Jul 25, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog

Physician Assistant Sciences, M.P.A.S.

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Department Contact:

Chair: Interim- Melissa Kagarise, DHSc, MMS, PA-C

Adjunct Faculty:

Darin Adams, D.O.; John Baker, D.O; Donald Beckstead, M.D.; Meghan Bolinger, PA-C, PharmD, BCACP; William Carney, M.D.; Hannah Clevenger PA-C; Kelli Slonka, PA-C, RT; Dana Harris, PA-C; Karch Helsel, PharmD,; Joseph Hines, M.D.; Alicia Lombardo, O.D.; Mohammad Umair Malik, M.D.; Nate Martin, PA-C; Michael Nowak, DMSc, PA-C; Stephen Pyo, PA-C; Steve Ruddeck, PA-C; Summer Shetler, PA-C;  Emily Tucker, PA-C.

Clinical Preceptors: 

Kara Anderson, PA-C; Erica Angelino, PA-C; Joseph Antonowicz, M.D.; Leslie Archer, PA-C; Angela Auman, PA-C; Carmen Ayers, CRNP; Maher Ayyash, M.D.; John Baker, D.O.; Mathew Barker, PA-C; Kristi Barr, PA-C; Liang Bartkowiak, M.D.; Ivona Bendkowska, M.D.; Elliot Bilofsky, D.O.; Howard Black, M.D.; Ashley Borden, PA-C; Joanna Brady, M.D.; Eric Bridenbaugh, PA-C; Tori Brooks, PA-C; Draion Burch, D.O.;  David Cain, PA-C; George Castellano, M.D.; Erin Cessna, PA-C; Umesh Chakunta, M.D.; Rakesh Chopra, M.D.; Liz Claar, PA-C; Renee Columbus, PA-C; Lisa Cordek, CRNP; Robert Corder, M.D.; Marc Cordero, M.D.; Annamarie Costlow, PA-C; Sarah Crouse, CRNP; George Cummings, III, D.O.; Bryan Custer, PA-C; Nicole Debolt, D.O.; Connie Decker, CRNP; Byron Dodson, D.O.; Erin Donoghue, PA-C; Mary Dougherty, M.D.; Lisa Drennen, CRNP; Tony Drummond, PA-C; Tia Dudukovich, PA-C; D’Arcy Duke, M.D.; Kathryn Dzikowski, PA-C; Charles Eckman, M.D.; Penne Edgell, M.D.; Trista Edwards, PA-C; Bettina Ellsworth, M.D.; Tori Farmer, PA-C; George Fatula, M.D.; Neil Floch, M.D.; Lisa Fraleigh, D.O.; Jason Fronczak, D.O.; Emily Fulton, PA-C; Kathryn Gates, PA-C; Chris George, PA-C; Emily George, PA-C; James Gides, PA-C; Dennis Glover, M.D.; Gregory Golonka, M.D.; Curvin Gordon, PA-C; Nicholas Governatori, M.D.; Patrick Gray, M.D.; Steven C. Gribar, M.D.; Nicole Grunthaner, PA-C; Megan Guse, PA-C; Glenn Hamm, M.D.; Bethany Haskins, PA-C; Rachel Heisler, PA-C; Melissa Hillard, PA-C; Joshua Hinson, M.D.; Timothy Horsky, D.O.; David Horton, M.D., Danielle Houck, PA-C; Patricia Hoyne, M.D.; Julie Huston, CNM; Marc Ingerman, PA-C; Ameena Jabir, M.D.; Rizwan Jabir, M.D.; Matthew Johnson, PA-C; Corey Kalinyak, PA-C; Matthew Kearney, PA-C; Amy King, M.D.; Ben Klennert, PA-C; Shawna Koehle, PA-C; Cara Kraus, PA-C; Veronica Krol, PA-C; Homer Lester, PA-C; Brian Lieb, D.O.; Jason Lincoln, PA-C; Sarah Lincoln, PA-C; Brandon Lingenfelter, D.O.; Megan Lingenfelter, PA-C; Emily Lynch, PA-C; Tony Maalouf, M.D.; Scott Magley, M.D.; Kelly Maher, PA-C; Mohammad Malik, M.D.; James Mansberger, D.O.; Liva Marasco, PA-C; Brittany Marra, PA-C; Ted A. Matthews, M.D.; Tina Matthews-Hayes, CRNP; Deanna Maurer, PA-C; Megan Maurer, M.D.; David McConnell, Jr., M.D.; Alexandra McClurg, PA-C; Fiona McLellan, M.D.; Heather Marrow, PA-C; Jessica Mielnik, PA-C; Aubree Miller, PA-C; Russell Miller, M.D.; Kyle Mohney, PA-C; Kathy Moyer, PA-C; Kira Moyer, PA-C; Conor Mulcahy, D.O.; Olivia Neeper, PA-C; Eric Nelson, PA-C; Duy Ba Nguyen, M.D.; Thomas Nicholson, M.D.; Mehron Okhovat, M.D.; Elizabeth Paros, PA-C; Paige Patterson, M.D.; Chelsa Polonia, PA-C; Christa Riscigno, PA-C; Megan Roberts, PA-C; Chelsea Rothrock, PA-C; Nishma Saini, M.D.; Stephen Schmidt, M.D.; Kiley Schultz, PA-C; Angela Shaffer, PA-C; Ruth Shaffer, FNP-BC; Darrell Shrewbury, CRNP; Jane Shughart, PA-C; Megan Shugarts, PA-C; Kathleen Smith, PA-C; Gretchen Snider, PA-C; Amber Somogyi, PA-C; Phillip States, M.D.; Jeff Stebbins, PA-C; James Stewart, M.D.; David Stobie, PA-C; Emily Stoy, PA-C; Kevin Sugalski, D.O.; Gregory Sweeney, M.D.; Charles Walch, M.D.; Saba Waseem, M.D.; George Weber, M.D.; Meghan Weltman, PA-C; Julie Wonderling, M.D.;  Alicia  Wurm, PA-C;  Stephen Yanoshak, D.O.

