New physician assistant program at Eastern Michigan University approved to begin training students

New 24-month master’s program, one of just six in the state, starts in May 2014

by Pamela Young, Published October 08, 2013

Ypsilanti – Eastern Michigan University’s new physician assistant (PA) program has met qualifications to begin training students, according to a national accreditation board.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) granted Accreditation-Provisional to the program.

 “We’re thrilled that Eastern Michigan’s program has been granted accreditation from the ARC-PA,” said Jay Peterson, program director. “Further, we are thankful to all those who have provided support and guidance in our development to this point. We are excited about our PA program and look forward to the first class of students beginning in May 2014.”

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status. The status indicates that the plans and resource allocation for the proposed program appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet ARC-PA standards, if fully implemented as planned.  Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status and is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

Forbes magazine has named the physician assistant profession as the Best Master’s Degrees for Jobs, and CNN Money consistently cites the role of PAs as One of the Best Jobs in America.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants will celebrate National PA Week Oct. 6-12 to get the word out about a profession that the business publication Kiplinger has called one of the Great Careers of the Future.

The outlook for the PA profession in Michigan and across the country is strong. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates a 30-percent increase in employment of PAs between 2010 and 2020.

Eastern’s program is one of just six accredited PA programs in Michigan.

The curriculum will focus on primary care, which teaches critical thinking and ethical decision-making, and students will learn to work in tandem with other health professionals. The program’s clinical educational collaboration with St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor will create a high fidelity simulation center, a human anatomy cadaver laboratory and clinical rotations.

The program will be housed in Rackham Hall, a renovated historic building in the center of the Eastern Michigan campus. (For more on the renovation, go to:

The facility will have an advanced lecture-style classroom, small group meeting rooms, rooms to practice clinical skills, a computer lab for testing and a suite of primary care, medical office-style examination rooms. Cameras will be available to evaluate students’ communication skills.

 Diane Jones, Ph.D., PA-C, director of PAs and nurse practitioners at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, serves on the advisory committee for EMU’s new program. Jones said, “The number of PAs practicing at St. Joe’s continues to grow. Our relationship with the supervising physicians here makes it an ideal place for PA students to learn about the practice of medicine in a well-structured team environment. We welcome students, as they are our future healthcare work force.”

 Eastern Michigan’s PA program will host an informational session Tuesday, Oct. 29, 6-8 p.m. in the EMU Student Center Auditorium. The free program will provide prospective applicants with information about the profession and EMU’s program. The session will feature EMU faculty and will include a question-and-answer session. Registration is required and can be completed online.

For more information, visit the physician assistant home page.

Pamela Young

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