician Assistant Education: December 2016 - Volume 27 - Issue 4 - p 170–175
doi: 10.1097/JPA.0000000000000097
Special Articles

Abstract: Physician assistant (PA) educational programs were created in the 1960s to prepare a new type of health care practitioner. Physician assistant programs began as experiments in medical education, and later, they proved to be highly successful in preparing capable, flexible, and productive clinicians. The growth of PA educational programs in US medical education—stimulated by grants, public policy, and anticipated shortages of providers—has gone through 3 distinct phases. At present, such programs are in the midst of the third growth spurt that is expected to continue beyond 2020, as a large number of colleges and universities seek to sponsor PA programs and attain accreditation status. Characteristics of these new programs are described, and the implications of the current expansion of PA education are examined.

James F. Cawley, MPH, DHL(Hon), PA-C, is a professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

P. Eugene Jones, PhD, PA-C, is a professor and chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

Anthony A. Miller, MEd, PA-C, is a professor and director of the Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia.

Venetia L. Orcutt, PhD, PA-C, is an associate professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

Correspondence should be addressed to: James F. Cawley, MPH, DHL(Hon), PA-C, Department of Prevention and Community Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University, 950 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20052. Telephone: (202) 994-3573; Email: purljfc@aol.com

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2016 Physician Assistant Education Association
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