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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:

In the past 5 years, approximately 51% of UPAP graduates have been engaged in Primary Care, which encompasses disciplines such as Family Medicine, Pediatrics (General), Internal Medicine (General), and Geriatrics. The identification of graduates was carried out through their NPI numbers and matched with HRSA designations for Health Practice Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas (HPSAs and MUAs). On a national level, Physician Assistants (PAs) contribute to primary care at a rate of 23% (source: NCCPA Statistical Profile of Certified PAs 2022).

Table 1 UPAP Graduates practicing in Primary Care and Underserved settings

Primary Care*
2018 46% 22%
2019 38% 25%
2020 50% 36%
2021 66% 34%
2022 54% 23%
Total 51% 28%

* 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 22.8% of PAs are practicing in primary care. (Source: 2022 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 (i.e. Community Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics, Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Public Health Service) at 28% while the National Average is 22.8%. See Table 1. (Source: 2022 NCCPA Recently Certified PAs Report)

According to an analysis of UPAP graduates from 2018 to 2022, it has been found that 51% of these graduates are employed in primary care settings located within health provider shortage areas (HPSAs) or medically underserved areas (MUAs), as certified by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) rural health grants eligibility analyzer. For more detailed information, please refer to Table 1.

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 90% compared to the national average of 94% 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.

Underrepresented in Medicine Group (URIM) Class 47
Class 48
Class 49
Class 50
Class 51
Hispanic/Latinx 17% 13% 18% 27% 15%
American Indian/Alaska Native 2% 4% 0% 5% 3%
Black or African American 2% 7% 3% 2% 6%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 2% 4% 3% 2% 1%
Asian underserved
(Vietnamese, Myanmar,
Nepalese, Bangladesh)
2% 0% 8% 5% 1%
Women 61% 60% 52% 58% 69%
Total URIM 26% 29% 32% 39% 26%
Total student of color 44% 36% 32% 44% 35%

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 class, our St. George campus has 37% of the St. George students currently practicing in rural areas and/or southern Utah.