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Idaho State University

ISU and C of I physician assistant studies partnership moves forward

January, 28, 2014

The College of Idaho’s joint physician assistant program has received a $100,000 grant from The ALSAM Foundation, based in Salt Lake City, to support renovations of a facility for the program as it prepares to enroll its first students in fall 2014.

The College of Idaho and Idaho State University are partnering to expand ISU’s two-year Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program, and the grant is an important step forward in establishing a state-of-the-art facility that links The College of Idaho in Caldwell with existing ISU sites in Meridian and Pocatello.

The C of I-ISU program, the first such private-public alliance and partnership to offer a joint degree in the state of Idaho, will address the rising demand for physician assistants in the Northwest.

The grant will help remodel a classroom building near 20th Avenue and Fillmore Street in Caldwell to meet the same standards as the upgraded ISU laboratories in Meridian and Pocatello.

ISU and C of I officials said all three program sites will be linked by interactive video technology as a unified long-distance learning complex.

“Full-time faculty based at each location will lead a high level of interactive and hands-on learning,” said C of I President Marv Henberg, who also noted that the partnership will conserve scarce resources while capitalizing on the strengths of both institutions.

During their second year in the program, PA students will participate in a series of clinical rotations in appropriate medical contexts, with guidance from faculty and clinical preceptors.

PAs are highly skilled health practitioners who work under physician supervision to provide patient care services, including emergency medicine, surgery, orthopedics, pediatric medicine, dermatology, neurology, family medicine and other areas.  It’s one of the fastest growing occupations in the nation, with the number of PA positions nationwide expected to increase by 38 percent between 2012 and 2022 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.