Master of Science in Physician Assistant
The South University Richmond Master of Science in Physician Assistant program offers fundamental medical concepts and theories, provides students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to function with physician supervision, as medical professionals who will serve as valued members of the health care team. Physician assistants perform medical functions that include, but are not limited to, evaluation, monitoring, diagnostics, therapeutics, counseling, and referral. The scope of the practice varies according to state laws, the medical setting, and the training of the physician assistant. In many states, physician assistants can prescribe and/or dispense medicine. The MS in Physician Assistant program at South University’s Richmond campus is designed to provide students with effective learning opportunities that will prepare them to perform their expected competencies in an ethical, legal, safe and effective manner upon graduation.
Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistant
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the South University Richmond PA Program sponsored by South University Richmond. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.
Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be 2031 March. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-south-university- richmond/
PANCE Certification and Attrition
Graduates of an accredited Physician Assistant program must pass the national Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) in order to acquire state licensure to practice. This exam is developed jointly by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Below are the percentage pass rates for the first-time test takers of the PANCE for the past five South University Richmond, Physician Assistant Studies graduating classes.
Click the link below to view the pass rates of South University, Richmond students
To view the South University, Richmond PA program student attrition information, please click HERE.
Admissions Information and Requirements
Procedure for Admission to the Master in Science Physician Assistant (MSPA) Program
Entrance to the Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) program is gained through a formal application review and an interview. Application to the program is made through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Applicants must specifically designate the South University campus(es) to which their application should be submitted within the CASPA system.
A completed application must be submitted through CASPA in order to be reviewed by any of the South University campuses. The application cycle for the January start will begin in April annually. The deadline for all application materials to be complete* in the CASPA application portal is August 1st annually.
To apply for the Master of Science in Physician Assistant degree program at South University, Richmond, individuals must:
- Complete CASPA online Applications including submission of all transcripts and GRE scores.
- Official GRE scores for the General Test (verbal, quantitative, and written essay) are required to be electronically submitted to CASPA through ETS (Educational Testing Service) using the Richmond program GRE Code: 7147. Paper copies are not accepted.
*This is the date your application became complete and was placed in the verification queue. Your complete date is the day your final required item - a transcript, reference letter, payment, or e-submitted application - posted to your CASPA account.
**Please do not send transcripts directly to South University. Transcripts should be sent to CASPA.
Individuals whose applications are deemed competitive will be invited for a required interview. Therefore, those who apply early in the admission cycle are more likely to be granted an interview than those who apply later. Each program concludes interviews for the admissions cycle upon filling all available seats. Not all qualified applicants will receive an interview.
Students who are offered a seat into the Physician Assistant program are only permitted to reserve a seat at one campus. Within 30 days of the student signing the acceptance form, it is the responsibility of the student to notify any other South University Physician Assistant program(s) of his/her intent to withdraw. Seat acceptance fees are non-transferable to other South University programs.
Note: Applicants should refer to the Physician Assistant Program policy on Acceptance Fee for more details.
Selection for the Master of Science in Physician Assistant program is highly competitive. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an interview or admission. Successful applicants will generally exceed the minimum criteria. The following criteria represent the minimum conditions established for students interested in applying to the South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant degree program:
- Applicants must have an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.
- Applicants must have an overall GPA as calculated by the CASPA service of 3.0 or greater (on a 4.0 scale) (including undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate coursework). Preference will be given to those with an overall GPA at or above 3.3.
- Applicants should have a Biology-Chemistry-Physics (BCP) science GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) as calculated by the CASPA service. Preference will be given to those with a prerequisite (BCP) GPA at or above 3.15.
- Applicants must submit scores from the GRE general exam directly to the CASPA service using the South University PA program code 7147. Preference will be given to those with GRE scores (Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning) at the 50th percentile or above.
- At least three letters of reference on the CASPA application must be submitted
- At least one reference on the CASPA application must be from a physician (MD/DO), Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner with whom the applicant has worked or shadowed and to whom the applicant is not related. Impressive, well- articulated, and unequivocal letters attesting to the applicant’s motivation, communication and interpersonal skills, professionalism, and future contribution towards health care are considered competitive. Preference is granted to applicants with letter(s) from a PA.
Clarification of PA Program Admission Policies Due to COVID-19
The South University Physician Assistant (PA) programs recognize the unique challenges faced by students and academic institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. South University will continue to accept prerequisite courses, including lab work, completed online or on campus from any regionally-accredited U.S. college or university.
