Skip to main content


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. 


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. 


  • 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. 


Teaching Excellence
Inclusivity, Equity, and Diversity

Program Goals

ARC-PA Standard A3.12

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 24.4% (source: Statistical Profile of Certified PAs 2020) See Statistical  Profile of Certified PAs 2020, at the bottom of page 19.

Primary Care*
Percentage Medically
Underserved Community
from HRSA**
2017 54.5% 38.6% 43%
2018 45.6% 21.7% 28%
2019 38% 25% 22%
2020 50% 36% 55%
2021 45% 32% 53%
Total 46.62% 30.66% 40%

* The determination of primary care and underserved was recorded from practice site from NPI address. Primary care is family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. Underserved is Federally funded health centers, VA, CHC, and other low income or free clinics.
** each graduate searched via NPI number and each location address matched in the HRSA tool “find shortage areas by address”. The HPSA and MUA shortage number was recorded and each graduate counted.

Over the last 5 years we have met our goal, while the national average is 24.4% of PAs are practicing in primary care. (Source: 2020 NCCPA Statistical Profile of Certified PAs)

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 30.66% while the National Average is 5.1%. (Source: 2019 NCCPA Recently Certified PAs Report)

An analysis of UPAP graduates from 2017-2021 indicates that 46.62% of UPAP graduates work in primary care, over 40% work in a health provider shortage area (HPSA) or a medically underserved area (MUA) as certified by the Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA) rural health grants eligibility analyzer.

Goal 3:

To maintain a PANCE pass rate greater than 90%.

Success in meeting Goal 3:

UPAP has maintained a PANCE pass rate that currently is 92% compared to the national average of 95% for the last 5 years. 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:

Underrepresented in Medicine (URM) Demographics for University of Utah Physician Assistant Classes Graduating 2017-2021

  Class of 2017 (%) Class of 2018 Class of 2019 Class of 2020 Class of 2021
Hispanic/Latinx/o/a (14%) (17%) (13%) (18%) (27%)
American Indian/Alaska
0 (2%) (4%) 0 (5%)
Black or African American
(2%) (2%) (7%) (3%) (2%)
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0 (2%) (4%) (3%) (2%)
Asian underserved
(Vietnamese, Myanmar,
Nepalese, Bangladesh)
0 (2%) 0 (8%) (5%)
Totals (URM) (16%) (28%) (29%) (25%) (39%)

Salt Lake City is currently White (73%), Hispanic (22%), Asian (5%), Black (3%), Pacific Islander (2%) and American Indian and Alaska Native (1.5%) (Source: US Census Bureau

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:

Currently, St. George students are scheduled to have 47% 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:

For our current graduated classes, our St. George campus has 44% of the St. George students currently practicing in rural areas and/or southern Utah.