by Alex Boesch, Student Public Relations Writer
Cedarville University’s continued focus on providing rigorous academic programs in health care will continue with the recently announced provisional-accreditation status for the physician assistant (PA) program. The PA program, which expects to offer its first course in May 2023, is a long-time vision of Cedarville professor Dr. Dee Morris, who served as a PA for over 40 years.
PAs are licensed medical professionals, trained to work directly with patients in a variety of medical disciplines. PAs are required to earn an advanced degree and pass a national certification exam before practicing patient care, making Cedarville University a premier destination for students hoping to integrate biblical principles into their lifetime of helping others.
The PA program had its origins over 30 years ago when the university hired Morris, professor of allied health and women’s tennis coach. Morris, who has served as a PA for over 40 years, had long desired Cedarville to start the program and pitched it to every member of the administration she could.
Her wish was granted in 2016 when Cedarville began pursuing the program. Several months were dedicated to exploring the ideas internally and externally. In 2018, an outside firm was secured to conduct a market analysis, and in 2019, an advisory council was established to discuss the research and determine a path forward. Once the green light was given, the next steps involved hiring the program director and additional faculty and staff; developing the curriculum; and receiving approval and accreditation from state, regional and national entities.
“Our mission is to equip and disciple the next generation of Christian PA students,” said program director Jason Grahame. “The unique thing about this program is the opportunity to operate in this relatively untouched space.”
According to the PA School Finder database, there are only 12 faith-based PA programs in the United States. Students of Cedarville University’s PA program will benefit from rare training of biblical integration in every class of their curriculum.
“If you think about the history of medicine, it began as an outreach of the church to care for the poor, destitute and needy,” added Grahame. “Many hospitals were formed as an extension of the church. We want to keep this alive, allowing students to practice their beliefs in their practice.”
As part of Cedarville’s Callan Athletic Center expansion, new campus spaces will be allocated to the program. New facilities include faculty offices, a conference room, a 32-seat classroom, a clinical laboratory and graduate lounge and collaboration spaces.
Cedarville already offers robust undergraduate degrees in health care education and other related fields. Students studying nursing, social work, pharmacy and athletic training are ideal candidates for the PA program. Rolling admission for the program is currently open, as the program is on track to seat its first class of 30 next May. You can find the application and more information www.cedarville.edu/PA.
The Accreditation and Review Commission on Physician Assistant Education (ARC-PA) has granted accreditation-provisional status to the Cedarville University Physician Assistant Program. 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. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-cedarville-university.
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 the PA PA Program, 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.