Featured Associate: Baylor College of Medicine

The Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Physician Assistant Program is one of the more than 25 different graduate medical and science programs located in Houston, Texas and is a part of the Texas Medical Center (TMC), home to the largest medical complex in world with 54 medicine related institutions and 21 hospitals. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, as a part of strategic planning and expansion, BCM called for and created the Center for Allied Health Manpower Development that would assist in the preparation of individuals to help physicians address the unmet need for medical care in Texas. With the backing of the Chair of the Department of Medicine at BCM and the Chief of Medicine at Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC), came the creation of the Physician Assistant Program. Carl Fasser, who was the academic coordinator for the Duke PA program, was recruited to further develop and coordinate the program. In the fall of 1971, the inaugural class started as a certificate program at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Baylor College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program. Two years later in 1973, the first cohort graduated with 10 students. The program transitioned into a Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 as Baylor College of Medicine implemented an upper division undergraduate and graduate programs. Over the next several decades, class size slowly grew to the current cohort size of 40 students per class. In 1990, BCM became the first institution in Texas and fourth in the nation to grant a Master of Science Degree upon completion of the PA program. Over the last 48 years, the BCM PA program has continued to be a pioneer in physician assistant education. To date, there are over 1100 alumni.

The 30-month program continues to be innovative and creative in all aspects of the curriculum, designed to prepare graduates for future clinical practice, education, research, policy and patient advocacy. The didactic portion leverages all of the resources of Baylor College of Medicine, which includes one of the largest biomedical research enterprises in the nation. Instruction is provided in interdisciplinary and team-based settings with students from the School of Medicine and other School of Health Profession programs. The service-learning requirement provides students with early exposure to underserved members of the Houston community and the social and medical issues that beset linguistically isolated individuals. Diversity of the clinical setting in the Texas Medical
Center ensures students have the opportunity to explore the full range of practice options open to PAs. Additionally, PA students also have an option to pursue specialized interests through
enrichment pathways offered in collaboration with the School of Medicine, these include Certificates in Biomedical Ethics and Global Health. PA students may also opt to earn a Diploma in Tropical Medicine through the Baylor College of Medicine National School of Tropical Medicine. This program is designed to provide PAs with the confidence, knowledge, and skills necessary to diagnose and treat tropical infectious diseases in communities around the globe. Since 1973, the Baylor College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program has consistently outperformed the national mean score and first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam and has maintained full accreditation status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

For more information on the Baylor College of Medicine PA program, please click here.