Master in Physician Assistant Studies (MS-PAS)

PA staff

Allied Health careers are rapidly expanding in the United States and in Alabama. According to current estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 16 of the top 30 fastest-growing occupations are in health-related fields. Specifically, Physician Assistant employment is expected to grow five times faster than average through 2026, with a national employment change of 37.3%.

There are projected to be over 39,000 new jobs for Physician Assistants (PAs) over the next ten years. And, in 2018,  the median annual salary was $108,610 and is expected to continue to increase! (BLS Employment Projections.) Likewise, Alabama data indicates a comparable growth rate (36.7%) for PAs. (Alabama Rate of Job Growth.)

The vision of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies is to earn a reputation as one of the leading contributors to the field of healthcare by graduating outstanding Physician Assistants, developing distinguished faculty members, and serving the local community by providing increased access to quality medical providers.

The mission of the Faulkner University Physician Assistant program is to train competent and caring medical professionals, in a Christian environment, to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of individuals in the communities where they live and work.

A young girl being treated by a physician

Success in Achieving Goals

To fulfill our mission, we have set five program goals and designated six student Program Learning Outcomes to meet these goals. 

Program Goals

Program Student Learning Outcomes

GOAL 1. Prepare students to become clinicians with the knowledge and skills to competently manage diverse patient populations.

 

A) Outcome Measure: PANCE Scores

Benchmark: Meets or exceeds the national average.

Actual outcome: in progress

B) Outcome Measure: Student clinical tracking of diverse patient encounters 

Benchmark: At least 10% of all clinical encounters by the end of the clinical component of the curriculum will take place with diverse patient populations 

Actual outcome: in progress

1. Medical Knowledge – Graduates of the PAS program will be able to apply the necessary medical knowledge to diagnose, treat, and educate patients from diverse populations presenting with diseases across all organ systems and across all lifespans.

2. Interpersonal and Communication Skills – Graduates of the PAS program will be able to employ interpersonal and communication skills necessary to effectively collaborate with all healthcare team members, as well as communicate with patients and their families to provide optimal care.

3. Patient Care – Graduates of the PAS program will be able to provide exceptional patient care throughout the entire treatment process, including diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, gathering information, and formulating appropriate treatment plans for patients of all acuity levels.

4. Professionalism – Graduates of the PAS program will be able to demonstrate professionalism through the expression of positive values and ideals in all aspects of the role of a Physician Assistant 

6. Systems-based Practice – Graduates of the PAS program will be able to apply critical thinking skills to make sound medical decisions in all aspects of the healthcare system, taking into account the influences of society, economics, and the organization in which the Physician Assistant practices, balancing quality and cost, while maintaining the primacy of the individual patient.

Goal 2. Instill an appreciation of and desire for lifelong learning.

Outcome Measure: Curriculum Alignment Matrix (CAM)

Benchmark: Curriculum Alignment Matrix (CAM) of PLO 5 at or above 80%

Actual Outcome: in progress

 Score______%

5b. Critical analysis of evidence-based medicine and medical literature, to provide quality patient care and encourage lifelong learning

Goal 3. Teach students to apply the principles of evidenced-based medicine.

 

Outcome Measure: Curriculum Alignment Matrix (CAM)

Benchmark: Curriculum Alignment Matrix (CAM) of PLO 5 at or above 80%

Actual Outcome: in progress

 Score______%

5a. Practice-based Learning and Improvement – Graduates of the PAS program will be able to;

 

Perform critical self- evaluation of their own knowledge, skills, and practice through

1) Implementation of practice-based learning

2) Implementation of improvement strategies 

Goal 4. Train and graduate students with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve a first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

Outcome Measure: PANCE pass rate

Benchmark: First time PANCE pass rate that meets or exceeds the national average.

Actual Outcome: In progress

Pass rate _____%

See Program Leaning Outcomes 1-6 above

Goal 5. Produce competent practitioners, as evidenced by an employment rate within one year of graduation above 90%.

