Healthbeat – Physician Assistant Program Celebrates Accreditation Status with Clinical Partner Sites Across Northern Ontario

PA Accreditation
(left to right): Dr. Chris Bourdon, Chief of Staff and Vice President, Medical and Academic Affairs, Health Sciences North; Dr. Denis-Richard Roy, President and CEO, Health Sciences North; John Shea, Physician Assistant Professional Degree Program, Clinical Coordinator; and, Dr. Maureen Gottesman, Medical Director, Physician Assistant Professional Degree Program, Faculty of Medicine, U of T.

THUNDER BAY – Healthbeat – The Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s (NOSM) is pleased to announce the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), which accredits Physician Assistant (PA) programs in Canada, has recently undertaken the inaugural accreditation review of the PA program and has accorded accreditation status as of December 2011.

The Bachelor of Science Physician Assistant (BScPA) degree is a full-time professional, second-entry undergraduate degree program conferred by the University of Toronto (U of T), and delivered by The Consortium of PA Education. The Consortium is a collaboration between U of T’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, NOSM, and The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences. The majority of the academic curriculum in the BScPA Program is delivered on-line to accommodate students living in their home community. While in their second year of studies, students participate in clinical training in both Northern and southern Ontario communities.

On Tuesday, July 10, 2012, Dr. Maureen Gottesman, Medical Director, Physician Assistant Professional Degree Program, Faculty of Medicine, U of T and John Shea, the PA Program’s Clinical Coordinator, were in Sudbury to present plaques to physicians and health-care facilities and thank them for their support of the program.

“We are proud and excited to achieve this critical stage and are happy to share the news with all of you,” said Gottesman. “It is an important milestone for the entire PA community in Ontario and Canada. Our program is now the fourth accredited PA education program in Canada. It is also a time of celebration for our program, as the first class of Physician Assistants received their BScPA degrees from U of T in early June, and they are currently working as PAs in communities across the province.”

Following the presentation at Health Sciences North, Dr. Chris Bourdon, Chief of Staff and Vice President, Medical and Academic Affairs, shared his sentiments. “Congratulations to NOSM on the accreditation of the Physician Assistant program. Physician Assistants play a valuable role in our health-care system, by working with physicians, nurses, and other health professionals to provide front line care to patients.”

Dr. David Marsh, NOSM’s Senior Associate Dean, East Campus and Associate Dean, Community Engagement, thanked the faculty and community members who make clinical training possible. “The success of the PA program is a result of the hard work and dedication of our clinical preceptors in Sudbury and across the province.”

Physician Assistants were formally introduced into Ontario’s health care system in 2007 with the goal of extending physicians’ capacities in order to reduce wait times and to allow physicians to focus on the most complex medical cases. A Physician Assistant isn’t a doctor, but can perform many routine procedures that a doctor would perform, such as conducting patient interviews, creating a treatment plan for an illness, writing prescriptions and performing minor procedures such as putting in stitches or applying a cast.

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centred, community-engaged education and research.

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