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January 18, 2012

Lake Erie College Plans to Launch Physician Assistant Program in 2014

(Painesville, OH.) – The need for medical assistance continues to grow in today’s ever-changing society, due to the national healthcare reform and our aging population. According to the Ohio Job Outlook 2018 report, the number of physician assistants is expected to grow by 33.5 percent from 2008 to 2018, with an increase of 16 percent in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties. Lake Erie College is prepared to train healthcare professionals as physician assistants to meet the market demands of our society. Upon approval, it will be the sixth institution in Ohio to offer a physician’s assistant program.

Students enrolled in the program will receive a master of science in physician assistant studies. Requirements include a completion of 66 credit hours of didactic courses and 40 credit hours of clinical rotations for a total of 106 credit hours over a duration of 27 months. The College plans to enroll 20 students in the first cohort in spring 2014 and increase to 40 students by spring 2017.

In order to become one of the 154 accredited educational programs for physician assistants located across the United States, the College has secured a position on the September 2013 board meeting of the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant and is currently developing curriculum for the program.

"We have developed a collaboration with University Hospitals (UH) that will not only provide options for the College, but also opportunities for the students. UH has provided $210,000 in funding that will support key programs and positions. In addition, an agreement has been reached to assist in the formation of the advisory committee and we have worked together to develop clinical sites for the students that may be explored at an appropriate time,” said Vice President of Institutional Advancement Scott Evans.

Lake Erie College has received a grant from the John P. Murphy Foundation for the purchase of chemistry equipment for the proposed physician assistant program. This equipment will be used in the state-of-the-art Austin Hall of Science that was opened in January 2011. The building is home to the College’s academic programs in the natural sciences and pre-health professions.

The advisory committee for the program was selected during the fall 2011 semester. Members include Joe Weber, director of the physician assistant program; Dr. Steve Reynolds, dean for the school of natural sciences and associate professor of biology at the College; ; Dale Sheptak, assistant professor of sports management; and Dr. Jana Holwick, vice president of academic affairs and chief academic officer. Rita McMahon, Painesville city manager; Dr. Jamie Landis, professor of biology at Lakeland Community College; and Steve Jones, president of University Hospital’s Geauga Medical Center, will also serve on the committee.

 
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