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Netherlands PA Program Visits Utah


The Utah Physician Assistant Program (UPAP) welcomed a sister program from the Netherlands last week, continuing a tradition that has built bridges and advanced connections between US and European physician assistants (PAs) and marking the third visit of HAN University of Applied Sciences in Nijmegen to the University of Utah. The group’s first visit was in 2017, visiting again in 2019 and via Zoom exchanges with students and faculty during the pandemic. The goal of the exchange is to learn about the differences in PA programs, develop long-term collaborations, and educate students from both countries. While thus far the traveling has been on HAN’s side, UPAP hopes to visit Nijmegen in June of 2023 to complete the exchange.


As part of the exchange, the 6 PA students and 2 faculty members from the Netherlands met with UPAP students and faculty beginning on Sunday, September 11, to join in a hike up Emigration Canyon and experience the unique Utah landscape and scenery. On the following Monday, Dutch PA students gave a presentation to Salt Lake and St. George PA students describing a typical day in the life of a PA student in the Netherlands, and met with Kola Okuyemi, MD, MPH, DFPM Department Chair. Additionally, they attended the Academy of Health Sciences Educator Symposium with their Utah peers, and then joined the “tutorial groups” of the Utah PAs’ clinical associate hands-on learning, providing an opportunity for PAs from both countries to practice essential clinical skills. On Friday, they joined their peers in participating in migrant farm worker outreach clinics in Santaquin, Utah.

“We had an incredible time in Salt Lake City,” said Reni van Erp, faculty for the visiting group. “We met very motivated and well-disciplined US students. You could wake them up for an instant full physical examination. It was great to see that. I think we have learned a lot about your program, the differences and comparisons between the US and the Netherlands. Your approach about diversity was inspiring. And the description of your program is very robust. Furthermore, we were impressed about the way you teach both campuses at the same time. We are looking forward meeting you in the Netherlands to continue our collaboration and to keep improving our program.”