Due to the awarding of “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory” or “Pass/Fail” grading for courses completed during the COVID-19 pandemic the South University PA program is providing clarification of its admission policies based on these grading scale changes.
- The South University PA programs will accept “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory” or “Pass/Fail” grades for courses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as submitted through CASPA.
- Applicants are advised to visit the CASPA Applicant Help Center for more information regarding effects of non-letter grades on CASPA-calculated GPAs.
- When possible, the South University PA Program admissions committee recommends students elect to receive letter grades for these courses if the option is available.
- The South University PA programs will continue to require GRE scores at the time of CASPA application submission.
Students with concerns regarding how “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory” or “Pass/Fail” grades in courses taken during the COVID-19 pandemic terms have affected their CASPA-calculated GPA may apply for an additional GPA review through the PA Admissions Committee.
The South University PA programs will revisit this policy and make additional changes if necessary in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students must complete all prerequisite courses listed below with a grade of C or better at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university prior to submission of his/her application.
Anatomy and Physiology
2 courses (sequenced)
No course substitutions are accepted for this requirement.
Alternative Substitution for Biology II ONLY:
General Chemistry and Labs
Microbiology with Lab
No course substitutions are accepted for this requirement.
Organic Chemistry or
Lab recommended, not required.
Prerequisite coursework which is obtained from a four-year college or university and which is designed for science majors is considered more competitive.
In general, prerequisite coursework with titles that include "Essentials of," "Survey of," or "Introductory to," unless specifically designed for science majors, are considered less competitive.
Basic science courses should be those for science majors. The General Biology and Biochemistry courses are recommended to include a lab, but it is not required.
Only courses (excluding General Biology, Biochemistry, and Organic Chemistry) with an associated lab will be given credit for fulfilling prerequisite requirements. In the event that a laboratory is not offered with a prerequisite course, applicants may request the lab requirement for that course be waived by contacting the program. Lab waivers and/or course substitutions are granted at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. Applicants requesting such should be prepared to submit supporting documents, including, but not limited to, course descriptions.
The South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant program accepts credit for Advanced Placement (AP) courses. AP courses taken and successfully completed will be counted as one course credit towards completion of the respective prerequisite subject. Grades earned in AP courses are not used in the calculation of the applicant's overall or prerequisite GPA.
The South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant program does not accept College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit for any prerequisite requirements.
South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant programs do not accept a transfer of credits from other physician assistant programs or provide enrolled students with a waiver of credit (i.e., advanced placement) for any component of the required curricular coursework. All students must complete each course in the South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant curriculum.
Clinical experiences should provide the applicant with a knowledge of and orientation to the presentation, signs, and symptoms of a variety of ill or injured patients. Preference is given to applicants with clinical experience that includes direct patient care. However, there is no requirement for a predetermined number of hours (or months) of health care experience to be earned by an applicant.
Admissions Committee Selection Factors
Applicants for admission are considered and ranked using multiple factors. Applicants are awarded preference points based upon the following selection factors:
Academic achievement (overall GPA, BCP, GRE).
- Preference will be given to those with GRE scores (Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning) at the 50th percentile or above.
- Preference will be given to those with an overall GPA at or above 3.3.
- Preference will be given to those with a prerequisite (BCP) GPA at or above 3.2.
Quality of letters of reference.
- References from Physician Assistants (PAs) are preferred.
- Letters from personal acquaintances are discouraged.
Quality hands-on patient care.
- Preference is given to applicants with clinical experience that requires direct patient care, such as: Physical Therapist, Respiratory Therapist, EMT/Paramedic, Nurse, or Certified Nursing Assistant.
Prerequisite coursework which is obtained from a four-year college or university and which is designed for science majors.
PA mentorship/shadowing experiences.
Community service hours.
The Admissions Committee assesses evidence of an applicant’s interpersonal skills, problem-solving ability, professionalism, motivation, academic potential, communication, knowledge of the PA profession and the health care system with an alignment to the mission and vision of the program. The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Program adheres to the South University Non-discrimination policy.
Accepted applicants will be required to complete the following items in order to obtain approval for matriculation in January:
- Satisfactory Criminal Background and Drug Screen Report
- Health/Immunization Requirements
- Health Insurance Documentation
- Baccalaureate Diploma Verification
- American Heart Association (AHA) Approved Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification
- FAFSA application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) submission for those applying for financial aid
Applicants seeking admissions to the Physician Assistant program must abide by the College of Health Professions Background Check Policy and Substance Abuse and Screening Policy. Acceptance into a South University program or its completion does not guarantee that a student will be able to obtain subsequent licensure or certification.
