Physician Assistant Program

School of Health Sciences

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Graduate Admission Office

(440) 826-8012, (877) 292-7759, paprogram@bw.edu

Winnie Gerhardt
Director of Transfer, Adult and Graduate Admission
(440) 826-8002, wgerhard@bw.edu

Physician Assistant Program

(440) 826-2221, msiverd@bw.edu

OVERVIEW

Small class sizes, faculty mentoring and collaborative learning are the hallmarks of a Baldwin Wallace education. In combination with our holistic approach to learning, BW's Master of Medical Science (MMS) physician assistant program prepares you to be a patient-care provider across diverse health care settings.

Through coursework and clinical rotations, you’ll gain extensive integrated and diagnostic medical sciences training designed to build proficiencies in critical thinking and problem solving. Upon completion, you’ll earn the MMS degree and be prepared to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

Twenty-Four Months to a Top Medical Career

Physician assistant (PA) is one of the fastest-growing health careers. Forbes.com rates physician assistant #1 on its list of "best master’s degrees for jobs," and CNNMoney.com ranks physician assistant as its #2 choice for a health care career in its "Best Jobs in America" list.

A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who works as part of a team with a physician. PAs perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. They work in all medical and surgical specialties to complement physician practice. All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow PAs to practice and prescribe medications.

Program Distinctions

Small classes. Hallmark to the Baldwin Wallace education is a commitment to small classes, faculty mentoring and a strong sense of community shared by students, faculty and staff. There is tremendous support here with commitment to your success.

Outstanding Faculty and Facilities. The PA faculty is comprised of physician assistants, physicians and medical professionals who have expertise both in the field and in the classroom. All faculty who are physician assistants continue to work clinically, keeping their skills and knowledge base current in today’s changing health care environment. Students learn in a state of the art cadaver lab.

24-Month Program. BW’s MMS physician assistant program begins in May. The 24-month program ensures that students complete a comprehensive didactic and clinical curriculum with placements across NE Ohio so that they are qualified to sit for the PANCE exam and begin employment as a physician assistant earlier than other graduating PA classes in the area. While intensive in nature, BW’s PA program requires more than 2000 clinical hours, and students benefit from three elective clinical placements.

Baldwin Wallace's Ideal Location. BW's location is ideal. Its suburban campus is just minutes from internationally-ranked and renowned medical facilities. Northeast Ohio offers outstanding career opportunities in all aspects of health care. As a student in the physician assistant program, you'll complete more than 2000 hours of clinical experience working with practicing professionals in a variety of settings, from major research hospitals to clinics to extended care facilities.

100% Pass Rate on PANCE. BW's first class of the physician assistant program graduated in May 2015. Students who graduated from BW's physician assistant program in 2015 and 2016 achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

Alumni are employed across Ohio and nationally. BW physician assistants have launched careers throughout Ohio as well as nationwide in Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Alumni are practicing in specialties including critical care, emergency medicine, family practice, gastroenterology, neurology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, psychiatry, surgery, trauma, urgent care and women's health. One of our recent graduates secured a fellowship in acute care oncology at The Ohio State University James Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Mission

Educate talented physician assistants who strive to promote the PA profession, understand the primary care workforce needs of the future, and act competently when providing excellent patient care utilizing an evidence-based and dynamic team approach.

Vision

Create a physician assistant education program with an outstanding reputation in the community and throughout the nation which allows students the transition of becoming physician assistants and effective leaders who will practice, teach, and continue to enhance the quality of care for each patient.

Program Goals

CURRICULUM

The Baldwin Wallace PA program is rigorous and intense. BW's program is 24 months (not including any prerequisites that need to be taken). The curriculum is divided into 12 months of didactic coursework and 12 months of clinical rotations. It is only offered as a full-time program at this time. The PA educational program is modeled on the medical school curriculum and includes a combination of classroom and clinical instruction.

The Didactic Year

The didactic year includes instruction in core sciences – anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and pathophysiology –along with clinical-medicine-related coursework which includes history taking and documentation, lab and diagnostic testing, physical exam techniques, procedural skills and special populations, behavioral science, clinical medicine and emergency medicine. This year also focuses on the organizational laws and policies of the physician assistant profession and provides a strong foundation in biomedical ethics, public health and policy, evidence-based medicine and healthcare leadership.

