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University of the Pacific celebrates 50th anniversary of the Physician Assistant Profession

Oct 3, 2017

The Department of Physician Assistant Education at University of the Pacific is hard at work preparing to celebrate National PA Week, Oct. 6-12, doing their part to recognize the important contributions that PAs (physician assistants) make to California's healthcare system.

This year, PA Week is especially exciting, as Pacific joins other educational institutions, national, state and local organizations, and countless healthcare professionals in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the profession.

On National PA Day, Oct. 6, Pacific will host a grand reception on the Sacramento Campus, celebrating the profession and its contributions to the nation's health. The event will include Pacific PA students, Pacific's Sacramento Campus community, members of the medical community, PAs from the Sacramento region, along with approximately 100 PAs participating in a three-day, California Academy of PAs-sponsored Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE) review course also being held on Pacific's Sacramento Campus.

"As we celebrate our golden anniversary, the PA profession's scope of practice is expanding to include Optimal Team Practice, which will expand access to healthcare to match our nation's current healthcare needs," said Tracey DelNero, PA-C, academic director for the Pacific PA Program and California delegate to the AAPA House of Delegates. "We are proud to recognize the PAs on our team and celebrate all they do for their patients and their critical role in educating the next generations of PAs."

PAs are nationally certified and state-licensed medical professionals who practice on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers in every medical specialty. There are currently more than 115,000 PAs in the country and more than 9,000 PAs in California according to the 2016 NCCPA Statistical Profile of Certified Physician Assistants.

"The profession has seen incredible growth over the last 50 years," said Jed Grant, PA-C, admissions director for Pacific's PA Program and board member of the Physician Assistant Board of the Medical Board of California. "It is exciting to train the PAs of tomorrow who will shape the face of the profession as our scope continues to expand to meet the medical needs of our nation."

Pacific is investing in the future of the PA profession, producing compassionate health care professionals who will be leaders in transforming the delivery of health care. Pacific's full-time, 27-month program on the Sacramento Campus leads to a Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree. All PA students complete at least 2,000 hours of clinical rotations, which cover every major specialty, from family medicine to general surgery to emergency medicine.

"PAs are in high demand across the country as access to care continues to be an issue." said Mark Christiansen, program director for University of the Pacific's PA Program. "We are proud to play our part in meeting the need for practice ready PAs in underserved areas, specifically in Northern California and the Central Valley. We look forward to the continued growth of the profession and to what the next 50 years will hold."  

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Other events during PA week include:
Advanced Practice Grand Rounds with State Senator Dr. Richard Pan
Tuesday, Oct. 3, noon - 1 p.m.
UC Davis Medical Center (event sold out)

Mixer for UC Davis and University of the Pacific PA Students
Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
UC Davis Education Center Building, 2nd Floor Atrium

Advanced Practice Provider Symposium
Thursday, Oct. 5, from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

UC Davis MIND Institute National PA Day Photo Op
Friday, Oct. 6, at 3:00 p.m.
McGeorge House Steps at University of the Pacific 

Sacramento Campus National PA Day 50th Anniversary Reception
Friday, Oct. 6, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Muddox Building, 2nd Floor
3455 5th Ave., Sacramento, CA 95817

To learn more about PA Week and the PA profession, visit  

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