The LMU-DCOM PA program has a baseline enrollment of 64 students. The grant will enable the recruitment of 10 additional students above this baseline beginning in May 2011 and ending in September 2015. Each of these 10 additional students will be selected based on designated criteria in order to be awarded a stipend to support them through the 27 month program. Students will be chosen for the stipend based on their commitment to becoming primary health care providers. The total amount of the grant over five years is $1,980,000 and will fund this expansion project at 100 percent.
“This grant is one of several prestigious HRSA grants to be awarded to LMU,” said Dr. B. James Dawson, president. “It will further enhance our dynamic PA Program and help advance our institutional mission of providing opportunities for deserving students to pursue their educational dreams.”
“This funding opportunity will provide the PA Program with the resources necessary to further demonstrate our dedication to primary care,” said Dr. Ray E. Stowers, vice president and dean of LMU-DCOM. “It will provide the financial resources necessary to help the students chosen to participate in the program get through school. It also provides an incentive for applicants who may not have considered primary care to look to that possibility as their ultimate focus of practice.”
Dr. Michelle Heinan, assistant dean and director of the PA Program, will serve as the principal investigator (PI). The grant was awarded under the “Affordable Care Act: Expansion of Physician Assistant Training Program” project.
“The LMU-DCOM PA program is thrilled to receive this grant,” said Heinan. “It will provide 10 students for the next five incoming classes a stipend to cover educational costs and reasonable living expenses. The grant will make it possible for even more individuals from this region to be educated as physician assistants and become part of the team that tackles the health care shortages plaguing the area.”
The PA Program is an integral part of the health professions education taking place in the LMU-DCOM building. Medical school faculty members teach many of the PA Program courses and the PA students have full use of the building’s high quality learning labs.
A physician assistant is educated in the medical model. PAs are nationally certified and work side by side with both osteopathic and allopathic physicians in every medical specialty. PAs are licensed to diagnose illness, prescribe medications and assist in surgery. PAs are valued members of the physician-directed health care team.