Outcome measure: Alumni Survey

Benchmark: Employment rate within one year of graduation above 90%

Actual Outcome: In Progress

Employment rate _____%

See Program Learning Outcomes 1-6 above

First Time PANCE Pass Rate

To be posted upon receipt from NCCPA following graduation of first cohort and updated annually to display the five most recent graduating classes.

Application and Admission Requirements

Timeline for 2022-2023 Admissions Cycle:

April 28, 2022 Applications open on CASPA

December 1, 2022 Application deadline

All prospective Physician Assistant Studies students must apply through both CASPA and Faulkner University ($75 supplemental application fee)

Applicant Requirements:

  • Official transcripts from every accredited United States College or University attended, or from a University outside of the United States with verified US equivalency
  • Bachelor's degree and all prerequisites must be completed within 10 years of application date. Degrees and courses completed more than 10 years ago will not be accepted.
  • Evidence of earned, or pending, bachelor’s degree and all prerequisite courses 
    • Up to nine credit hours may be in progress at time of application as long as they are successfully completed prior to starting the PA Studies Program
  • Cumulative GPA ≥ 3.0 (extra consideration will be given to candidates who excelled in their academic coursework)
  • Prerequisite GPA ≥ 3.0 (minimum of a C in each course, extra consideration will be given to candidates who excelled in their prerequisite coursework)
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • At a minimum, one letter must be from an MD, DO, PA, or NP
    • Letters from family or friends will NOT count towards the 3 letter requirement. 
  • Personal Statement
  • 100 minimum Direct Patient Care Experience Hours (Documented in CASPA)
    • Direct Patient Care Experience Hours will be accepted with experience in any of the following fields:: 
      • Allied Healthcare Provider
      • Emergency Department/Hospital Clinic Technician
      • Medical Assistant
      • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Aide
      • EMT or Paramedic
      • Operating Room Technician
      • Emergency Department/Clinic Scribe
      • Physical Therapist/Physical Therapist Assistant
      • Respiratory Therapist/Aide
      • Radiology Technician/Technologist
      • RN/LPN
  • 40 minimum Shadowing Hours with a PA (documented in CASPA)
  • GRE scores, including the writing component (Institution code 5028)
  • Supplemental Faulkner graduate application ($75 fee)

Applicants may enhance their application by meeting any of the below conditions:

  • Missional Alignment with Faulkner University
  • Faulkner Legacy Student: defined as a student graduating from Faulkner University or having strong ties to the University through family relationships
  • Excellence in both Cumulative and Prerequisite coursework GPA 
  • Completion of additional coursework, examples listed below, that would enhance performance in the PA Program (Max of 3 courses will be considered for application enhancement)
    • Immunology
    • Genetics
    • Health Education
    • Pathophysiology
    • Biochemistry
    • Physics
    • Cell Biology
    • Organic Chemistry
  • Additional Patient Care and Shadowing Hours over and above the minimum requirements. (documented in CASPA)
  • Volunteer Hours (minimum of 100 hours for enhancement, documented in CASPA)
  • Military Service
  • Advanced Degree in Health Related Studies (example Masters in Public Health)
  • Leadership Experience in a service area related to the healthcare profession
  • The Program seeks to promote a cohort of students from varied backgrounds and experiences in order to foster a learning environment that prepares PAs to address the needs of a diverse society.

Additional questions should be addressed to Faulkner Graduate Enrollment or paadmissions@faulkner.edu

Prerequisites

The following prerequisite courses are minimums and must be completed at a regionally accredited institution in the United States, or at an institution outside of the US with proven US equivalency, within 10 years of matriculation:

8 semester hours of general biology for science majors with lab
3 semester hours of microbiology
8 semester hours of human anatomy & physiology with lab
8 semester hours of general chemistry for science majors with lab
3 semester hours of statistics (math or psychology)
3 semester hours of general psychology
3 semester hours of abnormal or developmental psychology
1 semester hour of medical terminology
Total Prerequisite Hours: 37 hours

Applicants may have up to 9 credit hours (or 3 courses) in progress at the time of application. All prerequisite courses must be completed by June prior to starting the program in August.

