Heritage University’s efforts to improve healthcare in the Yakima Valley took a big step forward as the new Physician Assistant Education program received provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
“I am proud of the faculty and staff that have worked so hard to put this new Central Washington
program together,” said President John Bassett. “Our program may be new, but we have a very experienced group of people ready to educate our future PA students: Linda Dale, our program director; Bill Hatch, our program academic coordinator; and Judy Hargis, our clinical coordinator. The three together have more than 26 years of combined experience in PA education.”
Heritage’s PA program will be the only such program offered in central Washington and will produce health workers who can serve the local community. Physician assistants will work in teams supervised by a licensed physician and will perform much of the same care as a doctor would, such as diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering lab tests, prescribing medications and even assisting in surgeries.
The first class of 32 PA students at Heritage started in May. They will study for two years, which includes a year of classroom work followed by a year in clinical studies.
After graduation, they will be eligible to take the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) board exam, which, once passed, will allow them to practice as physician assistants in any state in the United States and in some foreign countries.
“The university’s leadership and Board of Directors are constantly evaluating the needs of our community and seek to provide undergraduate and graduate degree programs that will lead to meaningful careers for our students and the betterment of our community,” said Dr. Curt Gualianone, provost. “The new PA program accomplishes both of those goals, and we could not be more excited to welcome the first incoming class.”