UT Health Science Center shortens time to earn physician assistant degree

SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 13, 2012) — The Physician Assistant Studies program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will soon offer students the opportunity to complete the program in two years instead of three, bringing physician assistants more quickly into the workforce.

The new course of study — ranked 18th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report — will begin in July 2012.

In addition, the physician assistant (PA) program will begin accepting 40 students instead of 30.

“Our program has always been very well regarded because of its focus on the community and the underserved,” said Glenn Forister, M.S., M.P.A.S., PA-C, associate professor and director of the physician assistant studies program, offered through the School of Health Professions.

“We found that we could shorten the program from 33 to 25.5 months by combining courses into longer semesters and still offer top-notch educational and clinical experiences. The shorter program also is more in line with PA programs offered by our UT System sister institutions,” he said.

PAs work under the supervision of a physician or doctor of osteopathy as part of the health care team to prevent, diagnose and treat many diseases and medical conditions. Many PAs work in general medicine, while others practice in specialties such as pediatrics, emergency medicine and surgery.

The federal government has designated most counties in South Texas as health professional shortage areas. “Our revised PA program gives us the potential to graduate 10 more students each year beginning in 2014 to help meet this need,” Forister said.

The application deadline for the PA program is Aug. 31. To be considered, students must meet the admission criteria, which include completing all prerequisites and a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

For more information, please visit http://shpwelcome.uthscsa.edu or contact the School of Health Professions Welcome Center by e-mail, shpwelcome@uthscsa.edu or by phone at either 210-567-8744 or (toll free) 866-802-6288.

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 26,000 graduates. The $744 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 www.uthscsa.edu.

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