Tuition and Fees

Faulkner University Physician Assistant Studies Program
Tuition, Fees, and Associated Cost of Attendance
Effective 2021-2022

Please Note: Tuition, fees, and associated costs of attendance are estimates only. Tuition and Fees are officially established annually at the Faulkner University Board of Trustees meeting.

  First Year Second Year Third Year
Tuition $41,125 $39,375 $13,125
Fees $3,900 $3,900 $1,300
Books/Equipment $2,500 $1,300 $500
Computer $1,000 - -
Health Insurance $2,100 $2,100 $835
Lodging/Food $7,000 $10,500 $7,000
Transportation $1,000 $1,500 $1,000
Miscellaneous $1,300 $2,000 -
AAPA/ASPA dues $100 - -

Withdrawal and Refunds

The MS-PAS Program will follow Faulkner University policy for refunds in the case of student withdrawal. If a student withdraws from classes, they are only subject to a refund if they withdraw within a certain time frame. A student who withdraws through the 7th day from start date of term: 100% refund, less $110. Through the 10th day from start date of term: 50% refund, and after the 10th day of start date of term: 0% refund. Drop fees are assessed on the first day of class.

Accreditation

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Faulkner University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Faulkner University.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation- Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.

The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Accreditation-History-Faulkner-U.pdf.

Curriculum

MS Degree Plan

Students will complete the program with their cohort in the following sequence:

Semester 1
PAS 5102 Introduction to PA Practice 1 Unit
PAS 5103 Bioethics 1 Unit
PAS 5104 Medical Communications 1 Unit
PAS 5205 Biostatistics and Evidence Based Medicine 2 Units
PAS 5106 Introduction to Pharmacology 1 Unit
PAS 5500 Human Anatomy with Lab (3:4) 5 Units
PAS 5401 Medical Physiology with Lab (3:2) 4 Units
Semester 2
PAS 5510 Clinical Medicine I 5 Units
PAS 5311 Physical Examination I with Lab (1:2) 3 Units
PAS 5212 Clinical Skills and Procedures I 2 Units
PAS 5314 Pharmacology I 3 Units
PAS 5117 Introduction to Pediatrics 1 Unit
PAS 5128 Geriatric Medicine 1 Unit
Semester 3
PAS 5520 Clinical Medicine II 5 Units
PAS 5321 Physical Examination II with Lab (1:2) 3 Units
PAS 5222 Clinical Skills and Procedures II 2 Units
PAS 5324 Pharmacology II 3 Units
PAS 5118 Introduction to Surgery 1 Unit
PAS 5127 Introduction to Emergency Medicine 1 Unit
PAS 5215 Neuroanatomy  2 Units
  Semester 4
PAS 5530 Clinical Medicine III 5 Units
PAS 5331 Physical Examination III with Lab (1:2) 3 Units
PAS 5232 Clinical Skills and Procedures III 2 Units
PAS 5334 Pharmacology III 3 Units
PAS 5235 Research Methods 2 Units
  Semester 5,6,7 (Clinical Rotations)
PAS 6310 Elective I 3 Units
PAS 6311 Elective II 3 Units
PAS 6312 Elective III 3 Units
PAS 6308 Women’s Health 3 Units
PAS 6309 Behavioral and Mental Health 3 Units
PAS 6601 Pediatrics 6 Units
PAS 6602 Family Medicine 6 Units
PAS 6603 Internal Medicine 6 Units
PAS 6604 General Surgery 6 Units
PAS 6605 Emergency Medicine 6 Units
  Total 107 Units

Course Descriptions:

PAS 5102 Introduction to PA Practice (1 Unit)

This course will provide the student with an introduction to the profession of Physician Assistant, including its history and development and possible future directions. The role of the PA across all aspects of medicine will be discussed with an emphasis on primary care. This course will also address how the PA fits into the healthcare team and explore various practice settings. Important issues, such as licensing, credentialing, insurance, and legal and legislative, will also be explored.

PAS 5103 Bioethics (1 Unit)

This course examines both Christian and secular principles and approaches to bioethical issues faced by the physician assistant.  Students, using case-based scenarios, will discuss and debate multiple ethical issues including provider-patient relationships, beginning of life, end of life, and foregoing medical care.  Students will also consider established bioethical codes as they begin to form and develop a personal bioethical code.

