Sacred Heart University Celebrates Inaugural Physician Assistant Program During Physician Assistant Week

News Story: October 7, 2016

Watch video of the event

Sacred Heart University celebrated the opening of its Physician Assistant studies program at Stamford Hospital’s newly renovated Tandet Center on the 50th anniversary of the physician assistant profession.

Students, faculty, SHU administrators, Stamford Hospital administrators and city officials gathered on the lawn in front of the Tandet Center on a sunny afternoon to celebrate the accredited program and the state-of-the-art building where it’s housed.

“I remember in February 2012 when we submitted the request for the physician assistant program,” said Pat Walker, dean of the College of Health Professions. Since that time, much work went on to make the program come to fruition. “We’re very grateful collaborate with Stamford Hospital,” she said.

Stamford Mayor David Martin said, “It’s truly terrific to be able to expand our education capabilities.” Turning to the 28 students enrolled in the program who proudly wore their lab coats, Martin said, “I’m glad you’re all here.”

Stamford Hospital’s President and CEO Brian Grissler said the hospital has a long history of collaborating and partnering with others. “We’re proud to add SHU to our list of extremely talented and well-known partners.” Grissler said, noting that the celebration coincided with National Physician Assistant Week, which happens every year, October 6 through October 12. “Physician Assistants are trusted health-care providers,” he added.

Teresa Thetford, director of the PA program, echoed some of Grissler’s remarks. “Today is the 50th anniversary of our profession,” Thetford said, who shared some history on how the physician assistant profession came to be. “Thank you to the physicians who supported us, trusted us and trained us, and thank you to the patients who trust us to provide the highest- quality compassionate care,” she concluded.

Physician Assistant student and SHU alumnus Sean Rothenburger welcomed everyone to his cohort’s “second home for the next two years.” Rothenburger and his 27 other classmates will graduate in December 2018. Rothenburger shared his experiences as an alumnus and how he came to love health care. He said he was proud to be part of SHU’s physician assistant inaugural class.

SHU President John J. Petillo, thanked everyone who made the program happen from the faculty to the architects and builders who worked on the modern facility. He then turned to the students and told them that as the inaugural class they are setting the bar, the standard and reputation for the program. “These next few years, you’ll be very busy. You’re really the trendsetters, you’re laying the foundation,” he said.

Following a ribbon cutting ceremony, guests were invited inside for a reception and tour of the Tandet Center’s hi-tech classrooms and labs.

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Sacred Heart University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Sacred Heart University. 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.

Tandet Dedication 10/6/16