2021 NC PA Program Update | Wake Forest University
By Savannah Fusaro, PA-S, Wake Forest University
The Wake Forest PA Program was established in 1969 and is currently ranked #7 in the country. The curriculum features a unique style of inquiry-based learning (IBL) which has proven to be extremely effective as evidenced by PANCE pass rates above the national average at 99%. The class size is comprised of 88 passionate individuals, with 64 of those students residing in the Winston Salem campus, and the other 24 residing in the more rurally located Boone campus in the Blue Ridge mountains. The program is 24 months long, with graduates earning a Master of Medical Science (MMS) degree from the Wake Forest School of Medicine. A recent addition to the curriculum is the optional Emerging Leaders Program in Business or Law in which students complete training before matriculation into the PA program to earn a Master of Science (MS) from the Wake Forest University School of Business (10 months), or a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) from the Wake Forest School of Law (12 months).
In IBL, students are placed into small groups of 7-9 individuals, and work through patient cases by participating in history taking, determining appropriate physical exam maneuvers, role playing provider and patient scenarios, orally presenting patient cases, and ordering labs and diagnostics, all from the beginning of didactic year. This self-directed learning approach truly makes students feel like clinicians in the first few months of the program. This prepares all students to become life-long learners as they develop research skills to create and hone differential diagnosis lists.
At Wake PA, students participate in 10 clinical rotations in their 2nd year. In addition to 7 core rotations, students can also select 2 elective rotations in a specialty of their choosing, and 1 selective rotation in a PANCE Blueprint medicine or surgery category. The Class of 2021 recently completed their last clinical rotation and are preparing to take the PANCE while gearing up for graduation on Sunday, May 16th, 2021. Go Deacs!
The Class of 2022 recently completed their 5th and final unit of didactic year. In addition to academics, students have volunteered at local community and mobile clinics, raised money for the class charity through scrub fundraisers, and enjoyed exploring around the beautiful cities and surrounding mountains of Winston-Salem and Boone. Currently, the Class of 2022 is beginning to prepare for clinical year in a month-long course known as ‘Clinical Year Prep’ where students will be trained in ACLS, practice suturing and other clinical skills, take the PACKRAT, work on graduate project research, and participate in simulations such as labor and delivery. Shortly after that, they will receive their white coats and head out on their first rotations at the end of June.
Over the past academic year, Wake PA has gained some amazing new faculty members who are all graduates of the Wake PA Program.
L-R: C. Taylor Jensen, MS, MMS, PA-C, Andrea Mckinnond, MMS, PA-C, Toni Jackson, MMS, PA-C
C. Taylor Jenson, MS, MMS, PA-C, graduated from the Wake PA program in 2018 as part of the Boone cohort. His goal as a PA educator is to prepare graduates from the Wake PA program to be lifelong self-directed and curious learners. He hopes to provide students with knowledge and skills to ensure that they are culturally competent and compassionate providers. He is an advocate for LGBTQ+ health equity and has an interest in exploring how students integrate their personal and professional identities throughout their educational journey.
Andrea Mckinnond, MMS, PA-C, graduated from the Wake PA program in 2015 and completed a one-year fellowship in Otolaryngology at WFBH where she continues to work clinically. She has been a strong advocate for improving the diversity and inclusion within the PA profession as an active and vocal member of both the Wake Forest PA council and WFBH APP Grand Rounds Work group. She is also co-Chair of the NCAPA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.
Toni Jackson, MMS, PA-C, graduated from the Wake PA Program in 2008. She has given three presentations at the Physician Assistant Educator Association (PAEA) National Forum in the past 3 years and has been a PA educator since 2016. Most recently she published a CME article in JAAPA on Early Pregnancy loss, and also serves as a peer-reviewer for JAAPA and PAEA. Her primary goal as a PA educator is to prepare resilient PAs through a student led journey with a strong academic foundation to be leaders in the practice of medicine, and she is very excited to continue her journey with Wake Forest PA students.
Wake PA is very fortunate to have such incredible new faculty members!
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