by Pamela Young, Published June 19, 2012
Students interested in medicine will now have a new health care program to choose from when Eastern Michigan University offers its first physician assistant (PA) program in 2014.
The Eastern Michigan University regents approved the new academic program - a master of science in physician assistant studies - at their regular meeting June 19.
The two-year professional program will emphasize basic medicine and clinical methods and prepare graduates for certification and licensure to practice as extenders to practicing physicians.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for PAs will increase 30 percent from 2010 to 2020 because of the demand for primary healthcare providers.
Eastern's program will seek provisional accreditation and ultimately full accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. This would allow graduates to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination, which is required by most states for licensure to practice.
The initial year of the program will be paid for with existing funds allocated by the regents to support new program development. Subsequent years will be incorporated into university's annual operating and capital budgets.
In other action, the board approved the phase-out of five existing degree programs effective Fall 2012, as part of EMU's program sustainability review process.
Programs to be phased out due to limited participation are the secondary education computer science major, the graduate certificate in artificial intelligence, the master of arts in mathematics - computer science, the master of arts in science in physical education pedagogy - interdisciplinary adapted physical education concentration and the master of arts in sociology - family specialty concentration.