Mercyhurst hosts PA program accreditors


Mercyhurst University welcomed a visiting team representing the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistants to campus Sept. 23-24.  The visit is a required step in the provisional accreditation of Mercyhurst’s planned graduate program in Physician Assistant Studies.  The program, which is currently accepting applications, is scheduled to begin in June 2014.

Catherine Gillespie, DHSc, PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, has developed a program of study that will provide students with the highest quality academic and clinical training.  “Our program will prepare physician assistants to be leaders in the profession, proficient in meeting the challenges of healthcare while providing compassionate, quality care to the diverse communities in which they serve,” Gillespie said. 

Physician assistants play a key role in health care delivery – a role that will become even more important in future years.   The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the demand for physician assistants will grow by 30 percent from 2010 to 2020. The Mercyhurst program, which will require two years of full-time graduate study, has been in the planning stages since 2010.  This has included the development of a state-of-the-art curriculum as well as the procurement of clinical rotation sites in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.  

Prospective students are invited to visit Mercyhurst’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies’ website for information regarding admissions requirements, academic calendar, curriculum and faculty.  The application deadline for the June 2014 entering class is Nov. 15, 2013.

The application for Accreditation – Provisional was submitted to the Accreditation Review Commission in June.    Accreditation – Provisional is an accreditation status for a new PA program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its initial accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the Accreditation Standards.   An official ruling on the program’s accreditation status is expected by mid-March.

PHOTO: Catherine Gillespie


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