Physician Assistant (PA) Program

Program length 28 months
(7 semesters)
Semester credit hours 142 (approximate)
Cost per semester credit hour $813* (financial aid available)
Accreditation ARC-PA  (Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the PA); pending
Format In-person, full-time
Location Newberg, Oregon
Application timeline April 26 to Oct. 31, 2020 (rolling admissions)

*All stated financial information is subject to change.

Physician Assistant (PA) Program

In response to a growing state and national physician shortage, particularly in rural and medically underserved areas, George Fox University has proposed a new three-year (28 continuous months), 150-semester-hour (estimated), Physician Assistant (PA) medicine program, which will award a doctor of medical science (DMSc) degree.

The program will begin in January of 2021, pending successful regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and accreditation-provisional by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the PA. Classes will meet at the university’s Newberg campus.

The PA Profession

According to the American Academy of PAs, PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative.

Demographics

There are more than 123,000 PAs in the U.S., accounting for more than 400 million patient interactions per year. The profession is growing, and there are now more than 200 PA education programs nationwide.

Programs follow an allopathic physician model and average three years of graduate medical education (typically seven semesters; 27 continuous months; 120 to 130 graduate semester hours).

PAs practice in every work setting and medical specialty.

Work Setting

  • Outpatient office or clinic (45.5 percent)
  • Hospitals (38.3 percent)
  • Urgent care centers (7.1 percent)
  • School, college, or university (2.4 percent)
  • Other (7.7 percent)

Medical Specialty

  • Surgical subspecialties (25.9 percent)
  • Primary care (24.6 percent)
  • Internal medicine subspecialties (10.7 percent)
  • Emergency medicine (8.9 percent)
  • Pediatric subspecialties (1.3 percent)
  • Other (28.6 percent)

Professional Potential

In 2017, the PA profession was recognized by multiple sources as a highly sought-after job.

  • U.S. News and World Report rated the PA profession third in its “Best 100 Jobs List” and “Best Healthcare Jobs List.”
  • Forbes rated the PA profession as the best (No. 1) job for millennials.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the PA profession is one of the fastest-growing jobs in America, with a 37 percent projected increase in the number of jobs available between 2016 and 2026.

Public Perception

A 2014 Harris Poll established high patient satisfaction in PA medical providers.

  • PAs are trusted healthcare providers (93 percent)
  • Having a PA makes it easier to get medical appointments (92 percent)
  • PAs improve the quality of healthcare (91 percent)

The Primary Care Shortage 

As of Jan. 1, 2014, the Health Resources and Services Administration designated more than 6,000 primary-care shortage areas where the physician-to-population ratio of 1:3,500 or more existed. HRSA estimates it would take an additional 8,000 primary care physicians to eliminate this current need. The ratio used by HRSA, however, is much higher than the 1:1067 ratio suggested by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which pushes the primary care provider need closer to 24,000.

The present shortage has been predicted for some time. In fact, in 2006, the American College of Physicians stated that primary care was on the verge of collapse and unable to keep up with population growth, people with chronic disease, and long-term care of the aging. A 2012 study by Petterson, et al., estimates that 52,000 additional primary care providers will be needed by 2025.

In addition, the provider shift from rural to urban practice settings has widened the gap between healthcare demand and access to care. For example, in 2016, 1 in 5 Oregon citizens lived in rural areas (AAPA, 2018). Unfortunately, only 16 percent of practicing PAs work in a rural community. Of these, only 39 percent worked in primary care settings (6 percent of practicing PAs). This is hardly enough given the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which generated 725,000 new enrollees and an additional 1.39 million primary care visits per year.

As the paradigm of healthcare shifts, new models of care – like the patient-centered medical home – are ideally suited for the PA provider, who has a generalist education, team-based practice, and strong focus on wellness and prevention (AAPA, 2014).

Mission, Vision, Values and Goals

Doctor of Medical Science Mission

The George Fox University DMSc. Program, seeks to develop well-informed and compassionate PAs who provide patient centered and service oriented medical care in diverse environments.

Doctor of Medical Science Vision

The program vision aspires to transform healthcare for the benefit of the people and communities.

Doctor of Medical Science Core Values and Goals

  • Compassion: Foster a commitment to Christian values, ethics and integrity in personal and professional service as a PA.
  • Service: Emphasize a servant-leadership lifestyle, which prepares graduates to serve in underserved communities, domestically and abroad.
  • Leadership: Develop a solid professional value system, committed to life-long learning, professional development, and advocacy for the profession.
  • Knowledge: Cultivate high-quality graduates committed to self-discovery and self-assessment and committed to the application of critical thinking and analysis of research.

George Fox University Mission

George Fox University, a Christ-centered community, prepares students spiritually, academically, and professionally to think with clarity, act with integrity, and serve with passion.

Accreditation

George Fox University has applied for Accreditation-Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the PA (ARC-PA). George Fox anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2021, pending achieving Accreditation-Provisional status at the September 2020 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status for a new PA program that, at the time of its initial accreditation review, demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation standards.

Applicant Worksheet

Download the George Fox Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc.) applicant worksheet  here.

Program Contact

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To learn more about pursuing a PA education, email program director Gregory Davenport.

Greg Davenport

Gregory Davenport

Doctor of Medical Science (PA Medicine)
Chair and Program Director
paadmissions@georgefox.edu