PAS 5104 Medical Communications (1 Unit)

This course is designed to introduce students to the art of medical history-taking and offers practical strategies for effective, patient-centered interpersonal communication. Learners will be instructed in the appropriate formats for documentation of patient history as well as techniques to enhance the effectiveness of both history-taking and patient education.

PAS 5205 Biostatistics and Evidence-Based Medicine (2 Units)

This course is designed to access, and critically interpret medical literature. As lifelong learners, PAs must be able to locate, understand and apply concepts derived from the medical literature as they relate to the treatment of their patients. The students should learn to differentiate between statistical and clinical significance as they focus on an evidence-based approach to interpreting medical literature.  This course will evaluate basic biostatistical methods and formulae.

PAS 5106 Introduction to Pharmacology (1 Unit)

This course introduces the pharmacologic principles and concepts which are essential for making sound pharmacotherapeutic decisions. This course covers pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug metabolism, and pharmacogenetics, as well as an introduction to the general classification of medications.

PAS 5500 Human Anatomy with Lab (5 Units)

This is a systems-based course that will emphasize the application of anatomical knowledge to clinical practice.  This course covers gross anatomy while demonstrating the design inherent in the human body and how alterations from the norm can affect function. Structure-function relationships will be explored at multiple levels of organization, specifically, cell, tissue, organ, and systems.

PAS 5401 Medical Physiology with Lab (4 Units)

This is a systems-based course that will emphasize the application of knowledge of human physiology to clinical practice.  This course covers system structure and function while demonstrating the design inherent within cells and systems and how alterations from the norm can affect function.

PAS 5510 Clinical Medicine I (5 Units)

This course is the first in a three-course sequence that is designed to teach students clinical medicine in an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. The course will be primarily lecture-based and supplemented by case discussions. Information will be presented in organ system-based sequences that will include the mechanism, clinical presentation, and approach to the diagnosis of disease as well as health promotion.

PAS 5311 Physical Examination I with Lab (3 Units)

This course is the first in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students the techniques to obtain a pertinent history and perform an appropriate physical examination in complement to the information learned in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5212 Clinical Skills and Procedures I (2 Units)

This course is the first in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students foundational knowledge in clinical diagnostic skills that prepare the student for required responsibilities in patient care. Course content includes clinical, laboratory, and basic surgical techniques required in primary care. Students learn best practice approaches to caring for patients and guidelines for preventive care and disease screening.

PAS 5314 Pharmacology I (3 Units)

This course is the first in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students appropriate pharmacotherapeutics in an organ systems-based approach that complements the sequencing in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5117 Introduction to Pediatrics (1 Units)

This course is designed to introduce students to pediatric care by providing an overview of specific illnesses, diagnostic tests, terminology, and treatment in this special population while emphasizing the role of the PA in a general pediatric practice. The course will explore normal growth and development and immunization recommendations and, also, provide an overview of the similarities and differences between pediatric and adult populations.

PAS 5128 Geriatric Medicine (1 Unit)

This course will focus on issues specific to geriatrics, examining the similarities and, primarily, the differences inherent to this population. The process of death and dying and end of life issues will be discussed.

PAS 5520 Clinical Medicine II (5 Units)

This course is the second in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students clinical medicine in an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. The course will be primarily lecture based and supplemented by case discussions. Information will be presented in organ system-based sequences that will include the mechanism, clinical presentation, and approach to the diagnosis of disease as well as health promotion.

PAS 5321 Physical Examination II with Lab (3 Units)

This course is the second in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students the techniques to obtain a pertinent history and perform an appropriate physical examination in complement to the information learned in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5222 Clinical Skills and Procedures II (2 Units)

This course is the second in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students foundational knowledge in clinical diagnostic skills that prepare the student for required responsibilities in patient care. Course content includes clinical, laboratory, and basic surgical techniques required in primary care. Students learn best practice approaches to caring for patients and guidelines for preventive care and disease screening.

