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The Program's overall purpose is to provide the highest quality of academic and clinical training that will prepare our graduates to be certified and licensed to practice as extenders to physicians in a competent and reliable manner.

The mission of the Duquesne University Physician Assistant Studies Program is four-fold:

  1. to prepare trainees with the necessary knowledge and skills to reliably perform the role of a physician assistant.
  2. to promote a lifelong responsibility for ongoing learning and active participation in a changing health care environment.
  3. to instill a professional identity in each student based on the education for the mind, heart and spirit that is achieved at Duquesne.
  4. to prepare graduates to provide quality primary health care among rural, urban and minority populations.

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 be certified and licensed to practice as extenders to physicians in a competent and reliable manner. To fulfill this mandate, five departmental goals guide the Program. They include:

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

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.  The Class of 2011 is evidence of successful employment, with 100% employed following graduation.  The success of the curriculum is evidenced by the 100% pass rate for first time test takers on the 2011 PANCE.

  • 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

Graduates achieve 100% employment rates upon successful completion of the Program, as evidenced by the graduating Class of 2011.  In addition, graduates are able to successfully compete for seats in post-graduate residency programs, with two graduates of the Class of 2011 achieving this goal.

  • 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

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

Since 2010, 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 a case study including a poster presentation, oral presentation, and development of a manuscript, suitable for publishing.  Seven students have been accepted to present their projects at the AAPA National Conference since 2010.

  • to provide ample opportunities for service learning consistent with the University's Mission.

Students now are required to participate in a service learning component as a part of the University's core curriculum.  As of 2011-2012, this has been incorporated into the PHYA 405/555 Clinical Encounters program, allowing students the opportunity to participate in various service learning endeavors.  In addition, the campus organization for PA students regularly participates in multiple service learning activities throughout the year.