Campbell Trustees approve addition of Physician Assistant program

Buies Creek, NC — Campbell University’s Board of Trustees approved the addition of a master’s program in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) at its Oct. 17 meeting. The proposal was previously approved in August by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. The University will now begin the development and accreditation process for the professional program, anticipating the enrollment of the first class in the summer of 2011.

The two year program will have a projected enrollment of 32 students per class, with a total enrollment of 64 students.   The program’s curriculum will be divided into two phases: educational training in classrooms, laboratories and clinical facilities and a clinical training segment.  Students will be exposed to clinical experience in emergency medicine, family medicine, general surgery, geriatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, pediatrics and psychiatry.

“Campbell has been educating undergraduate pre-Physician Assistant students for more than two decades.  We look forward to expanding our role with the addition of the Master’s program in Physician Assistant Studies,” said Claudia Williams, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and advisor for pre-Physician Assistant students.

With fewer medical students pursuing careers in internal medicine and a rapidly growing population, the American Academy of Family Physicians anticipates nearly all 50 states will have a shortage of primary care physicians by 2020.

Dr. Ron Maddox, Dean of the School of Pharmacy, said Campbell’s intensive two year, year-round Physician Assistant program will help fill the shortage of primary care physicians in North Carolina.

“Traditional physicians may spend up to ten years in medical school and rotations to prepare for their careers. Through the Physician Assistant program, we have an opportunity to meet the immediate health care needs of our state in a more rapid fashion,” said Maddox.

Physician assistants (PAs) are academically and clinically prepared to provide health care services with the direction and responsible supervision of a doctor of medicine or osteopathy. PAs make clinical decisions and provide a broad range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and health maintenance services centered on patient care.

Under the auspices of the School of Pharmacy, the program will seek accreditation with the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). ARC-PA is an independent accrediting body authorized to accredit qualified PA educational programs. ARC-PA uses a peer review process that includes documentation and periodic site visit evaluations to ensure compliance with established standards and practices.

April Pope is a 1993 Campbell graduate who works as an independent physician assistant in Garner.  She participated in a pre-Physician Assistant program during her time in Buies Creek, before completing her master’s degree at Wake Forest University.  She’s glad students will be able to start and finish their training here at Campbell.

“I love being a PA and I’m really excited about the PA program at Campbell. This is just another way that Campbell is serving the health care needs of our state and nation,” said Pope. “I know Campbell will do it right.”

The program will complement the University’s other health sciences undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs under the School of Pharmacy – the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), the Master of Clinical Research (MSCR) and Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MSPS).

The Campbell University School of Pharmacy was established in 1986 as the first new school of pharmacy to open in the United States in 35 years.  Additional courses are taught at the School of Pharmacy Department of Clinical Research located on Campbell University’s RTP campus.