Program Description:

The Physician Assistant is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional. Physician assistants practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. Physician assistants can obtain medical histories, conduct physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret diagnostic tests, write prescriptions, perform medical procedures, counsel patients on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and make rounds in nursing homes and hospitals, among many other medical services.

Admission to the Physician Assistant program is a competitive process. A student (graduate) that will have a completed baccalaureate degree before enrollment applies through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants at http://www.caspaonline.org. Graduate applicants are further evaluated by the Department of Physician Assistant Sciences and required to participate in the Physician Assistant program admission process. Meeting the minimum standards of admission does not guarantee acceptance. All students enrolled in the program must be able to meet the department’s student technical standards. For complete information on Physician Assistant program admission, contact the Department of Physician Assistant Sciences.

The accredited portion of the Physician Assistant program consists of a year of didactic study, followed by a year of clinical experiences.

The MPAS program didactic year (year 01) is designed on the medical model to prepare students to become primary care clinicians. The three-semester curriculum is built around medicine modules that employ a comprehensive and integrated approach to exploring disease processes covering all organ systems. Components of each medicine module will include instruction on scientific concepts, such as pertinent anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology and genetic implications as well as health maintenance. Students will develop history taking and physical examination skills, learn to order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic studies, learn to formulate a differential diagnosis and determine the most likely diagnosis. Clinical therapeutics (pharmacology) and clinical interventions (non-pharmacological) are also taught. A strong emphasis is placed on critical thinking and problem solving, as well as patient education. Gross anatomy utilizing multiple learning modalities complements lecture presentations in the medicine modules. Other areas of study include clinical skills, well child, public health, evidence-based medicine, and an introduction to U.S. health care.

During the clinical year, all students are required to complete the following rotations: eight credits of family practice or four credits of family practice and four credits of primary care, with approval by the department, and four credits each of internal medicine, emergency medicine, women’s health, pediatrics, surgery, behavioral medicine, and a four-credit elective that will allow further investigation of an area of medicine that personally interests or assists the student in furthering his/her educational goals. Any site/specialty choices for elective rotations must be approved by the department faculty. Some students will complete a “Lifespan” rotation which couples women’s health and pediatrics into a four-credit course. These students will not complete a pediatric or women’s health rotation, but instead will select a second elective rotation. All clinical clerkships must be approved by the clinical coordinator prior to registration. Also during the clinical year, each student will complete an Ethical Issues in Practice course and the Transition to Clinical Practice course. The Transition to Clinical Practice course is designed to provide a bridge experience for the student who is completing clinical rotations by addressing issues germane to everyday PA practice. Included within this course is a capstone experience and summative evaluation which must be completed at a satisfactory level.

Students are required to provide their own transportation to clinical sites and general clerkships during the didactic and clinical years of the program. Please realize that clinical year rotations may require travel outside of Pennsylvania. Housing during clinical year is the student’s responsibility. All students are covered by malpractice insurance. Students are required to pass drug and criminal background checks to progress in the program.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Description of the Profession: The clinical role of physician assistants includes primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings. Professional competencies for physician assistants include the effective and appropriate application of medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, patient care, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, systems-based practice, as well as an unwavering commitment to continual learning, professional growth and the physician-PA team, for the benefit of patients and the larger community being served. These competencies are demonstrated within the scope of practice, whether medical or surgical, for each individual physician assistant as that scope is defined by the supervising physician and appropriate to the practice setting.

