Featured Associate: Wayne State University

The Wayne State University Physician Assistant Studies program is located on the Wayne State Medical campus, a nationally recognized research institution located in the heart of Midtown in Detroit, Michigan.  We are part of the Department of Health Care Science which consists of six programs that share a common theme of the education of individuals pursing degrees in areas of patient care including nurse anesthesia, occupational therapy, physical therapy, radiation therapy, radiologic technology and physician assistant studies. We are housed  in the  Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences on the medical campus and have access to a culturally rich and diverse patient population at several premier teaching and research institutions in Southeast Michigan.  We admitted our first class in 1996 with 30 students and have gradually increased our class size over the years to the current 50 students per cohort.  In May of 2019, we graduated our 975th PA.

The foundation of our 24-month program is summarized by our mission statement: “To develop highly competent and passionate physician assistants who are deeply committed to the practice of medicine in a range of urban and underserved health care settings.  The program exemplifies excellence and innovation in health care delivery and service to the community.”    Service has really been a cornerstone of our program from its inception.  At that time, our students and faculty provided after school tutoring, mentoring and health education to the children in the Detroit Public School systems.  This led to the development of an Immunization Initiative for the public-school children of Detroit.  We have sponsored countless health fairs on our campus and  throughout the city.  Most recently (September 2018)  our students were key volunteers at the  Men’s Health Fair 20XVIII at Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions – please no groans!). This event involved performing nearly 13,000 screenings in over 1,000 men and led to the identification of a number of findings including prostate cancer, skin cancer, hypertensive crises, significant hyperglycemia, vision and dental issues and positive FIT kits for colon cancer.  Our students have done a number of other service-based activities including organized water drives for the city of Detroit; organized blood drives; student-driven implementation of a  HIV counseling and testing training program; participated in interdisciplinary team events focusing on the care of senior citizens and veterans; and volunteered at local free clinics.

Our curriculum is based on the traditional PA education model with 12 months of didactic teaching followed by 10 clinical rotations in the second year.  In our didactic year, instruction is primarily team-based with guest lectures who are experts in their field of practice.  Our increasing PA alumni population has provided us an opportunity to continue our relationship with practicing PAs who have excelled in their field.  The highlight of our first year is our  patient evaluation curriculum- our students are exposed to clinical environments beginning in their first month of the program.  We pride ourselves in teaching our students the physical exam skills, the art of clinical documentation as well developing professionalism.  In the second year, our students rotate through a variety of diverse clinical sites in both rural and urban settings.  We have a culturally diverse patient population in the Detroit area and our students are exposed to the medical and social issues that plague patients who are non-English speaking or have complicated social situations. We offer electives in a variety of settings, both nationally and internationally. 

Our program is designed to develop confident PAs who have the knowledge and skills necessary to practice in all settings.  This is supported by the WSU PAS program’s performance on the PANCE with an overall 98.6% pass rate for first time takers over the past 5 years and 99.7% overall for all takers as well as successfully maintaining full accreditation status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

For more information on the Wayne State University Physician Assistant Studies Program please click the following link: