The University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program began with the matriculation of its first class in January 2013. Those who successfully complete the program will be awarded a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree.
Our program is designed to train outstanding physician assistant clinicians, equipped to handle the challenges of practicing medicine in a multifaceted and complex health care system. Our program emphasizes a holistic approach, training students not only in the foundational domains of medical knowledge and patient care, but also to think critically, solve complex medical problems, utilize evidence to make excellent decisions at the point of care, and to communicate effectively with clinician colleagues, other healthcare professionals, and patients of different backgrounds. The following highlights some details of our program:
- Pass/Fail System: The Physician Assistant profession is built on the concept of teamwork, and medicine is rapidly moving in the same direction. The UC PA program reinforces this concept by utilizing a pass/fail grading structure, which facilitates a culture where students strive to elevate their classmates to provide the best care possible for patients, rather than work to outperform one another.
- Active and Collaborative Learning: The UC PA program strongly values utilizing innovative educational methods. As a result, a variety of approaches are employed beyond standard lecture, including case-based, problem-based, and team-based instruction. Through our Patient-Centered Care series of courses, students are challenged to develop clinical reasoning skills, think critically, enhance interpersonal and communication skills, apply evidence-based resources, and problem-solve as clinicians and as members of an interdisciplinary health care team. This is accomplished through simulated clinical experiences with standardized patients as well as state of the art simulation mannequins.
- Synthesized Medicine Curriculum: Instead of courses addressing content separately in clinical medicine, diagnostic skills, and pharmacotherapeutics, the UC PA program has been designed to integrate all of these components together into specialty-based modules (e.g. Cardiovascular, Pulmonology, Pediatrics) to enhance learning and retention.
- Reflective Practice Portfolio Project: Towards the end of the didactic component of the program, students are challenged to reflect deeply on their knowledge and skill base in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses. They are then responsible for developing specific plans to address their weaknesses. Throughout their clinical year of studies, they carry out their specific plan, and self-monitor their progress. This project helps prepare students to become well-rounded clinicians who have cultivated a consistent pattern of self-reflective practice, which proves to be a major strength for them throughout their careers.
- Clinical Rotations: Students will complete ten rotations including those central to developing primary care skills as well as an inpatient hospitalist and elective rotation.
To learn more about our program, select the submenu items in the left-hand column or click on one of the following: Mission, Vision, Goals, Program Outcomes, Accreditation, Admissions, Curriculum, Faculty & Staff, Program Policies, Student Handbook, Technical Standards, Program Performance, Frequently Asked Questions.