PAS 5324 Pharmacology II (3 Units)

This course is the second in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students appropriate pharmacotherapeutics in an organ systems-based approach that complements the sequencing in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5118 Introduction to Surgery (1 Unit)

This course is designed to introduce students to the field of surgery and studies major and minor surgical conditions with an emphasis on indications for surgical intervention. Management of patients through the pre-, intra-, and post-operative stages in both ambulatory and inpatient settings will be discussed.

PAS 5127 Introduction to Emergency Medicine (1 Units)

This course explores various types of urgent and emergent conditions across the lifespan that present in an emergency medicine setting. Students are prepared to triage, stabilize, evaluate, treat, and monitor such conditions. Disposition of patients, including admission criteria, referrals, and specialty consultations, will also be discussed.

PAS 5215 Neuroanatomy (2 units)

This course is an in depth study of the structure and function of the neurological system, including gross anatomy, histology, embryology and physiology. Students will be introduced to selected pathologies and special tests that facilitate the understanding of the relationship of the nervous system to function of the human body.

PAS 5530 Clinical Medicine III (5 Units)

This course is the third in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students clinical medicine in an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. The course will be primarily lecture based and supplemented by case discussions. Information will be presented in organ system-based sequences that will include the mechanism, clinical presentation, and approach to diagnosis of disease as well as health promotion.

PAS 5331 Physical Examination III with Lab (3 Units)

This course is the third in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students the techniques to obtain a pertinent history and perform an appropriate physical examination in complement to the information learned in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5232 Clinical Skills and Procedures III (2 Units)

This course is the third in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students foundational knowledge in clinical diagnostic skills that prepare the student for required responsibilities in patient care. Course content includes clinical, laboratory, and basic surgical techniques required in primary care. Students learn best practice approaches to caring for patients and guidelines for preventive care and disease screening.

PAS 5334 Pharmacology III (3 Units)

This course is the third in a three course sequence that is designed to teach students appropriate pharmacotherapeutics in an organ systems-based approach that complements the sequencing in the clinical medicine course.

PAS 5235 Research Methods (2 Units)

This course is designed to introduce students to methods, and areas need, in research to improve the delivery of care and/or patient outcomes and to foster an interest in promoting Physician Assistant scholarship.

PAS 6310 Elective I (3 Units)

This course is a three week supervised clinical practice experience designed to allow students to explore new areas of PA practice or reinforce and strengthen areas of perceived deficits. Students may also choose to utilize the elective rotation to evaluate, and be evaluated by, a potential employer.

PAS 6311 Elective II (3 Units)

This course is a three week supervised clinical practice experience designed to allow students to explore new areas of PA practice or reinforce and strengthen areas of perceived deficits. Students may also choose to utilize the elective rotation to evaluate, and be evaluated by, a potential employer.

PAS 6312 Elective III (3 Units)

This course is a three week supervised clinical practice experience designed to allow students to explore new areas of PA practice or reinforce and strengthen areas of perceived deficits. Students may also choose to utilize the elective rotation to evaluate, and be evaluated by, a potential employer.

PAS 6308 Women’s Health (3 Units)

This course is a three week supervised clinical practice experience in women’s health including prenatal and gynecologic care in various clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6309 Behavioral and Mental Health (3 Units)

This course is a three week supervised clinical practice experience in behavioral and mental health in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6601 Pediatrics (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in general pediatric care providing exposure to patients across the lifespan of infant, children, and adolescents. Education may occur in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6602 Family Medicine (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in family medicine and is designed to provide exposure to patients across the lifespan of infant, children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. Education may occur in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6603 Internal Medicine (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in internal medicine and is designed to provide exposure to patients across the lifespan of adults and the elderly. Education may occur in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6604 General Surgery (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in general surgery and is designed to provide exposures to patients across the lifespan and include management of pre-, intra-, and post-operative issues. Education may occur in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

PAS 6605 Emergency Medicine (6 Units)

This course is a six week supervised clinical practice experience in emergency medicine and is designed to provide exposure to patients across the lifespan and include management of urgent and emergent issues. Unique opportunities to be an integral part of a multidisciplinary team are expected. Education may occur in varied clinical settings and is designed to provide encounters necessary to acquire the requisite competencies of a practicing physician assistant.

