Master of Physician Assistant Science Graduate Degree Coming to Oakland University

The Oakland University Board of Trustees on Monday, December 13 approved the creation of a new Master of Physician Assistant Science graduate degree program within the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences in the School of Health Sciences.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with regional health system partners with plans to launch the first cohort of the Master of Physician Assistant Science in the fall of 2023,” said Dr. Kevin Ball, dean of the School of Health Sciences.

“Oakland University provides a welcoming inter-professional health/medical learning environment, and the School of Health Sciences is already home to Michigan’s first pre-physician assistant bachelor’s degree specialization program,” Ball added.

Dr. Lindsay Gietzen, associate professor of clinical and diagnostic sciences, will serve as director of the program.

“We are excited to introduce this competitive and innovative curriculum model, based on our foundation in clinical and diagnostic medical sciences,” Gietzen said.

As medical providers, physician assistants diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. Physician assistants practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality.

The establishment of a new physician assistant education program at OU was based on several factors, including changing health care delivery systems in the state and support and interest from the health care and higher education communities.

For example, OU students, as well as those from nearby universities, have expressed an interest in a physician assistant graduate program that extends their undergraduate experiences in the health profession.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased shortage in healthcare workers.

As a result, there is high demand for the profession, as physician assistants help to fill the gap in a projected shortage of primary care physicians and can practice in virtually any medical specialty.

As of September 2, 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the number of physician assistants will increase 31 percent between 2019 and 2029. Interest in the profession is also very high, as the physician assistant profession is consistently named one of the Best Master’s Degree for Jobs by Forbes and among the Best Jobs in America by U.S. News & World Report.

“The physician assistant career is truly rewarding, both personally and professionally,” Gietzen said. “Our faculty and students will serve our surrounding communities, reducing health disparities and improving access to care.”

Currently in Michigan, there are nine accredited or in candidacy physician assistant programs. Oakland’s program has been carefully planned, and fortuitously timed, to meet the educational and accreditation standards set forth by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) for the program.

The curriculum will consist of four didactic semesters followed by one year of clinical immersion.

Oakland University anticipates matriculating its first class in October 2023, pending achieving Accreditation – Provisional status at the June 2023 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation – Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

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  1. Hello,
    myself Dr. Deepti Patil.
    having 10 plus years of direct patient care experience as a doctor in India.
    i am interested in Masters of physician assistant program . I am passionate about patient care.
    my TOEFL score is 68, GPA 3.27 .currently i am in Detroit, Michigan .
    Please let me know is i am eligible for the PA course.

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