ARC-PA Grants the GW SMHS Physician Assistant Program National Accreditation for the Next Seven Years

September 26, 2013

The Department of Physician Assistant (PA) Studies at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) recently completed its reaccreditation process with the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and will remain nationally accredited for seven years. This is the maximum term granted by the ARC-PA.

Named as one of the nation’s leading PA programs, according to U.S. News and World Report, the program is recognized for its pioneering curriculum and unique focus on community outreach, patient advocacy and leadership.

The PA program has enjoyed continuous accreditation since it began in 1972. As one of the first PA programs to be established in an academic medical center, more than 2,000 PAs have graduated from the program. GW’s PA program graduates have played an important role in extending the services of physicians to deliver quality care in clinics, hospitals, and private health facilities.

“For the past 40 years, the GW PA program has been a leader in the training and education of PAs in the United States,” said Jeffrey S. Akman, M.D., vice president for health affairs and dean of SMHS. “It comes as no surprise that they were granted the maximum accreditation term of seven years – With this success, I know the PA program and students will continue to advance the profession and evolve with the changing landscape of health care - as it has since its inception.”

“We are extremely proud of our students, graduates, faculty and staff, and are grateful for their contributions to the self-study process,” said Lisa Mustone Alexander, Ed.D., PA-C, director of the PA program at SMHS. “This is an accomplishment that speaks to the excellence and integrity of the program.”

The GW PA program is one of 173 entry-level accredited programs nationwide and is approved to accept 70 students each year. Applications to the PA program remain strong and competition for admission is intense. Once admitted, students can enter a two year Master’s degree program or a three year dual degree PA Studies/Public Health program.  After completion, all graduates are required to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination to work as a physician assistant.