Physician assistant program receives $980,141 federal grant for primary care training

SAN ANTONIO (Aug. 23, 2012) — As American politicians continue to debate how to provide affordable health care to all citizens, the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio has received a five-year, almost $1 million grant to do its part to provide better primary care to more patients.

The grant is from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funding period began Aug. 1 and runs through July 31, 2017. The Teaching and Enhancing Primary Care program will focus on training primary care physician assistants and preparing qualified physician assistants and other health care professionals for careers as educators.

Juanita Wallace, Ph.D., interim dean of the School of Health Professions at the UT Health Science Center, said the physician assistant department is excited about this new training and teaching opportunity.

“We expect this project to provide high-quality training materials and resources for current and future faculty in the Health Science Center. More importantly, we will be able to both support and enhance collaborative primary care experiences for our students and future graduates,” Dr. Wallace said.

Project director is Brent Shriver, Ph.D., associate professor of physician assistant studies. Co-project director is Glenn Forister, M.S., PA-C, associate professor clinical and interim chair of physician assistant studies.

The project is designed to create faculty development programs that will enhance the teaching skills of future and current physician assistant faculty with the possibility of application across the health professions; create a program that introduces non-faculty to the faculty role; formalize and enhance a physician assistant student “teaching” rotation that may encourage students to enter academia; support the recruitment of additional primary clinical sites; support and incentivize students to complete additional primary care rotations; and support development opportunities for faculty in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.

The Health Science Center entities participating in this grant are Physician Assistant Studies, the School of Nursing, the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the School of Medicine, and the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences in the School of Health Professions.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $231 million in fiscal year 2011. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 28,000 graduates. The $736 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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