University officials are establishing a physician’s assistants program to be housed in the Petree College of Arts and Sciences.
Physician’s assistants, or PAs, receive graduate training in medicine. They are licensed by the Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to work with physicians to provide patient care.
University officials decided in Summer 2013 to begin a PA program at OCU. Dr. Dan McNeill, former director of the PA program at OU Health Sciences Center, and Dr. Jerry Vannatta, former dean of OU College of Medicine, are working to start the program.
“I think the PA program is a really cool idea because it broadens the avenues science majors can take,” said Cameron Calloway, biology junior.
There are only two PA programs in Oklahoma, both with the University of Oklahoma.
McNeill proposed a 28-month program, which is comparable to other programs. Officials hope to matriculate the first class on Jan. 4, 2016.
Administrators have not decided where the PA program will be housed, but it is likely to be housed in Sarkeys Law Center. The law school will move downtown to 800 N. Harvey.
McNeill and other faculty are deciding the type of PA program that will work best at OCU.
“I have been thinking about a strong emphasis on community and charitable care,” McNeill said.
The PA program will require additional facilities, including a cadaver laboratory. McNeill said the lab will be good for the undergraduate science students as well.
“I think the lab will compliment the current sciences taught on campus,” McNeill said.
OCU plans to hire five faculty members. Guest speakers in the community also will teach the courses.
“The program will bring a popular and important medical discipline to campus,” McNeill said.
Applications for the program will be available Jan. 2, 2015. For more information, email McNeill at firstname.lastname@example.org.