[September 12, 2018] Rocky Vista University (RVU) is proud to announce the matriculation of the inaugural class into its new Physician Assistant (PA) program. The PA Class of 2020 is comprised of 33 students from a variety of backgrounds and locations, and consists of 67% females and 33% males. The average cumulative GPA for the incoming class was 3.44. Upon the completion of the 27-month-long program, the physician assistant students will graduate with a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree in one of America’s fastest growing medical disciplines.
Based on a competency-based medical education (CBME) model, the program faculty has designed an innovative curriculum that will produce clinically competent, compassionate and collaborative physician assistants. Students will learn foundational concepts during the Didactic Phase (the first two semesters) before moving on to the Clinical Phase, which is made up of supervised clinical practice experience (SCPE) and clinical seminars. “We are fortunate to have an experienced faculty, whose vision for the curriculum is not only highly innovative, but has the potential to lead other programs in the move toward competency-based medical education,” said Cathy C. Ruff, MS, PA-C, Program Director.
Additionally, students in the PA program will benefit from the existing resources of RVU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM), including rotating with RVUCOM students throughout the Mountain West region and participating in the Standardized Patient program, in which students will interact in a monitored clinical setting with standardized patients (actors who portray realistic scenarios or symptoms to test and improve the skills of students). “The PA program will greatly augment our team-based medical education experience which is essential for preparing our graduates to practice in today’s health care delivery system,” said Clinton E. Adams, DO, FACHE, President and CEO.
Physician assistants are academically and clinically prepared to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician, creating a shared team relationship that increases access to and enhances the delivery of high-quality health care. Furthermore, they are able to make clinical decisions and provide a broad range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and health maintenance services. In the coming years, a growing shortage of physicians in under-served communities throughout the country will be mitigated by the addition of physician assistants to a patient’s medical care team.