The Clinical Year

All students complete eleven clinical rotations. Clinical rotations include the following:

  • Family Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • OB/GYN
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Internal Medicine I
  • Internal Medicine II
  • Three Mandatory Elective Rotations

Clinical Affiliations

Clinical partners facilitate real-world learning. As a student in the physician assistant program, you'll complete more than 2000 hours of clinical experience working with practicing professionals in a variety of settings, from major research hospitals to clinics to extended care facilities. BW has affiliation agreements for the physician assistant program with the following health care organizations:

  • Affinity Medical Center
  • Akron Children's Hospital
  • Cleveland Clinic – Main Campus, Euclid, Fairview, Hillcrest, Lakewood, Lutheran, Marymount, Medina, South Pointe
  • Lake Health
  • Mercy Medical Center – Canton
  • MetroHealth Medical Center
  • Northcoast Behavioral Health
  • Parma Community Hospital
  • Robinson Memorial Hospital
  • Saint John Medical Center
  • Southwest General Health Center
  • Summa Health Systems – Akron City Hospital, St. Thomas, Barberton, Wadsworth University Hospitals, including Case, Ahuja, Bedford, Conneaut, Geauga, Geneva, MacDonald Women’s, Richmond, Rainbow Babies
  • Veteran's Administration – Wade Park and all Cleveland-area clinics

PROGRAM OUTCOMES

Pance Results

Students who graduated from BW's physician assistant program in 2015 and 2016 achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

Alumni Success

BW physician assistants have launched careers throughout Ohio, as well as nationwide in Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Alumni are practicing in specialties including emergency medicine, family practice, trauma, neurology, neurosurgery, gastroenterology, surgery and orthopedics. One of our recent graduates secured a fellowship in acute care oncology at The Ohio State University James Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Preceptors Praise BW PA Students

Following the didactic year, BW PA students enter the clinical phase of their education and training, where they work directly with a PA preceptor, interact with patients and medical staff, learn on their feet and apply their knowledge on a daily basis. Preceptors enthusiastically share feedback with the PA Program with comments such as … Medical knowledge and clinical skills are beyond expectations … No difficulty treating some very challenging cases … Comes to the rotation with an excellent base of medical knowledge …
One of the best students I have had … Able to pick up subtle physical exam findings and develop treatment plans for complex patients … and so on. Here are two testimonials in more detail:

“Fundamentals of knowledge are excellent, she is very well prepared to continue learning in the clinical realm “(This BW student) was a dream for any preceptor, especially so early in her rotations. Her knowledge base is impressive and readily applied to the clinical setting. She is always attentive, always willing to try new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, and always ready to assist in more complex procedures. Please send me more students as prepared and eager as her!”
– Andrea Boyd, PA-C, Southwest General Health Center, Emergency Department

“(This BW student) has a strong knowledge of disease processes and continued to read relevant material regarding her patients throughout the rotation. Treatment plans are often the most difficult area for students; however, she put in the time and effort to strengthen her assessments and plans and succeeded brilliantly. She was a strong asset to our team and always brought a positive attitude and a desire to get involved and learn. She is a quick learner and, if she continues on her current path, she will undoubtedly achieve great things. It was an absolute pleasure to work with her!”
– Qutaibah Khatib, MD, Summa Health Systems, Critical Care Unit

ACCREDITATION

At its July 2016 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) placed the Baldwin Wallace University Physician Assistant program sponsored by Baldwin Wallace University on Accreditation-Probation status until its next validation review in September 2018.

Probation is a temporary status of accreditation conferred when a program does not meet the Standards and when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.

Once placed on probation, programs that still fail to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and/or risk having their accreditation withdrawn.

Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).

What does this mean for the PA Program?

The Baldwin Wallace University Physician Assistant Program remains an accredited program that continues to produce excellent outcomes, as measured by pass rates on board exams, placement in careers, and feedback from employers. Our first two cohorts from 2015 and 2016 achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the PANCE Exam, and 100 percent of those graduates are successfully working as Certified Physician Assistants.

The two-year probation is a temporary standing within accreditation. Our deficiency has been in the area of demonstrating a thorough program of outcomes assessment, an area important for the program to maintain its level of success. The program’s director, faculty, and staff, as well as the University’s administration, are fully committed to the development and delivery of a thorough assessment program as a means to ensure the continued success of the PA program. We have immediately initiated an intensive plan of action to address the concerns cited in the ARC-PA report in an effort to be in full compliance with all standards prior to the next ARC-PA site visit.

Baldwin Wallace University Physician Assistant Program remains an accredited program that continues to produce excellent outcomes as well as foster personal and professional excellence in all of our students.

FACULTY

Jared Pennington, ABD, MHS, PA-C
Associate Professor and Chair
M.H.S., Drexel University

Mark Gersten, M.D., FACEP
Professor and Medical Director
M.D., Indiana University School of Medicine

Chandra Lynch, MSHS, PA-C
Assistant Professor and Director of Didactic Education
M.S.H.S., Cleveland State University

Bonnie J. Ritson, PA, MPAS, PA-C
Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education
M.P.A.S., University of Nebraska

Laura Blesse-Hampton, MPAS, PA-C
Assistant Professor
M.S., Gannon University

Joseph P. Yavornitzky, DDS
Associate Professor, Physician Assistant Program and Director of Primary Healthcare Advancement Program
D.D.S., Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine

Donald Zabriskie, BPharm, MBA, RPh
Lecturer in Pharmacology
B.Pharm., The Ohio State University

Martin G. Hellman, MD, FAAP, FACEP
Lecturer in Pediatrics
M.D., University of Pittsburgh