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05-13-2008

Physician Assistant Master's Program Approved by Clarkson University Trustees

Clarkson has started recruiting for the program's chairperson and will implement the necessary steps for national accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

We are tremendously excited about this new program, said University President Tony Collins, "which complements our existing doctor of physical therapy program and the excellent working relationship we have already established with many hospitals. It is our hope that graduates of our program will help to fill the severe need for additional medical professionals in northern New York and beyond."

Further revitalization of buildings on the University's downtown campus will also result from the new program.

We are exploring with architects the opportunity to house the new Physician Assistant Program in the Liberal Studies building on our downtown campus, said Collins, "continuing our commitment to bring new growth and vitality to downtown Potsdam. Locating the PA program downtown is important because it optimizes opportunities for interaction with our Department of Physical Therapy and the community, including Canton-Potsdam Hospital."

Northern New York, which includes Clinton, Franklin, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties, is considered a medically underserved region, due to the limited number of physicians and physician practices in the region. Recruitment and retention of physicians often is difficult in the region, and both activities place a significant burden on small community hospitals where limited capital and operating funds are common.

St. Lawrence County hospitals estimate an immediate need to place 35-40 new physician assistants in the county, said Associate Dean for Health Sciences Scott D. Minor. "There is also strong student interest in obtaining a physician assistant degree, but there are limited slots for admission. The ratio of current applications to seats available is approximately 4.5-to-1 nationally."

Clarkson hopes to accept its first physician assistant class in 2010. Obtaining this degree will permit graduates to sit for the professional licensure examination to earn the designation of a certified Physician Assistant (PA-C), licensed to practice in the jurisdiction of choice. The University's School of Arts and Sciences plans to create a Department of Physician Assistant Studies within its Division of Health Sciences.

Clarkson University crosses the boundaries of disciplines, nations and cultures in order for discovery, engineering innovation and enterprise to come together. As a result, faculty and graduates grasp the full impact of their calling, direct their research to the world's pressing issues and lead with confidence and distinction. One in seven alumni is already a CEO or other senior executive. Located in Potsdam, N.Y., just outside the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, Clarkson is home to 3,000 students preparing for rewarding careers through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, science, and health sciences, as well as unparalleled outdoor recreation and life experiences beyond the classroom.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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