Featured Associate: Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University’s new Physician Assistant Studies graduate program has been a decade in the making.  MTSU’s PA program is the only public program in the middle part of Tennessee.

“The College of Graduate Studies is proud to be part of this new program, which will have a significant and tangible impact on many communities in our region and beyond,” Dawn McCormack, Associate Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, said. “Some of these students aim to serve rural communities where high-quality health care is not currently available.”

The new PA lab space is designed to simulate a myriad of real medical facilities. The lab consists of classrooms and mock treatment rooms full of cutting-edge technology — medical mannequins that bleed and scream, human anatomy virtual reality, invasive procedures trainers and more.

Program Director Marie Patterson helped craft a Blue Raider PA program that is unique in the state: it has the lowest tuition, an innovative curriculum and a commitment to diversity and community service.

A minimum of 30% of admitted students come from diverse backgrounds such as veterans, from medically underserved areas, are first-generation college students, economically disadvantaged or are bilingual, Patterson said.

“We are also incorporating time in the schedule for students to volunteer with an organization of their choosing with the hope that they will build a love of community service that they will continue for a lifetime,” Patterson said. “We have an active learning environment with a focus on innovating curriculum and medical equipment such as point-of-care ultrasound. Each student will receive a Butterfly (handheld) ultrasound device that they will train on and keep after they graduate so that they can use it in clinical practice.”

The physician assistant profession is one of the fastest growing occupational sectors in the middle Tennessee area, with a growth rate of 42% and with one-third of all PA positions in Tennessee located in the Metro Nashville area.

The second cohort begins May 2023 and is open for application. To learn more about MTSU’s Physician Assistant Studies program, please visit their  website: