Mission and Goals
Mission of the West Chester University Physician Assistant Program
To educate physician assistants who can think critically and collaborate with others to address the needs of individual patients and the healthcare community with the highest levels of academic, clinical, ethical, and cultural competence.
- To recruit qualified applicants who have demonstrated the motivation, dedication,
and preparation necessary to meet the mission of the physician assistant program.
Number of Verified Applications Received Prior to Deadline Number of Applicants Interviewed Mean Total GPA for matriculated students Mean Science GPA for matriculated students Mean Hours of Patient Care Experience for matriculated students Class of 2023 837 140 3.62 3.56 4805 Class of 2024 1013 150 3.69 3.64 3575 Class of 2025 966 166 3.75 3.70 3394
At the current time students who have matriculated have been successful in the program as evidenced by the low attrition rate of 3.7% for the Class of 2023 and 0% for the Class of 2024 as of the Spring 2023 semester.
- To provide the didactic education and clinical opportunities necessary to prepare
students to pass the PANCE certification exam and to enter into practice in a wide
variety of clinical specialties and geographic areas.
Students complete 65 credits of didactic coursework that builds upon the students’ prior knowledge. For example, the students complete courses in Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Clinical Medicine, Behavioral Health, and Emergent and Surgical Medicine. Didactic coursework includes application of knowledge through early clinical exposure, case-based learning activities, and simulation.
Students complete 8 different rotations in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, behavioral health, surgery, emergency medicine, and an elective rotation. 100% of students in the Class of 2023 will have completed an elective rotation of their choice in 18 different areas of medicine such as neonatology, intensive care, trauma surgery, orthopedics, burn critical care, dermatology, ENT, and plastic surgery by the end of this clinical year.
Additionally, 96% of the Class of 2023 will complete rotations in multiple geographic areas such as Western Pennsylvania, Central Pennsylvania, Montana, and Florida.
Once the Class of 2023 completes the program, we will provide updates regarding PANCE data and graduate survey data.
- To prepare students to collaborate with others within an interdisciplinary healthcare
team to solve problems and address societal needs.
Students in the current didactic cohort have completed didactic instruction across 3 courses that have allowed 6 lecture hours and panel discussions with interprofessional team members regarding their role in the healthcare team. In addition, students have participated in 12 hours of direct observation of medical, nursing, EMS, speech pathologists, and athletic training clinicians. They have participated in a telehealth simulation with various other healthcare professional students in the College of Health Sciences, and 6 hours of simulation with nursing and EMS students. They have also participated in community service events with nursing students, including health fairs and health screenings.
In addition, students work collaboratively with various clinicians during the clinical year. Through the 6th clinical rotation block, 100% of the Class of 2023 clinical students have been rated as a 4 or 5 on a 1-5 scale by internal medicine preceptors for their ability to participate efficiently, collaboratively, and professionally with other health care team members in the clinical setting.
- To provide students opportunities to inclusively engage the community to promote and
Students in the current didactic cohort have participated in a minimum of 1 community service event per semester with organizations, including Chester County Hospital Community Health, Heart Tracks Screening, WCU CHS Community Health Fair, RAMS Let’s Walk: Student Athlete Mental Health Initiatives, and the Unite for HER. The students also organized a highly successful winter coat and baby supplies drive for the Chester County Hospital Ob/Gyn clinic.
Students in the Class of 2023 and Class of 2024 have participated in the Southeastern Pennsylvania PA Olympics and which has fundraised over $30,000 dollars each year for the last 2 years for charitable organization, including METAvivor and The Block Gives Back.
- To maintain the facilities, the faculty, and the resources necessary to train physician
assistants in an ever-changing healthcare field.
Facilities: The PA Program is housed in the Whiteland Center. This center has 2 lecture-style classrooms, 3 small group break-out spaces, a 7-table physical diagnosis lab, a simulation lab, and 6 examination rooms. All spaces were renovated in 2021. In addition, students have access to the cadaver anatomy lab with cadavers and Anatomage tables and the Immersive Learning Center for interprofessional simulations.
Faculty: Collectively, the faculty have over 100 years of clinical experience in multiple areas of medicine: family medicine, internal medicine, critical care, emergency medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, women’s health, and trauma surgery. They have a cumulatively over 60 years of physician assistant education as full-time faculty members and adjuncts in various physician assistant programs in the Philadelphia area and as preceptors for physician assistant students, medical students, and nurse practitioner students. Additionally, the program has supplemented didactic instruction with nearly 100 guest lectures and collaborates with many excellent clinical preceptors.
Resources: The program has multiple medical simulators, a high-fidelity medical mannequin, Anatomage tables, and multiple point-of-care ultrasound devices. The classrooms are outfitted with built-in cameras and microphones to efficiently incorporate technology-assisted remote lectures.
*This will continue to be updated to show the program’s success in meeting its goals as the program continues to develop
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goals
- Provide educational opportunities and experiences that promote a greater understanding
of identities, inequities, inclusion, and social justice.
The program spends a minimum of 10 didactic lecture hours dedicated to increasing understanding of various identities and experiences of patients. The program has intentionally incorporated a minimum of 2 clinical case studies that includes cultural and psychosocial components. Educational models utilized in teaching clinical skills include various skin tones. The program is monitoring how students are rated by preceptors in their clinical experience when working with diverse populations. Through the 6th clinical rotation block, 100% of students in the Class of 2023 have been rated as a 4 or 5 on a 1-5 scale by internal medicine preceptors on their ability to demonstrate awareness of and sensitivity to diverse populations.
- Increase access, retention and success of faculty, staff, and students from diverse
The PA program utilizes a blinded initial review process for admissions. Students who are selected for interview have a holistic review of their application.
Targeted recruitment activities and events are utilized to increase the pool of applicants from various backgrounds such as the WCU Health Careers Academy, PAEA Diversity Recruitment Open House, and presentations at local HCBUs.
Faculty, staff, guest lecturers, and preceptors represent various perspectives and backgrounds. Full-time faculty and staff searches include a DEI statement that is vetted by the search committee to evaluate a commitment to DEI initiatives.
- Monitor and promote equitable learning and working environments free from discrimination
The PA program incorporates a diversity, equity, and inclusion event for incoming students and faculty during new student orientation. In addition, faculty are required to, and students are encouraged to, complete an annual training program focused on DEI. In addition, the program, in conjunction with the Office for Services for Students with Disabilities, supports students in identifying strategies to maintain equitable learning environments.
The program plans to administer an end-of-program survey that evaluates the program learning environment to the Class of 2023 in August 2023.
- Identify and advocate for resources which increase access to healthcare in the community.
Students participate in various community-based events, fundraising, resource drives for community organizations, and also complete a minimum of 3 projects focused on access and advocacy for patients during the didactic year. 100% of students in the Class of 2024 were able to identify community-based resources on a simulated patient case for a patient newly diagnosed with cancer who was uninsured and had limited support.