Expected Implementation 2017
In 2014, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved NSU's proposal to offer a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies on its Muskogee Campus. NSU will be the sponsoring entity and responsible for the didactic first year of the program. Northeastern Health Systems, the Cherokee Nation, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and Northeastern Oklahoma Community Health Center will serve as sites for the clinical second year of the curriculum. The program will be developed throughout 2014-2016, reviewed for Provisional Accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant Education (ARC-PA) in September 2016 and implemented with its first cohort of 20 students in June 2017.
The proposed Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program specifically addresses the mission and operational philosophy of the University by: (1) directly addressing the healthcare workforce shortage needs in an industry sector that is vital to both the economic health and resident well-being of the region and state; (2) enabling continued pursuit of life-long learning opportunities for professionals within the region; (3) implementing academic programming focused toward serving the needs of the inhabitants of the region and state; and (4) providing high-quality, graduate level programming in response to workforce demands in Eastern Oklahoma.
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The Northeastern State University Physician Assistant Studies Program has applied for Accreditation - Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Northeastern State University Physician Assistant Studies Program anticipates matriculating its first class in June 2017, pending achieving Accreditation - Provisional status at the September 2016 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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Northeastern State University (NSU) is a regional university founded on the rich heritage of the Cherokee Nation and committed to developing diverse, knowledgeable, and well-trained graduates. The Physician Assistant Studies Program is part of a broad university plan for developing and implementing programming that provides direct benefit to the regional needs of northeastern Oklahoma. The 24-month physician assistant studies curriculum will consist of 56 credit hours in the didactic year housed on NSU's Muskogee Campus and 54 credit hours in the clinical year of training conducted through regional medical centers including Northeast Health System, the Cherokee Nation, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Northeastern Oklahoma Community Health Center.
The Physician Assistant Studies Program will be instrumental in meeting the critical need for health care providers, specifically to serve in rural and underserved areas of northeast Oklahoma. Cultural competency education with a particular focus to the American Indians served in the area is integrated throughout a curriculum designed to prepare graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to provide excellent health care.
The MS curriculum provides physician assistants (PAs) with depth of knowledge in the basic medical sciences and clinical medicine, as well as skills in practice management and research. With these expanded skills, graduates can take advantage of the wide diversity of positions available to PAs.
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