by Caroline Tomlinson, Communications Content Manager
At its September 2022 meeting, ARC-PA (the professional accreditor for PA programs in the U.S.) granted Accreditation-Provisional status to Cedarville University’s PA (Physician Assistant) Studies program. Cedarville plans to enroll its first cohort of 30 students in May 2023.
Cedarville is the only Christian evangelical university in Ohio that offers a PA program, and just one of 17 among Ohio’s 137 colleges and universities.
ARC-PA grants Accreditation-Provisional status to qualified programs that meet its high professional standards for PA education but have not yet enrolled students. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.
Cedarville’s 24-month, full-time Master of Medical Science in PA Studies (M.M.Sc.-PA) will be divided into two phases: a didactic year and a clinical year. Courses during the didactic year will build upon previous undergraduate education and prepare students for their clinical year, focused on giving them relevant professional experiences.
The rigorous and fast-paced curriculum maximizes learning and provides hands-on opportunities to obtain the knowledge, skills and professional experience necessary to care for patients well as a PA. This accelerated but intense program allows students to enter healthcare practice more quickly.
The second floor of the recently completed expansion to the Callan Athletic Center houses the new PA program. This facility provides classroom and lab space to facilitate both didactic and hands-on learning necessary to equip highly skilled medical practitioners as well collaboration and meeting spaces. With a biblical foundation in every area of the program, Cedarville PA graduates will be able to treat the whole patient, physically and spiritually, and use their vocation as a ministry of Christ.
The road to accreditation officially began in 2017 and included completing a full feasibility study, forming a PA advisory council, undergoing a financial analysis, developing curriculum, and achieving multiple levels of internal and external approvals. The board of trustees authorized the development of the PA program in May 2019, with a plan to enroll the first cohort in May 2022. The COVID pandemic delayed the launch by one year. University leadership invited Grahame to serve as the inaugural program director, and he subsequently hired the remaining faculty and staff to make the program possible. The program pursued and now has achieved all necessary milestones to welcome its first class.
“Coming at PA education with a biblical model will be a benefit for our students as they engage holistically with patients,” said Grahame, program director and associate professor of PA studies. “The right biblical understanding of the body and truth informs how we approach healthcare.”
Grahame is joined by Misti Grimson, M.D., who serves as the medical director for the program. Grimson has spent 13 years practicing family medicine, ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics. Faye Hodgin, Tim Clark, Megan Fox and Karen Graham-Burnet, all practicing PAs with decades of experience, will make up the faculty for the program. These faculty members will provide graduate education that is excellent, practical and biblically faithful.
Cedarville’s PA program is now accepting applications through CASPA (the centralized application system for PA programs) for its inaugural May 2023 cohort.
Accreditation Provision does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and dual-enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including a Master of Medical Science in PA Studies (M.M.Sc.-PA), high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.