All Physician Assistant program students are responsible for meeting matriculation deadlines and requirements as published within the campus-specific Enrollment Guide.There is a $1000 acceptance fee, $900 of which is refundable, for those applicants accepted into the Physician Assistant program at South University, Richmond.
If you have questions in regard to the Application Process, please contact the Richmond Physician Assistant program office by calling 804-727-6894 or by email at RichmondPAProgram@southuniversity.edu.
No physician assistant credits from another institution may transfer into the didactic or clinical phase. Master of Science in Physician Assistant students must complete the entire 27 month program (174 credit hours) at South University.
Please click here for information on our Physician Assistant program and effectiveness in achieving program goals.
The following are program goals for the South University, Richmond Physician Assistant program :
• The program will recruit a highly qualified, diverse student cohort that will foster success in the program.
• The program will strive to adequately prepare graduating students to achieve a first-time pass rate that exceeds the national average upon completion of the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE).
• The program will provide students service learning opportunities that allow them to use their skills and education to demonstrate compassion and commitment to the community.
(Note: Requirements for NCCPA Certification are determined by the NCCPA and are subject to change without notification to South University. Graduation from the South University, Richmond Physician Assistant program does not guarantee certification or employment.)
Tuition and Fees
Estimated Tuition for the Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) Degree (effective January 2022)
Per quarter: $10,000.00
Total tuition: $90,000.00
Required Fees for the MSPA Degree
Acceptance Fee: $1,000.00 (Non-refundable/Applied to Tuition)
Registration Fees: $225 ($25.00 per term)
Graduation Fee: $125.00
American Academy of Physician Assistant (AAPA) Student Membership Fee: $75.00
Other Estimated Costs for the MSPA Degree
Professional Instruments: $1,100.00 (Approximate)
Textbooks: $2,610.00 ($15 per credit hour)
Technology Fee: $3,480.00 ($20 per credit hour)
Surgical Scrubs: $55.00 (Approximate)
Laptop Computer and privacy screen: $1,500.00
Background Check: $200.00-400.00 (Additional fees may apply to the base package fee contingent upon credentialing requirements of the hospital.)
State Association Fees: $75.00 ($25 per year)
Estimated Total for the MSPA Degree
Tuition and Fees: $99,645.00
Tuition and fees are subject to change. The tuition for in-state and out-of-state residents is the same. Acceptance fee is non-refundable and upon acceptance is applied toward the student’s tuition. If a student decides not to attend after accepting, the fee will not be refunded.
All students are required to have a laptop computer with wireless internet access for use in the multimedia classroom. Purchase of these items is not recommended prior to acceptance into the program because of these very specific requirements.
Payment of Tuition and Fees
All charges are due and payable on or before the registration date for each quarter. Circumstances which prevent a student from adhering to these dates should be discussed with the financial aid office. Students attending school under grants and/or loans should confer with the financial aid office concerning payment of fees. Students attending school under the G.I. Bill may discuss payment of school fees with the Director of Financial Aid. Failure to make proper payments, unless otherwise cleared with the financial aid office, will result in dismissal from the university. Grades will not be issued, degrees granted, or academic transcripts furnished until all financial obligations have been satisfied and all university property returned. For refund policies, please see the academic catalog HERE.
Policies and procedures for student withdrawal, refunds of tuition and fees, policies that limit or prevent students from working during the program and policies and procedures for processing student grievances can be found in the South University catalog.
Due to the rigorous nature of the Physician Assistant program, employment during a student's course of training is strongly discouraged.
Employment must never interfere with academic or clinical assignments.
At no time is a South University Physician Assistant student allowed to or required to work for the South University Physician Assistant program or program clinical sites.
South University Student Handbook
For additional and detailed information about being a student at South University, Richmond please refer to the Student Handbook available here.
For the Physician Assistant (MS) Program Student Handbook please click here. All Physician Assistant program policies apply to all students, principal faculty, and the program director regardless of location, i.e., didactic and clinical settings.
Physician Assistant at South University
South University is committed to creating career opportunities for our students, so we provide the relevant coursework for you to meet your career goals in a position as a Physician Assistant as well as the ethical and legal competencies and effective communication skills that are integral for this profession. In addition, we instill the value of continued education in our students so you can continue to create more opportunities for success in your career.
Mission & Vision
Physician Assistant Program
The South University Physician Assistant (MSPA) exists to educate a diverse student population as providers of high-quality, cost-efficient health care who will make a positive impact while practicing the art and science of medicine with physician collaboration.
The South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) degree program strives to provide educational experiences where faculty, staff, clinical instructors, students, and other health care providers work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, cooperation, and commitment. The program’s primary focus is on the development of physician assistants capable of expanding into clinical leadership roles by demonstrating proficiency in critical thinking and creative problem solving, utilizing evidence-based skills gained through innovative approaches.
In order to ensure that patients receive the best medical care possible, the faculty of the South University Physician Assistant program has identified certain skills and professional behaviors that are essential for successful progression of physician assistant students in the program. A student must possess skills and behaviors at a level of capability to perform a variety of duties required of a physician assistant as a health care professional.
Students with disabilities who can perform these skills and successfully execute professional behavior either unassisted, with dependable use of assistive devices, or by employing other reasonable accommodations are eligible to apply for enrollment in the program. Minimum performance standards include critical thinking, communication skills, observation skills, motor skills, and interpersonal abilities. Interested parties may contact the Physician Assistant program office for additional information about South University performance standards. These skills and behaviors include, but are not limited to;
Critical Thinking: A student must possess the intellectual, ethical, physical and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty. The ability to solve problems, a skill that is critical to the practice of medicine, requires the intellectual abilities of measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Students must be able to perform demonstrations and experiments in the basic sciences.
Communication Skills: A student should also be able to speak, to hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and to perceive nonverbal communications. The student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written forms.
Observation Skills: The student must be able to observe a patient accurately, both at a distance and in close proximity. This ability requires the functional use of vision and somatic sensation.
Motor Skills: A student should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic techniques. A student should be able to execute movements reasonably required to move from area to area, maneuver in small spaces, calibrate and use large and small equipment, position and move patients, and provide patients with general care and emergency treatment.
Interpersonal Abilities: A student for the Physician Assistant program must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities required for the diagnosis and care of patients and the development of professionalism through mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, families, and colleagues.
Physician Assistant Program at Richmond
Faculty and Staff
Physician Assistant Faculty
Shannon Schellenberg, MPA, PA-C
Program Director, Assistant Professor
Shannon Schellenberg joined South University in December 2016, initially as a Principal Faculty member prior to becoming the Program Director. With a background of over 10 years of clinical experience as a practicing Physician Assistant in the fields of Primary Care, Urgent Care, and Neurologic Surgery, Ms. Schellenberg brings her clinical expertise and community affiliations to enrich the curriculum.
She graduated with a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2006 and previously earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is an active member of the Virginia Academy of Physician Assistants, American Academy of Physician Assistants, and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
Dr. Katherine Tyson, MD, M.Ed.
Dr. Katherine “Katie” Tyson joined South University in 2016 as the Assistant Medical Director before transitioning to Medical Director in 2017. She holds a BSEd and M.Ed. from the University of Virginia, and received her Medical Degree from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) where she also completed both her internship and residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology. During her tenure at MCV, she was honored with the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award; elected Chief Administrative Resident of her cohort; and achieved membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
Since leaving private practice in 2014, Dr. Tyson continues to pursue her love of all things obstetric as a Laborist within a local hospital system. In 2017, she was appointed by former Governor Terry McAuliffe to a 3-year term on the Virginia Council on Women, where she shares her vision for women’s health, education and empowerment for the betterment of the Commonwealth. Additionally, Dr. Tyson serves on the Board of Connor’s Heroes Foundation, a Richmond pediatric cancer charity.
In addition to serving as Medical Director, Dr. Tyson is the Chair of the Admissions Committee and lectures within the PA Program on topics pertaining to Women’s Health. She is Board Certified by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Board of Obesity Medicine.
Lacey Tudor, DMSc, PA-C
Director of Didactic Education, Assistant Professor
Lacey Tudor joined South University in 2017 as a Principal Faculty Member and was promoted to Director of Didactic Education in 2020. She serves as the Faculty Director for student events within the community in addition to the South University Physician Assistant Department OSCE Committee Chair. She has been a practicing physician assistant in emergency medicine for six years.
Dr. Tudor worked as a Dental Assistant for the VCU School of Dentistry Endodontics Department while obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She then earned a degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Hofstra University and her doctoral degree from Lynchburg University. Ms. Tudor remains clinically active in Emergency Medicine and a fellow for the American Academy of Physician Assistants. She also remains involved in the local community through the Virginia High School Gymnastics Judging Association.
