Twenty-four South University students began classes this week in the university's new Physician Assistant program in Florida, which grants a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree upon completion. Graduates of the program are prepared to work as physician assistants, or PAs, in a range of healthcare delivery environments. South University began its Physician Assistant program in 1997 at its Savannah, Georgia campus. The South University - Tampa Physician Assistant program received its provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant last fall.
"Seeing the inaugural class on campus this week is the result of many years of preparation on the part of many of my colleagues, and the satisfaction is remarkable," said Steve Martin, AGC, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Program Director. "These 24 PA students were selected from over 350 applicants. We knew the program would be popular in Florida, and I am not surprised with the positive response we received from our community. I have high expectations for our students, and I have an equally high level of confidence that they will become successful practitioners."
Applications were received from prospective students from across the country. The inaugural class is 83 percent female, range in age from the early 20s to the mid 50s, and includes diverse ethnic backgrounds. Sixty-three percent of the students are from Florida. The initial coursework includes medical interviewing and documentation, physical assessment, medical anatomy and physiology, clinical laboratory medicine, and a professional seminar, where students will learn how PAs integrate with the complete team of healthcare professionals who take care of patients. In 15 months, these students will begin senior clinical rotations in the Tampa area at over 80 facilities.
PA Program Focused on Quality
The new Physician Assistant program in Tampa is modeled after South University's program in Savannah, Georgia, which has a track record of high quality outcomes. The PA Program's Director, Martin, was selected in June of 2008 to develop and lead the PA Program in Tampa after working as the university's PA Program Evaluation Coordinator in Georgia. In early December 2009, he was recognized by the American Academy of Physician Assistants as a Distinguished Fellow for his service to the physician assistant community.
About South University
Established in 1899, South University is a private academic institution dedicated to providing educational opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of a diverse student population. South University offers educational programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctorate levels with campuses located in Columbia, S.C.; Montgomery, Ala.; Richmond and Virginia Beach, Va.; Savannah, Ga.; and Tampa and West Palm Beach, Fla. Further information on South University is available at: www.southuniversity.edu.