In keeping with the expectations listed above, graduates will be able to perform the following services in a professional manner that is compassionate, competent and efficient:

  • Medical Knowledge: 

Graduates will have medical knowledge including an understanding of anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, patient presentation, differential diagnosis, patient evaluation and management, surgical principles, health promotion and disease prevention to be able to provide competent and comprehensive health care. Graduates will be able to demonstrate core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care utilizing an investigatory and analytic thinking approach to clinical situations.

  • Clinical Competence: 

Graduates will have the ability to provide effective patient care that includes assessment, evaluation and management to diverse populations across the life-span in an ethical, compassionate and inter-professionally collaborative manner. Graduates will possess the necessary technical skills as well as clinical reasoning and problem-solving abilities to provide equitable and efficient patient-centered care.

  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills:

Graduates will possess interpersonal and communication skills including verbal, nonverbal and written that result in effective information exchange with patients, families, physicians and other health professionals.

  • Professionalism:

Graduates will be able to demonstrate appropriate academic and professional skills, attributes, attitudes and behaviors necessary to function as a physician assistant. Graduates will possess an understanding of health policies and delivery systems to promote their participation as health care leaders in identifying solutions to community and professional endeavors, including service to people and communities in need, as expressed through the Franciscan tradition.

More information on how successful the MPAS program is in achieving its Goals is available at https://www.francis.edu/academics/degrees-programs/physician-assistant-science

Estimated Completion Time:

BS to MPAS Accelerated Program: Typically, four years of full-time study to complete the B.S. in Health Sciences, plus one additional year of full-time study to complete the Master of Physician Assistant Sciences degree

MPAS only: Typically, two years of full-time study to complete the Master of Physician Assistant Sciences degree

Graduate Admission:

Selection for a seat into the graduate Physician Assistant program is very competitive and limited based on the number of five-year students that meet progression standards. To be considered for admission in the next academic year, an applicant must complete the Centralized Application process no later than August 1, 2024 (including transcripts and three letters of recommendation). (CASPA,P.O. Box 9108, Watertown, MA 02471; (617) 612-2080; or caspa.liaisoncas.com)

Criteria for graduate admission is outlined on the department’s webpage at https://www.francis.edu/academics/degrees-programs/physician-assistant-science.

Progression and/or Retention Criteria:

Progression and continuance in the Physician Assistant program are based upon scholastic achievement, health maintenance and adherence to Saint Francis University and departmental policies. The progression and technical standards for the Master of Physician Assistant Science major can be obtained from the Department of Physician Assistant Sciences.

In addition to the academic progression standards and the degree requirements as listed below, Physician Assistant majors must adhere to the Physician Assistant program policies as stated in the current Department Policy Manual. Policy manuals may be reviewed on the department website. Please note that the program reserves the right to change, modify or amend progression standards and program policies prior to matriculation in the major as a freshman or didactic year student.

Progression and retention criteria for the BS in Health Sciences and MPAS degree programs are made available on the department’s webpage at https://www.francis.edu/PA-Program-Progression-Standards/.

Due Process:

Any student who wishes to appeal a dismissal may request in writing to the Department of Physician Assistant Sciences Chair to appear before the Physician Assistant Performance Review Committee. Appeals must be received in the department office within five business days after the student receives notification from the department regarding action as discussed above.

Advanced Placement:

The Physician Assistant Department may grant advanced placement into the program in specialized cases for students who have matriculated into an accredited PA program in the United States, but who are unable to continue in the program due to forfeiture of accreditation by the sponsoring institution.  In such cases, students must meet all graduate admissions requirements, other program-specific requirements, and be in good academic standing.

Other than in the very rare situation described above, the program does not grant any type of advanced placement for didactic or clinical courses.

Total Credits Required:

BS to MPAS Accelerated Program: 151 credits for the B.S. in Health Science plus 42 credits for the MPAS

MPAS Only: 94 credits

Degree requirements for Saint Francis University students who earned a B.S. in Health Science degree as Physician Assistant majors: (42 credits)

Successful completion of summative evaluation and a Master’s capstone.

Successful completion of the following PA courses:

Degree requirements for graduate students entering Saint Francis University solely for the M.P.A.S. degree:

Successful completion of a summative evaluation and a Master’s capstone.

Successful completion of the required prerequisite collateral courses:

Successful completion of the following PA courses: (94 credits)

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