Technical Standards

The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MS-PAS) is designed to provide comprehensive knowledge and skills to allow the graduate to enter into a practice environment equipped to be an effective health care provider. In order to achieve this goal, students must possess and exhibit emotional, physical, and cognitive capabilities to complete this rigorous program. Faulkner University is committed to providing the necessary accommodations to prepare students from both didactic and clinical aspects. The faculty of the MS-PAS program has identified the following minimal technical standards that are required to complete the program:

Critical Thinking: Students must exhibit the mental capacity to assimilate, analyze, synthesize and integrate concepts and apply problem-solving skills to formulate assessments and create treatment plans.

Communication Skills: Students must exhibit both oral and written abilities that allow for clear, concise, and effective communication with patients and colleagues.

Sensory and Observational Skills: Students must possess visual, auditory, tactile, and other sensory abilities sufficient to allow them to observe classroom demonstrations, participate in technical procedures and elicit accurate patient information to formulate correct diagnoses and treatment plans.

Motor Skills: Students must exhibit the gross and fine motor skills needed to execute the technical procedures involved in the practice of medicine and surgery. They must be able to calibrate and use the equipment, maneuver in restricted spaces, and move and position patients.

Interpersonal Skills: Professionalism is a core competency for Physician Assistants, therefore students must possess a wide range of interpersonal skills. These include:

  • maintain the emotional health required to manage high-stress situations while simultaneously displaying full intellectual abilities;
  • have an ability to exercise good judgment;
  • possess excellent time management skills (arrive on time, start and finish tasks on time);
  • exhibit a propensity to complete all assigned patient care responsibilities in a timely manner;
  • have the capacity to develop mature, compassionate, and effective relationships with colleagues, faculty, staff, patients, and their families;
  • cultivate an ability to recognize and channel one’s own emotional states in a way that allows you to engage with others in a constructive way;
  • be a team player.

Core Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession

About Us

As part of Faulkner University's commitment to Christian services, this new master's program in physician assistant studies provides a nurturing environment for our students while increasing access to quality medical care in our community.

Our systems focused curriculum presents medical knowledge, technical skills, and clinical experience in a clinically relevant manner so that you are not just learning information, but becoming a physician assistant. As a member of Faulkner's developing College of Health Sciences, you will collaborate with students from other disciplines and experience the optimal team practice approach that is central to the PA Practice.

Faculty/Staff Profiles

Robin Risling, MHS, EdD, PA-C
Professor, Interim Director of Physician Assistant Program
334-386-7450

rrisling@faulkner.edu

 

 

 

Kristi Witcher, MD
Medical Director
334-386-7450

kwitcher@faulkner.edu

Kristi C. Witcher, M.D.,  is an Emergency Room specialist who has practiced in Omaha, Nebraska; Council Bluffs, Iowa; Shreveport, Louisiana, and currently here in Montgomery and Prattville, Alabama. Dr. Witcher is a native of Flagstaff, Arizona.  After graduating with B.A.’s in Chemistry and Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, she went on to complete her medical school training at the University of Arizona in 1998. Postgraduate work included a Transitional Internship at Texas Tech, El Paso, then went on to work for the United States Air Force as an active duty Flight Surgeon. After her stint in the Air Force she went back to Texas Tech, El Paso to complete a Residency in Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Witcher is currently working at all three hospitals in the Baptist Medical System in the Montgomery area where she has been Chair of the Emergency Department at Baptist East since 2014 and the Chief of Staff at Baptist East since January 2020. She currently works with several Physician Assistants (PA) and Nurse Practitioners (NP) across the Baptist system and teaches residents and PA/NP students. She was eager to become the first Medical Director of the PA program at Faulkner University in 2019.

Dr. Witcher, as well as being a full time Emergency Room Physician, is a current member of the University Church of Christ, as well as a wife and mother of two children. 

Lora-Emily Banks, MS-PAS, PA-C
Assistant Professor, Director of Clinical Education
334-386-7332
lbanks@faulkner.edu

Lora-Emily Banks is an NCCPA board certified Physician Assistant who completed her undergraduate studies from Troy University with a degree in Biology and Spanish. She went on to pursue her Master in Health Sciences/ PA Studies from the University of South Alabama where she was the Vice President of her class and graduated magna cum laude in 2014.

