Featured Associate: Chatham University

Chatham University’s PA program started in December 1995 with a class of 14 students and has grown significantly over the years to 80 incoming students per year. In the first year of the program, class sessions were held in the library, and physical diagnosis was practiced in a basement.  Now the program has a newly renovated building, uses classrooms with Smartboards and has numerous study areas for students to work together. Over 1000 Chatham PA Program graduates have gone on to practice in underserved and urban areas around the country and internationally in a variety of specialties. Chatham graduates have achieved a PANCE first-time passing rate of 97% over the past 5 years which is higher than the national first-time passing rate.

Chatham’s program is unique in that it was one of the first programs to utilize Problem-Based Learning (PBL) to deliver the majority of its curriculum. This pedagogy teaches students to be self-directed and prepares them to practice evidence-based medicine through actual patient cases. They work in small groups and develop team and communication skills. They use self-directed learning skills to research and understand topics pertaining to the cases. The program uses competencies to master their physical diagnosis and procedural skills and offers a human cadaver lab.  The program is pass/fail which encourages student comradery and professional relationships. The PA program is housed within the School of Health Sciences (SHS) and has a strong focus on interprofessional education. Students within the different SHS programs work together in small groups to better understand each other’s professions by developing discipline specific treatment and patient education plans as they work through patient cases.

Chatham University’s PA program is in the heart of Pittsburgh, PA, which gives students the opportunity to do rotations in an urban setting and see the healthcare challenges that come from working within a city environment. The program also offers many distant rotations, including sites in many states across the country, including Alaska, California, Florida, Maine, and even some international sites. Many graduates of the program practice in underserved and/or underrepresented areas following graduation because of their experiences on rotations. The program is proud of its many graduates and on its service to the surrounding community and profession by having students volunteer their time throughout the year.

To learn more about Chatham University’s PA program, please click here.