2021 NC PA Program Highlight | Methodist University
by Sara Walsh, PA-S, Methodist University
Methodist University opened in 1960 as a private college in Fayetteville, NC, and established the PA Program in 1996 as the third PA program in North Carolina. Originally a bachelor’s degree program, the program transitioned to a master’s degree in 2003. In 2010, Methodist’s PA program expanded to include a medical lecture hall and anatomy lab and have maintained a cohort size of 40 students annually since. An overwhelming majority of Methodist’s graduating classes of physician assistants have opted to practice in North Carolina, and of the class of 2020, over half chose to remain in Eastern NC and the surrounding area.
The Methodist University PA Program curriculum is a 27-month traditional lecture-based curriculum that focuses on a well-rounded, comprehensive, evidence-based medical education. COVID-19 and its need for social distancing and distance learning drastically changed the formats of didactic learning for the classes of 2021 and 2022. They rose to the occasion in a hybrid lecture format from Spring 2020 until Fall 2021. The beauty of Zoom and Teams based lectures was that our favorite lecturers could teach from far and away. We have been lucky to have adjunct instructors from Tennessee, Georgia, Minnesota, and Florida, which may not have been feasible before.
In May of this year, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of MUPAP. An an endowed scholarship was created in honor of the founder of the MUPAP program, Ron Foster, who served as the program director from 1996 until 2009. This scholarship is the first of its kind for the Methodist PA Program and will serve students with high financial need.
Jennifer Mish has been with the program for 15 years as Admissions Director, but was promoted over the summer to Director of Admissions and Alumni Development. She updates our 624 graduates with goings on at Methodist through a bi-annual newsletter, facilitates our prospective student interviews, coordinates our white coat ceremonies, and is altogether one of the friendliest faces on campus.
Class of 2022 and faculty celebrate Pride Month with an educational event on LGBTQ+ health disparities, stigmas, and inclusion techniques, June 2021
Diversity and Inclusion
In recent years, the Methodist University PA Program has focused on the need to increase representation of disadvantaged and underrepresented minorities in health care. The program increased recruiting efforts at HBCUs, American Indian associated universities, and high schools located in rural and medically underserved areas of NC. As a result, MUPAP now has an articulation agreement with UNC-Pembroke to reserve a maximum of two seats per cohort for qualified UNCP graduates who identify as American Indian that began with the class of 2023. Our class officer panel includes a Diversity Representative position that serves to increase diversity and inclusion among the cohort and increase awareness locally. In June, our Diversity Representative and Outreach Chair coordinated to create an educational event for our cohort to learn about LGBTQ+ medicine and some of the inclusive practices we can incorporate into our clinical practice to support all our patients. They, with faculty support, launched our program’s first diversity and inclusion focus group.
- Back to The Pulse