The mission of the Indiana University Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is to prepare students for physician assistant practice, with a focus on urban and rural underserved communities in the state of Indiana, using an inter-professional team approach to education.

Program Goals

  • Educate physician assistants to provide quality patient-centered health care.

    IU MPAS students are educated throughout the curriculum to consider a holistic approach to patient care and incorporate patient preference along with evidence-based medicine.  To educate students to provide quality patient-centered care, the didactic curriculum consists of courses that cover clinical medicine across all body systems and special populations, patient evaluation courses, pharmacology and clinical therapeutics, behavioral medicine and health promotion and disease prevention.   90% of the Charter Class passed the PANCE on the first attempt.  Preceptor feedback for the first two cohorts of students demonstrates that preceptors agree that IU MPAS students are providing competent care.   The preceptor level of agreement for the degree to which students meet expectations had an average of or above 4.12 on a 5-point Likert scale (with 1=strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree) for the following competency areas: medical interviewing, physical examination techniques, development of differential diagnosis and development of treatment plan. 

  • Recruit from, and place students for clinical education in regions with medically underserved communities.

    • Fifty percent of applicants for the Charter Class of 2015 came from an Indiana medically underserved area and the admitted students reflected this same proportion of 50% from medically underserved counties in Indiana. The Class of 2016 student population contained 61% of students from Indiana medically underserved areas. Nearly one-third of the applicants for the Class of 2017 were from medically underserved areas in Indiana and the admitted students represented 39% from medically underserved areas. Nearly one-fifth of the applicants for the Class of 2018 came from an Indiana medically underserved county, and 43% of the matriculated students are from counties with a medically underserved designation.
    • During the clinical year all IU MPAS students complete a clinical rotation at Eskenazi Health Grassy Creek Community Health Center to gain insight and experience working with patients in an underserved population.
    • The IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences was awarded a three-year $1.9 million federal-funded grant (Health Careers Opportunity Program), beginning September 2016, to provide disadvantaged individuals with the academic and social skills to successfully graduate from health professions programs.  IU-HCOP provides opportunities for the IU MPAS program to recruit economically and education disadvantaged individuals from various phases of life; high school, community college, undergraduate and adult learners. 
  • Develop the student’s ability to practice evidence-based medicine, reflect critically on their clinical practice, and develop life-long learning skills.

    Evidence-based medicine is a cornerstone of clinical decision making.  Students are introduced to evidence-based medicine (SHRS K510) in their first semester. This allows students an early opportunity to understand how to be a consumer of health research and how to apply it to clinical decision making during their clinical medicine courses later in the didactic year.  During the clinical year students develop a research question on a clinical-related topic and implement an evidence-based inquiry into current best practices.  Students create conference quality posters and present their findings at a poster session.  Additionally, students are tasked with utilizing CME self-assessments during their clinical medicine courses to develop life-long learning skills and practice for their future certification maintenance. 

  • Educate physician assistants to provide culturally competent and sensitive health care.

    • IU MPAS students engage in numerous lectures regarding cultural competency, cultural diversity and health disparities in their first year. Students are tasked to identify a specific population and develop a health behavior change intervention that incorporates the populations’ culture with respect to socioeconomic status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, etc.  First-year students participate with other health care learners at IUPUI in an interprofessional education opportunity that is laden with diversity themes such as socioeconomic status, health literacy, language barriers, and ethnicity. 
    • The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Annual Diversity Workshop in the Spring semester provides students with the opportunity to engage with individuals of specific disparate groups. The 2015 workshop revolved around the medical and psychosocial considerations of the LGBTQ community and the 2016 workshop theme was generational differences.
    • Clinical preceptor feedback regarding  the first two cohorts of students’ ability to demonstrate culturally competent and empathetic care to their patients resulted in a mean score of 4.46 on a 5-point Likert scale (where 1= strongly disagree, the student does not meet expectations and 5=strongly agree, the student exceeded expectations). 
  • Educate physician assistants who demonstrate ethical and professional behavior with peers, patients, and families.

    IU MPAS students are educated on the principle of ethics during their first semester in Introduction to the Physician Assistant Profession (SHRS K500). The program emphasizes concepts of professionalism throughout the curriculum and professional behaviors are assessed in the didactic year and clinical year, via self-evaluation and peer evaluation.  Class of 2015 and 2016 preceptor feedback indicates that students are demonstrating professional behaviors during their clinical rotations, with a mean of 4.54 on a 5-point Likert scale (where 1= strongly disagree, the student does not meet expectations and 5=strongly agree, the student exceed expectations). 

  • Prepare students to address community health issues and health disparities in the context of societal and economic systems.

    Concepts of health disparities and cultural diversity are addressed in the Introduction to the Physician Assistant Profession (SHRS K500), the Patient Evaluation courses (SHRS K507 and K508), and the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (SHRS K505) courses.  Students are educated about delivering compassionate and empathetic care to all patients, addressing potential barriers disparate populations may face when accessing health care systems.  Students are placed in a community health center during their clinical year where they are able to implement the knowledge learned in these courses.  Clinical preceptor feedback to date demonstrates that IU MPAS students are meeting this goal as they’ve received positive reviews  (mean score of 4.4 on a 5-point Likert scale where 1= strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree) on their ability to demonstrate a respectful attitude and work appropriately with preceptors, staff and patients at all times.