Physician Assistant Program Becomes a Master of Science Program

Physician Assistant faculty and staff

— Physician Assistant faculty and staff

Following the current health care education trend, the Physician Assistant Program becomes a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies in fall 2008, and will no longer be offered as a bachelor of science to incoming freshmen. According to Program Director Kathleen Roche, MPA RPA-C, FNP, “The education component of our program is at a graduate level now; beginning next fall, the program will include more research, epidemiology and evidence-based medicine coursework.

“The professional organizations that represent Allied Health programs, New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA); the Physician Assistant Educational Association (PAEA); and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), are all in support of the master level program changes occurring nation-wide. This new graduate degree will give our graduates the edge that they need in an increasingly competitive field,” Roche adds.

Notably, the program, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this fall, has been re-accredited for six years by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). According to their web site, there are 139 accredited physician assistant programs in the United States, of which 110 are graduate programs.

About the Program Director
Kathleen Roche, appointed Program Director in 1997, is a certified physician assistant and family nurse practitioner with a master’s in health policy administration. She has more than twenty years of administrative experience in clinical and educational institutions and more than twenty years experience as a preceptor of physician assistant/nurse practitioner students. She attended the Harvard School of Management and is presently an ARC-PA site visitor. Roche co-authored an article entitled “How to Prepare for an ARC-PA Accreditation Visit,” published in the Journal of Physician Assistant Education (PAEA) (2006, vol 17, year 2005-2008).

Roche is the Primary Investigator for a $515,000 US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant awarded to the program in 2006 to develop an innovative curriculum to address chronic disease management in primary care, as well as to meet national goals of improving access to quality health care by improving access to a diverse and culturally competent health professions workforce.

For more information about the Pace University-Lenox Hill Hospital Physician Assistant program, visit the Web site.