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A Journey Through 50 Years of The Utah Physician Assistant Program

The UPAP archives, currently showcased at the Eccles Health Sciences Library until the end of the year, serve as a repository for 50 years of physician assistant education history in Utah and the Intermountain West. This collection spans from the very beginning of the MEDEX program in 1970 to the 50th anniversary of UPAP. The archives contain documents and memorabilia that offer an insightful glimpse into the development of physician assistant education.

What's particularly exciting is that these materials will be organized into a searchable database, making it easier for researchers and enthusiasts to access this wealth of historical information. This archive provides a unique opportunity to explore the past and gain a deeper understanding of the evolution of healthcare education in the region.

The introduction of Physician Assistants (PAs) into the U.S. healthcare workforce represents a success in healthcare policy. From 1965 until the third decade of the 21st century, PAs have established themselves in the field of American medicine, integrating into medical practice and society. Currently, there are 170,000 PAs actively practicing across 65 distinct medical and surgical specialties, with a significant quarter of them specializing in primary care. Notably, PAs have proven their cost-effectiveness and consistently deliver high-quality care.

Predictive modeling conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the employment opportunities for PAs are expected to continue growing well beyond 2030. The University of Utah's Physician Assistant (PA) program has consistently secured a position among the top 10 PA programs across the United States according to US News and World Reports Rankings.

This program's dedication to excellence in training future PAs is not only reflected in its high rankings but also in its unwavering commitment to addressing the healthcare needs of marginalized and underserved communities. They recently celebrated their 50th year as a program.

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