National accrediting body grants accreditation-provisional status to George Fox University’s Master of Medical Science – Physician Assistant Program

October 29, 2020

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Newly created healthcare program – one of only three of its kind in the state of Oregon – set to launch in January of 2021

NEWBERG, Ore. – The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistant has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the George Fox University Master of Medical Science – Physician Assistant Program.

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.

George Fox will launch its PA program in January of 2021. It is the latest addition to the university’s growing list of programs with a healthcare focus.

“It is our deepest desire to prepare excellent professionals who will serve our communities,” said Robin Baker, the university’s president. “The physician assistant program is the next step to becoming the Christian university of choice for healthcare education in the Northwest.”

The program will be housed in a new 43,000-square-foot, three-story building on Werth Boulevard in Newberg, near the Providence Medical Center. The building, tentatively scheduled for a May 2021 opening, will also house the university’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program, creating a healthcare-centered facility.

Until the spring opening, PA classes will meet in the university’s Roberts Center. Twenty students will enroll in the program’s first year, with classes set to start on Jan. 7, 2021. Year one is spent in the classroom for didactic learning, followed in year two by nine four-week clinical rotations.

PA students will attend classes full time and work with outside clinics as part of their training. Upon graduation, they will be prepared to diagnose illnesses, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and potentially serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider.

The timing to start such a program is ideal, as it addresses a glaring nationwide shortage of primary-care health professionals – an issue even before the COVID-19 pandemic placed a tremendous burden on healthcare facilities across the nation.

Prior to the spread of the coronavirus, the Health Resources and Services Administration outlined the shortage in a recent study, which designated more than 6,000 primary-care areas where a physician-to-population ratio of 1:3,500 or more existed. The HRSA estimated it would take an additional 8,000 primary care physicians to eliminate the need.

George Fox will be one of only three universities in Oregon to offer a PA program. It is the most recent healthcare addition to the university’s offerings, joining nursing (2004) and physical therapy (2012).

The Master of Medical Science (MMSc) is a two-year masters program (112 semester hours). In addition to the PA program, George Fox is launching a Doctor of Medical Science degree that provides advanced standing and dual enrollment for George Fox PA students. Completion of the DMSc program requires at least one additional semester of education, after PA graduation, licensure, and certification.

The DMSc has an integrated service trip during which students have the option to create and execute an international or local service trip.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes among the top Christian universities in the country and is a Christian college classified by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best National University.” More than 4,000 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem and Redmond, Ore. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, seven seminary degrees, and 13 master’s and doctoral degrees.



Curt Stilp
Associate Program Director,
Physician Assistant Program
George Fox University