Lora-Emily has been practicing in Emergency Medicine for the Baptist Health System locally for the last 6 years. She has a strong passion for teaching, and prior to entering full time academia, she was the Advanced Practice Clinician Educator for the Emergency Department. During that time she taught procedural courses for the nursing and provider staffs, wrote case studies, hosted a journal club, and oversaw the 6 week orientation training for new hires. She also serves as the Vice President of Education for the local Advanced Practitioners for the River Region organization. Throughout her time in the ED, she was a preceptor for both PA and NP students from programs across the state.

She is a native Montgomerian and looks forward to the impact of this program on the local medical community.  Lora-Emily is an active member of Vaughn Forest Church, where she serves in the Women’s and Preschool ministries.  She enjoys running, working out, gardening, wood working, and spending time with her friends and family.  She is married to Sy, and has two young children, Vivian (5) and Henry (3).

Her motto in medical practice is from Colossians 3:23-24 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." She views medicine as her mission field and looks forward to cultivating and encouraging the future medical practice of her students.

Deet Scott, MD
Assistant Professor
334-386-7272
dscott@faulkner.edu

Deet Scott, MD comes to Faulkner with a background in family medicine and education.  Her years living in Europe as an Air Force brat provided an appreciation for travel and cultural diversity, while her subsequent move to the south taught her the joy of community, family and friends.

Dr. Scott graduated from David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee before joining the Air Force as part of the Health Profession Scholarship Program.  She moved to Chicago, Illinois in order to attend Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, where she gained an appreciation for a different kind of cultural diversity; a kind that can only be found at a Jesuit institution in a large American city. Upon graduation Dr. Scott completed Family Medicine training at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Dr. Scott’s years as a practicing physician included time serving the United States Air Force followed by private practice that served the full scope of the life cycle. During this time Dr. Scott worked with and supervised Physician Assistants within the family medicine setting.

Since leaving clinical practice Dr. Scott has heavily invested in educating the next generation in their knowledge of and appreciation for the human body as the home of the soul. Dr. Scott has been teaching at Faulkner University and working with the Physician Assistant program since fall of 2019.

As a wife and mother, Dr. Scott stays busy with her four children (ages 14-21), church, and community activities in the local area. Outside of work she continues to enjoy travel, reading, and whatever sports her kids are involved in at the moment.

Rebecca Johnson, MPAS, PA-C
Assistant Professor
334-386-7670
rjohnson@faulkner.edu

Rebecca is a board-certified Physician Assistant with over 10 years of experience. She most recently worked for Mercy Medical Clinic, providing primary care to the medically underserved of Lee County, Alabama. She worked in Women's Health for five years before going to Mercy Medical. Rebecca received her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from South University in Savannah, GA.

Lauren Worley, PA-C
Assistant Professor, Assistant Director of Clinical Education
334-386-7269

lworley@faulkner.edu

 

 

 

Laura Del Campo, PA-C
Assistant Professor
334-386-1606

ldelcampo@faulkner.edu

 

 

 

Cassie Boyd, PharmD
Assistant Professor
334-386-1418

cboyd@faulkner.edu

 

 

 

John Geisler, MD, MSPharm, FACOG
Professor and Director of Research for the Faulkner College of Health Sciences
334-386-1406

jgeisler@faulkner.edu

 

 

 

Sue Hake, DPM
Assistant Professor
334-386-1431

shake@faulkner.edu

FAQs

How will clinical site choices work?

All core clinical sites have been established and vetted by the Director of Clinical Education and the program. Additional sites may be developed on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the DCE and the Program Director.

I am most curious about the general program structure and where clinical rotations will take place.

The PA Program is 27 months in length with 15 months of in-classroom didactic education and 12 months of clinical education. Clinical rotations will take place locally at clinical sites within a 70-mile radius of Montgomery.

What are the names of the hospital and health care facilities that will be affiliated with Faulkner‘s PA Program?