Rosemary Lethbridge, MPAS, PA-C
Director of Clinical Education, Assistant Professor
Rosemary Lethbridge joined the South University team in March of 2019 as the Director of Clinical Education. Ms. Lethbridge brings 9 years of clinical experience working as a Physician Assistant prior to contributing to the education of PA students at South University. She has practiced in various areas of medicine to include Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Military Medicine, Family Medicine, and Occupational Medicine. She has a strong desire to train excellent medical providers who will provide medical care with integrity.
Prior to practicing as a Physician Assistant, she attended and graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA with a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences. She then completed her master's at the same institution in Physician Assistant Studies in 2010.
Koren Cooper, MHS, PA-C
Koren Cooper joined South University in 2020 as a Principal Faculty member. She received her master's in Health Science – Physician Assistant Studies from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Mrs. Cooper has been a licensed Physician Assistant since 2012, primarily practicing in general surgery and gastroenterology. Prior to becoming a Physician Assistant, she played four years of collegiate tennis while obtaining her Exercise Science degree from University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Mrs. Cooper is excited to bring her clinical expertise and passion for education to help prepare future Physician Assistants.
She is currently an active member with American Academy of Physician Assistants. In addition to teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their new son, volunteering in the Richmond community, reading, and exercising.
Mallory Walsh, MMS, PA-C
Mallory Walsh joined the South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant Program as Principal Faculty in 2020. She has 9 years of clinical practice as a Physician Assistant, in the field of Hospital Medicine. Mallory is excited to bring her experience in acute care and internal medicine as well as her enthusiasm for learning to Physician Assistant students.
She pursued her studies in her home state of Florida and received her bachelor’s degree in Health Science from the University of Florida. She then obtained her master's in Physician Assistant Studies from Nova Southeastern University in 2011. Mallory remains clinically involved as a Hospitalist and in her spare time enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling with her husband and their two dogs.
Crystal Mann, MPA, PA-C
Mina Tabibi, MPA, PA-C
Mina Tabibi joined the South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant Program as a Principal Faculty member in 2021. Prior to joining as a full-time faculty member, she served as a clinical preceptor for the program during her full-time clinical position as an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant. Since graduating from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2007, she has primarily practiced as a Physician Assistant in Emergency Medicine in addition to participating as a member of VCU Health System's Cardiothoracic Team from 2013-2016 as a practicing Physician Assistant.
Ms. Tabibi obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in 2003 followed by her Master of Public Health degree in 2004 both from Virginia Commonwealth University. She graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School obtaining a Master of Physician Assistant degree in 2007.
On her time off, Ms. Tabibi enjoys exploring the outdoors with her young daughter and Siberian Husky. Some of these activities include hiking, spending time at the James River, and going to the beach. She will never turn down the opportunity for overseas adventures. With her personal, academic and clinical experience, Mina hopes to enrich the program by helping students capitalize on their strengths.
Christopher Whisenant, MS
Chris Whisenant joined the South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant team full time in August 2018 as the Clinical Coordinator. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at the University of Lynchburg in 2009 and a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011. He taught math initially as an adjunct at South University – Richmond and later became a full-time instructor at the beginning of 2012. During the fall of 2017, he participated with the Physician Assistant Program as an instructor for Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Although passionate about teaching, he transitioned to the role of Clinical Coordinator during the summer of 2018. Chris enjoys this opportunity to work with graduate level students in a capacity that allows for open dialogue and a shared commitment to determining and enhancing one’s academic and professional passions. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, playing soccer and volleyball, exploring cities, cooking, and learning.
Erica Mallory, BS
Erica Mallory joined the South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant team full time as the Enrollment Coordinator in October 2017. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from South University in June 2015. Prior to joining the Physician Assistant team, she had the opportunity to work with many other departments with the South University, Richmond campus. These roles included receptionist, registrar, and administrative assistant to the Dean of Academic Affairs. Mrs. Mallory enjoys traveling and seeing other places with her husband and family. Her favorite hobbies include reading and planning for future travel excursions. She especially enjoys the relationships she has been able to develop with the Physician Assistant students during her interactions with them during the admissions process and after matriculation.
Eileen Meagher, BS
Eileen Meagher joined the South University Master of Science in Physician Assistant team full time as the Administrative Assistant in November 2017. Her prior coursework includes a Bachelor of Science in History from Longwood College. Prior to working with the PA program, she worked as a library assistant in the Tompkins-McCaw Medical Library (MCV/VCU), the James Branch Cabell Library (VCU) and the Information Center of SunTrust Bank. She also worked for many years as the assistant librarian at Christian & Barton, LLC. She later managed the Chesterfield County Public Law Library before returning to the private sector as library assistant at Hirschler Fleischer, Attorneys at Law. 2009 saw a return to the academic environment by way of South University, Richmond campus. While at South, she has worked as a library assistant, receptionist/transcript processor and is currently working as administrative assistant to the Physician Assistant program. Mrs. Meagher very much enjoys working with the PA faculty and learns something new just about every day! Her interactions with PA students adds a youthful outlook to life, which she very much appreciates. Mrs. Meagher in a native Richmonder, and enjoys dancing, reading, travel and the outdoors. She and her husband love their recent change in status to grandparents!
Ryan Mazzone, MSPS, PA-C
Stanley Zelman, DDS
Robin Whelpley, PharmD, BCPS
Shawni Yeager, MPAS, PA-C
The clinical phase is 12 months in length. Eight five-week clinical rotations are conducted at a variety of clinical sites. Students will gain clinical exposure in the following disciplines: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Women's Health, Behavioral Medicine, Emergency Medicine and the Clinical Elective.
Clinical sites are recruited by the Program’s Clinical Department and personnel from the Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Sites offer the students the wide variety of clinical experiences for that specific clinical rotation (course) and service delivery system. Students are not required to supply their own clinical sites or preceptors for clinical rotations. Sites for rotations will be determined by the department. Alternate rotation sites may be provided by the student to the Clinical Department personnel. Clinical Department personnel will evaluate sites suggested by students for viability as a clinical rotation site. In order to qualify for rotations outside of South University sites, or in student suggested sites, a student must demonstrate successful academic, clinical, and professional progress in the program.
The South University Physician Assistant program immunization policy is aligned with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Recommendations for health professionals. After acceptance into the program, but before registration can be successfully completed, all students must complete the South University Health Requirements. Be aware that additional immunizations may be required by some clinical training sites and are the students’ responsibility. If students choose not to be vaccinated, they will not be allowed to rotate at clinical sites that require immunizations unless expressly permitted in writing to the program by the appropriate personnel at that site. If any of the core (required) rotations cannot be completed because the student voluntarily chose not to be vaccinated as required by the clinical rotation site, the student will not be eligible for graduation from the Physician Assistant program. In addition, if the number of clinical sites available to students who have not been vaccinated does not meet graduation requirements, those students will not be eligible for graduation from the Physician Assistant program.
Physicians, physician assistants, and other health care providers serve as preceptors for clinical students in direct patient care, providing the opportunity for the student to perfect technical and procedural skills, and to become competent in communication, physical diagnosis, succinct recording and reporting, problem assessment, and development of a logical approach to further studies and therapy.
Our students rotate in busy clinics, private physician offices, teaching hospitals, large institutions, and military hospitals and clinics. Rotations exist both in small towns and metropolitan cities. Our students are offered a wide variety of experiences and locations for their clinical rotations that are designed to round out the application of knowledge and skills to actual patient care.
Physician Assistant Learning Outcomes
The following are the program learning outcomes (Graduate Competencies) for the South University Physician Assistant program.
Prior to graduation from the program, students will:
• PLO-1. Integrate behavioral, social, and medical knowledge established from the evolving biomedical and clinical sciences in recognizing, evaluating, and managing patient disease states across the lifespan during acute, chronic, preventative, and emergent encounters..
• PLO-2. Demonstrate the interpersonal and communication skills required to sustain effective, multi-directional information exchange within a diverse population of patients, their caregivers, and members of the healthcare team.
• PLO-3. Demonstrate the ability to elicit an accurate patient history, perform an appropriate physical examination, and perform appropriate clinical procedures using essential clinical and technical skills to provide quality patient care.
• PLO-4. Collaborate effectively as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team through clinical reasoning and problem-solving skills to formulate a logical differential diagnosis, select and interpret appropriate diagnostic studies, and synthesize a comprehensive, patient-centered management plan for the promotion of wellness and disease prevention.
• PLO-5. Demonstrate the ability to interpret and integrate an evidence-based approach to clinical and professional practice through clinical reasoning, problem- solving, and decision-making processes to improve patient care practices.
• PLO-6. Demonstrate professionalism through personal behaviors, sensitivity, and accountability essential to patients, society, and the profession.
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