St. Louis University PA Program
The Physician Assistant (PA) Program at Saint Louis University operated originally as the St. Louis Inter-Institutional Physician Assistant Program. It was initiated in 1971 under the auspices of the School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions at Saint Louis University, in conjunction with the St. Louis Veteran’s Administration Hospitals, the St. Louis Community Colleges and Washington University School of Medicine.
Eight students (seven male and one female) with prior education and experience in the healthcare field were selected to begin training in the first Physician Assistant Program in the Midwest in August of 1971. During its pilot year the Program operated out of the existing administrative structure within the St. Louis Veteran’s Administration Hospitals Division of Research and Education and was funded predominantly by this federal institution. Beginning with its second year the Program sought and received federal funding under a Health Manpower Training Act of 1972. It was under this authority that PA Programs began to flourish within medical centers and universities across the United States. Since that time, the participation of the University’s School of Medicine and other area institutions in providing instructional faculty and clinical training sites has allowed the Program to increase class size from eight matriculants in 1971 to its present 34 students per class. By January 2013, the Program had graduated over 900 physician assistants.
The Program is currently offered through the Department of Physician Assistant Education within Saint Louis University’s Doisy College of Health Sciences. It maintains a close working relationship with the School of Medicine and numerous other area institutions for health science, research and clinical instruction. In 1997, the Physician Assistant Program awarded the Master of Medical Science (MMS) degree to its first three graduate students. In each subsequent year, the Program increased the number of class positions available for graduate students. In 2004 the Program graduated its first class in which all graduates earned the Master of Medical Science degree. Now each matriculant possesses at least a baccalaureate degree and all graduates are awarded the MMS degree upon successful completion of the Program.
The Saint Louis University Physician Assistant Program has maintained full accreditation since its inception and is currently accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The next accreditation certificate for the Program will be awarded in 2020. The Program has gained a national reputation for excellence in physician assistant education and its alumnae are recognized throughout the United States as valued members of the health care team.
Learn more about the St. Louis University PA Program.
Photograph is courtesy of the St. Louis University PA Program.