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NGU and GHS launch physician assistant program

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Natalie Schrader, a junior biology major at North Greenville University, explains how the partnership between NGU and Greenville Memorial Hospital to launch the Physician Assistant program will enable her to continue her medical studies in the Upstate. NGU President Jimmy Epting, left, and GHS President and CEO Michael Riordan announced the partnership.
 
 
 

Courtesy Greenville Health System

Natalie Schrader, a junior biology major at North Greenville University, explains how the partnership between NGU and Greenville Memorial Hospital to launch the Physician Assistant program will enable her to continue her medical studies in the Upstate. NGU President Jimmy Epting, left, and GHS President and CEO Michael Riordan announced the partnership.

 

 

 

North Greenville University and the Greenville Health System announced a partnership to launch the Upstate’s first physician assistant (PA) program. The state’s only other PA program is at the College of Charleston.

The proposed Master of Medical Science program is expected to launch in January 2017, with the first 32 students scheduled to graduate in 2019. The program is expected to have as many as 144 students per year by 2021.

Provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant is anticipated in 2016.

“There is a tremendous need for physician assistants and we are delighted to be working with North Greenville University to meet the Upstate’s needs,” said Michael Riordan, GHS President and CEO, at today's announcement at Greenville Memorial Hospital. “Working together, we will help close the gap between available care and demand.”

Ninety-five percent of NGU students with degrees in biology, who apply to medical schools, are accepted, said Jimmy Epting, President of NGU, during Thursday’s announcement at Greenville Memorial Hospital.

“Greenville Health System and North Greenville University is a natural fit,” Epting said. “As an educational institution that stresses service, we’re particularly proud to be able to bring this program to the Upstate and provide great jobs for our graduates. It allows us to focus on prevention and wellness.”

The average salary for a PA is $85,000.

North Greenville, with about 2,500 students, is one of 10 affiliate partners in the GHS Clinical University. Clemson, University of South Carolina and Furman are three primary partners.

The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a 90,000-physician shortage by 2020.

“This has been one of the most fascinating business experiences of my life,” said Buddy Waters, vice chair of the GHS Board of Trustees. GHS has transitioned as an academic medical center under Riordan’s guidance. Waters is the retired president of Cunningham-Waters Construction in Greer.

“The Medical School (USC School of Medicine Greenville), Nursing (Anesthesia Program), Pharmacy and Physician Assistant program completes the picture of medicine,” Waters said.

“As the paradigm of health delivery shifts to meet this shortfall, new models of care – like the patient-centered medical home – are ideally suited for the PA provider, who has a medical education, team-based practice approach and strong focus on wellness and prevention,” said Greg Davenport, NGU’s associate dean of health professions. Davenport is a PA with 25 years of experience.

PAs are formally trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive health care services, as delegated by a physician. They perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. In rural areas, the PA may be the only healthcare provider on-site, collaborating with a physician elsewhere through communication.

“It gives us increased incredibility across the entire spectrum,” not just academically,” said Wilson Nelson, Executive Director for the Crusader Club. “It’s a different but converging mission.”

Natalie Schrader, a junior biology major at NGU, said she wants to live in and provide healthcare in communities unaccustomed to high-level care. “This program will exceed anything I wanted,” Schrader said. “My vision is to live within a community and clinically serve the people that need healthcare most.”

 

 

 

 

 

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