Faulkner has partnered with several health systems and private based clinics throughout the state. Locally, we have an excellent relationship with both Jackson and Baptist Hospital Systems, and Health Services Inc. (our local FQHC).

How many clinical rotations does this program plan to offer, and how many of those rotations are electives?

Students have 9 Clinical Rotations:

Family Medicine

Internal Medicine

Emergency Medicine

Pediatrics

Women's Health

Behavioral Medicine

Three Electives

Clinical rotations will include office-based (outpatient), hospital-based (inpatient), and Emergency Department experiences.

Does Faulkner University allow for clinical rotations abroad or within different states?

  • We do not currently offer any clinical rotations abroad. ARC PA’s new standards only allow utilizing abroad clinical sites for electives
  • Faulkner‘s PA program does have contracts in place with several health systems in neighboring states.
  • ARC-PA mandates that all clinical sites and preceptors must be extensively vetted by the DCE. This will be the major rate-limiting step for the development of additional sites.

After each clinical, will we have summation exams? lectures? meet physically back on campus?

Students will meet back on campus after every clinical rotation for debriefing and End of Rotation Exams.

What is the process of remediation if a student is struggling?

PA program faculty are dedicated to the success of our students and believe in early identification of students that are demonstrating a negative trend in grades or behaviors. Grades are represented as pass/no pass; however, students will be kept abreast of their performance in the program by routine meetings with their advisor (quarterly) or scheduled meetings with their advisor or course instructor. Any student that does not pass any assignment will meet with the course instructor for discussion and advisement. Any student trending along the low pass curve will be brought in for problem identification and advisement.

ls the curriculum mostly lecture style? small group/case study? problem-based learning where a group of students teach each other the concepts?

The curriculum is mostly lecture style but also includes team-based learning, case-based learning, and role-play/discussion.

Assessments are varied and include: written exam (multiple choice/matching), discussion questions, oral presentation, case-based learning, team—based learning, and role play.

Will there be opportunities to do community service, a certain number of hours each quarter?

Community service will largely be elective but offered routinely. We value service to the community highly and recommend these interactions to engage with other members of the medical community.

Will there be a Capstone project as we approach our graduation month?

The Capstone project will be introduced in the 4th semester as the main focus of PAS 5325 Research Methods.

What do you (the staff) believe sets the Faulkner University Physician Assistant Studies Program apart from other physician assistant programs?

Faulkner's PA program has a few unique strengths: Extensive (nearly 100 years) of combined clinical experience of the core staff; extremely close relations and interprofessional opportunities within the College of Health Sciences (PA, PT, OT, and SLP); deeply rooted Christian faith-based approach to caring for the whole person.

There is $1,000 amount worked into our tuition for computers from the website... any particular type?

It is listed as a cost, not part of tuition. Any will do.

Are there simulation labs in which we get to interact with robots that can provide us with many different health-related scenarios?

Yes, we have an agreement with a 20,000 sq. ft. simulation center: Baptist Health Institute for Patient Safety and Medical Simulation

How early are we exposed to hands-on patient interaction?

5th semester

What legacy/culture do you want to instill for the first cohort?

In evaluating applicants for our program, we were looking for evidence of a commitment to healthcare, a team-based focus, and a strong work ethic.

When would be the projected dates of orientation?

August 

What would a typical day look like for us (Monday-Friday) during the first 4 semesters? The last 3 semesters?

PA education is rigorous. During the first 4 semesters, you need to be available to the program 8AM-8PM M-F and occasional Saturdays (especially in the first semester). ln the clinical phase, your schedule is determined by your preceptor and will include nights and weekends.

What materials are we required to purchase? Are any materials included in the tuition?

See costs section on website.

Student Attrition Table

ARC-PA Student Attrition Table

 

Graduated Classes

 Class of   2022

 Class of   2023

 

Maximum entering class size (as approved by ARC-PA)

50

50

 

Entering class size

35

48  

Graduates

0 0  

* Attrition rate

.06 .02  

**Graduation rate

     

                                                    *Attrition rate calculation:  Number of students who attritted from cohort divided by the entering class size.

**Graduation rate:  Number of cohort graduates divided by the entering class size.