Physician Assistant Program Receives Accreditation

News Story: June 10, 2016

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted accreditation-provisional status to Sacred Heart University’s master of physician assistant studies (MPAS) program*.

The commissioners, whose members include PA program directors, MDs and PA educators found zero observations-or areas in need of improvement.This can be considered analogous to a perfect score on our accreditation. The PA Program team is extremely proud of this accomplishment and is looking forward to welcoming the first class,” said Teresa Thetford, director of the PA program.

“I am very pleased and proud of Dr. Thetford and the MPAS faculty for their achievement of accreditation-provisional status. It’s obvious from the results of the review that ARC-PA is impressed with their performance as well. We are off to a great start as we welcome our inaugural class,” said Patricia Walker, dean of the College of Health Professions.

After receiving more than 700 applicants and conducting 150 interviews, 28 students will begin SHU’s PA program this fall. SHU is working with Stamford Hospital on this new 27-month program. The program will be located in Stamford, on the second floor of Stamford Hospital’s Tandet Building next to the main hospital on West Broad Street. The 13,000-square-foot space has been completely renovated and will be ready for students on August 29. The space includes a state-of-the-art lab, classrooms and a patient-assessment suite.

“I’ve been on several walk-throughs; it’s just beautiful,” Thetford said. “The entire process—from interviewing applicants to seeing the progress on the Tandet Building—has been exciting.” She is thrilled the accreditation went so well and is pleased a great cohort of students will begin their studies in the new facility with some very experienced PA educators.

Students will participate in a 12-month classroom phase followed by a 15-month clinical phase, providing 2,000 hours of experience in several medical specialties. All students will complete clinical rotations primarily at Stamford Hospital as well as other SHU-affiliated hospitals and health-care sites.

Faculty and staff in the department are expected to move into the Tandet Building in July. In October, a month that coincides with National PA Week, the department will host a ribbon cutting and open house. Guest speakers and other special events will be scheduled, Thetford said.

SHU is currently accepting applications for the 2017 PA cohort, which will consist of 34 students. The University has already received more than 700 applications. The application deadline is October 1.

*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.