Featured Associate: Towson University – CCBC Essex

Towson University • CCBC Essex Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program is a collaborative program with Towson University and the Community College of Baltimore County’s Essex campus located in Baltimore County, Maryland.  Towson University is a member of the University System of Maryland (USM) which is the state’s public higher education consortium that includes 12 institutions.

Towson University • CCBC Essex Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program has a long history in Maryland.  This program was established in 1972 as a partnership originally with CCBC-Essex, Johns Hopkins University and Franklin Square Hospital.  The program  transformed over time as the PA profession evolved and in 2017, Towson University became the sponsor for the program as we know it today.

Our vision for the Towson University • CCBC Essex Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program is to become renowned for unparalleled legacy and excellence in PA education and leadership in developing innovative approaches to interprofessional practice. Day by day, we strive to achieve our PA Program mission to educate and empower resilient graduates to practice collaborative, evidence-based medicine in the ever-changing and diverse health care environment.  Graduates from our program serve diverse communities across the state.  Therefore, we try to embrace diversity and inclusion in our student body, faculty, and staff, as well as across our curriculum including the supervised clinical experiences.

The PA Program is comprised of 98 credits taken at both CCBC and Towson University over 26 months.  Twelve months (12) include didactic courses while the last 14 months are a combination of preceptor-led clinical rotations and academic courses, which includes completing a capstone project and presentation.

Even with a rigorous study schedule, our students are dedicated to service and expanded learning opportunities.  Students in our program have engaged in several community service initiatives.  They have served as wellness ambassadors in a program coordinated by a faculty member to help children and families in need in Baltimore City.  In addition, Pathfinders, an organization addressing autism, has recognized our students for their support and fundraising efforts. Even the members of the State legislature have benefited from interactions with our students.  A group of students and faculty advisers participated in Annapolis Day where they demonstrated Stop the Bleed® techniques for members of the State legislative body.  Also, related to the Stop the Bleed® national campaign, several students developed and were awarded a “Be the Change Grant” from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) to conduct a Stop the Bleed® Initiative for our institutions. A final example of how our students are going beyond the classroom is their participation in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School Towson University Chapter.  Towson established its chapter in 2018.  The PA students have been an integral part of the organization.  A group of nine students conducted a quality improvement project and created a poster presentation that was accepted at last year’s IHI National Forum.  Two of the student co-authors received travel scholarships from both IHI and the College of Health Professions at Towson University to present their quality improvement project at this national scientific meeting.

This year with the COVID-19 Pandemic, the students, faculty, and staff had to be resilient, flexible, and innovative. It looked as if a virtual Long White Coat Ceremony was the only option to celebrate the end of student life and to acknowledge the hard work of the Class of 2020.  However, members of that class developed a proposal to host a drive-in ceremony that provided the opportunity to share the experience of donning their long white coats together.  On August 3, 2020, in the parking lot in front of the Towson Johnny Unitas® Football Stadium, the Class of 2020 was recognized and celebrated. This spectacular event that culminated the journey for the Class of 2020 exemplifies the innovation, resilience, and passion that our students, faculty, staff, and graduates bring to the PA Profession.

For more information on the Towson University • CCBC Essex Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program, please visit our website at

All photographs are courtesy of Towson University • CCBC Essex Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program.


Top photograph is of the class of 2019. The bottom two photographs are from the 2020 Drive-in Long White Coat Ceremony.

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