Featured Associate: Rutgers University

Rutgers University School of Health Professions Physician Assistant Program has been educating PAs since 1975. The School of Health Professions – the nation’s largest health professions school – is part of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) at Rutgers University, an academic institution that provides health care education, research and clinical care and service.

Founded as part of the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, NJ, the PA program became a Rutgers entity during a merger in 2013. The program is located on the Busch Campus, in Piscataway, NJ. As part of RBHS, the program has access to clinical rotations in a Rutgers-affiliated network of five health care centers.

The program’s mission is to enhance the delivery of humanistic patient care and advance the PA profession through a blend of educational programs, research, and service. Carefully crafted curricula and thoughtful mentorship of students develop collaborative, caring, and competent healthcare providers.

Since its inception, the program has embraced a 33-month curriculum, providing students with an opportunity to develop their analytical skills. This is particularly important in today’s healthcare environment where PAs are delegated increasing levels of responsibility.

Students begin with a year of clinically-focused basic sciences. They progress to a second year of systems-based, pre-clinical modules incorporating clinical medicine, pharmacology, patient assessment, imaging and evidence-based medicine. In the spring following the second year, students experience 55 weeks of supervised clinical practice, including two electives. They graduate with a Master of Science degree. A four-year dual degree option is also available for those who wish to pursue a Master of Public Health through the Rutgers School of Public Health along with the Master of Science.

Rutgers School of Health Professions PA program is proud of its exceptional performance and first-time pass rates on the PA National Certifying Examination (PANCE), including 100% for the class of 2019.

With a current class size of 50, the 46th cohort entered in August 2019. The student body is diverse and draws applicants from across the country. In 2018, the PA program’s commitment to diversity was recognized with a national Excellence in Diversity award by the Physician Assistant Education Association. Diversity and inclusion are achieved through holistic admissions process with intensified recruitment efforts to enroll more underrepresented groups. The goal is to create a culture of diversity reinforced by equity and excellence through the policies and practices at the Physician Assistant Program.

Many of the PA faculty are practicing clinicans who love to teach. They include 17 physician assistants, most of whom continue to provide patient care in their areas of specialty. In addition, there are three core basic science PhD faculty and a full-time physician medical director. The program also draws on many other faculty from within RBHS, as well as community physicians and PAs. Faculty are often engaged in scholarship and service activities in addition to fulfilling the program’s educational mission.

Students have a unique opportunity to work and learn in a PA faculty- and student- staffed community based free clinic known as HOPE (Health Outreach Patient Experience). In the clinic, students engage with the underserved, working side-by-side with faculty and other students providing needed primary care to vulnerable populations while participating in a service learning initiative.

The PA program distinguishes itself by offering a threaded curricula in medical humanities, evidence-based medicine, and interprofessional educational; simulation and OSCEs utilizing the Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy state of the art simulation center; employment workshops to prepare students for professional life after graduation; and a nationally recognized faculty-delivered PA certification and recertification exam review course offered via both live and online formats

While always emphasizing empathy and compassion in patient care, the Rutgers School of Health Professions Physician Assistant program builds a strong foundation in the medical sciences and offers tremendous opportunities for a wide range of clinical rotations in medical and surgical specialties.

For more information about the Rutgers PA Program, please click here!