School of Medicine

Physician Assistant Studies - Program

Mission, Vision, Objectives and Goals

Mission

To improve the quality of health and access to care, with a commitment to the medically underserved, by educating students to become highly proficient, socially conscious, and accountable physician assistants (PAs) in the primary care model. 

Vision

The University of Utah Physician Assistant Program will steadfastly be a leader in PA education by providing innovative and equitable academic and clinical environments to inspire graduates to fulfill our mission, while also contributing to the growth and advancement of the profession. 

To achieve our vision, the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program will:

  • Sustain and foster inclusion and diversity that integrates social accountability and justice throughout our program development, and the recruitment and retention of diverse students, staff, and faculty
  • Promote primary care as a means to improve health equity 
  • Create life-long, self-directed learners
  • Collaborate and lead in local, national, and international communities. 

Objectives

  • Recruit and educate diverse, socially accountable, and community engaged PA students
  • Develop skilled PAs who will create equitable health and healthcare in the diverse communities where they serve 
  • Prepare graduates to deliver culturally-sensitive, socially equitable, patient-centered, evidence-based care as members of the interprofessional team 
  • Promote and cultivate the PA profession through leadership, scholarship, and service. 

Values

Teaching Excellence
Respect
Collaboration
Integrity
Inclusivity, Equity, and Diversity
Professionalism
Innovation
Leadership

Program Goals


ARC-PA Standard A3.14(b)

Goal 1:

To graduate physician assistants that work in primary care with rates above the national average.

Success in meeting Goal 1:

From 881 graduates, 653 were surveyed with an email Alumni survey, 222 graduates responded, for a total of 34% response rate. Of those respondents, 43.4% reported practicing in a primary care specialty (Family Medicine, Pediatrics (General), Internal Medicine (General), Geriatrics, OB/GYN). Nationally, PAs practice in primary care at 32% (source: 2013 AAPA Annual Survey, 17% response rate).

Goal 2:

To graduate physician assistant that work in underserved areas with rates above the national average.

Success in meeting Goal 2:

Over the last five years, UPAP graduates are practicing in underserved settings (Community Health Centers, Rural Health Clinic, VA, and the Public Health Service) at 20% while the National Average is 7%. (UPAP source, New Graduate Survey, last five years graduates (2011-2016) National source: 2016 NCCPA Recently Certified PAs Report)

Analysis of the Utah PA workforce in 2015 indicated that 43% worked in primary care, 37% were trained in Utah and only 13% worked in rural areas within the state. (Valentin and Coombs, Where are the PAs in the Beehive State? Oct 2016) An analysis of UPAP graduates in 2016 indicates that 55% of UPAP graduates work in primary care, over 25% work in a health provider shortage area (HPSA) or a medically underserved area (MUA) and over 30% are diverse.

Goal 3:

To maintain a PANCE pass rate greater than 90%.

Success in meeting Goal 3:

UPAP has maintained a PANCE pass rate of 96% compared to the national average of 96% from 2013 to 2018. Our curriculum is comprehensive, rigorous, and the program is currently accredited through 2026.

Goal 4:

Admit a class which is at least as diverse as the Salt Lake City metropolitan area:

Success in meeting Goal 4:

Salt Lake City is currently (2019) White (73%), Hispanic (21%), Asian (5%), Black (2%), Pacific Islander (2%) and (1%) Native American (UPAP Source, Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce 2019). Our class composition for the last three cohorts demonstrates a composition of White (62%), Hispanic (20%), Asian (10%), Black (4%), Pacific Islander (3%) and (1%) Native American. Our overall composition includes 38% diversity and 28% underrepresented minority (URM).

Goal 5:

Additional Goals for the St. George Campus

To support the development of a PA workforce in rural/underserved and/or Southern Utah, have >50% of St. George student clinical rotations occur in rural/underserved (defined as HPSA/MUA) and/or Southern Utah (defined as south of Utah County)

Success in meeting Goal 5:

The initial cohort of students attending our St. George campus are currently within clinical rotations. Currently, St. George students are scheduled to have 65% of total scheduled rotations occurring in rural, underserved and Southern Utah sites.

Goal 6:

Additional Goals for the St. George Campus

To support the development of a PA workforce in rural and Southern Utah, have >20% of St. George students graduate and practice in rural areas and/or southern Utah.

Success in meeting Goal 6:

The initial cohort of students attending our St. George campus will graduate in July of 2020 which will allow the program to evaluate our success at meeting this goal.