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University of La Verne Physician Assistant Program Receives Provisional Accreditation

The University of La Verne’s new physician assistant master’s degree program has received provisional accreditation from the field’s premier national accrediting body.

The approval, granted by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), is for a new PA Program that has not yet enrolled students.

“This is a program that will change lives – the lives of the students seeking a rewarding career and the lives of the patients they will eventually serve,” University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman said. “This is a proud moment for all of us.”

The first group of 22 students will begin coursework on August 27.

The need for physician assistants in Inland Southern California rose by 18 percent between 2011 and 2016, according to a Centers of Excellence study. The program is part of the university’s commitment to expanding health sciences educational programs, outlined in the university’s 2020 Strategic Vision. The program also complements the mission of the Convergence, an initiative aimed at providing skilled and diverse health care professionals for the region.

The physician assistant profession has been named by several top media outlets, including Forbes and USA Today, as the most promising job in America. The demand for physician assistants increased more than 300 percent from 2011 to 2014, according to the healthcare search firm Merritt Hawkins. As of January 2016, there were more than 108,000 certified physician assistants nationwide who interact with patients upwards of 350 million times annually.

“This is going to have a significant impact on Inland Southern California and we look forward to training our students to meet the health care needs of the region,” said Dr. Michael Estrada, the program’s director.

Students enrolled in the 27-month program will complete 118 units to receive a master’s degree. Students will work the first 15 months in the classroom and the following year in hospitals and other medical facilities in Inland Southern California. Scholarships are available through a $250,000 gift from Cardenas Markets Inc.

The program’s accreditation follows a thorough review of both the curriculum and the new faculty.

“We have no doubt that students will be entering a world-class program,” said Dr. Lawrence Potter, dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Once we receive full accreditation, our graduates will be prepared to apply for California’s State Medical Board or medical boards in other states for a license to practice. We are extremely pleased with our unique PA Program curriculum and its focus on integrating cultural competence and humanistic approaches to working with clients. Our students will be equipped to work in hospitals, private practice, and community clinics and will be trained in a range of specialties such as women’s health, pediatrics, behavioral and mental health, emergency and family medicine.”

The next application period for students runs from Apr. 27 to Oct. 1. Information sessions will be held regularly at the University of La Verne, 1950 Third St., La Verne.

More information on the program is also available on the University of La Verne website.

Accreditation Statement

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the University of La Verne Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the University of La Verne.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.