UVU physician assistant program gains provisional accreditation

Banners of the new UVU logos hang from the ceiling at Utah Valley University on Nov. 30, 2007.

Banners of the new UVU logos hang from the ceiling at Utah Valley University on Nov. 30, 2007. (Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)



OREM — More than a year after Utah Valley University's master of physician assistant studies was denied provisional accreditation, it has now received approval and its first cohort will start coursework in January.

The 28-month program includes 15 months of clinical experience. More than 300 clinical agreements have been established for students to work with health care providers throughout Utah and surrounding states.

Cohorts are limited to 30 students to help ensure more one-on-one attention from faculty and greater opportunities for collaboration. Five seats in each cohort are reserved for students from outside Utah. Applications for the first cohort are closed but applications for subsequent cohorts will be open from April to July annually.

UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez said the new graduate program aligns with the university's "strategic goal to be relevant to industry and the community. It also aligns with our core value of exceptional care.

"I have no doubt that our future Wolverine physician assistants will deliver outstanding care to their future patients and strengthen the healthcare workforce of Utah and beyond," Tuminez said in a statement.

Cheryl Hanewicz, dean of UVU's College of Health and Public Service, said the college looks forward to welcoming students in the spring 2022 term.

The college had initially planned to launch the program in January 2020 but the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant notified UVU in November 2019 that it had withheld provisional accreditation.

Program director Karen Mulitalo said program staff and faculty are proud of the work and development that led to provisional accreditation by the accreditation agency in June.

"We will be taking this positive momentum forward as we educate the next generation of physician assistants to care for our local communities," Mulitalo said.

According to the program's website, "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."

It continues, "accreditation-provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class."

For more information, visit the program website.

Marjorie Cortez

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