Skip Navigation

Admission Process and Program Information


Program Director (Interim)

Douglas S. Ander, MD

Medical Directors

Anne Dunlop, MD

Director of Admissions (Interim)

Allan Platt

Associate Professor

Dana Sayre-Stanhope

Assistant Professors

Jodi Guest, Marquitha Mayfield, Elizabeth Rothschild

Instructors

Catherine W. Dragon, Karen Newell

Senior Associates

William Bryson, Allan F. Platt Jr, Jeri Sumitani, Lisette Valdes

Adjunct Faculty

Lisa P. Allardice, Houria Allia, Alina Battle, Luke Beno, Scott Bowerman, Timothy Briscoe, Gregory Burke, Leah J. Calder, Kevin Daus, John Demicco, Michael W. Early, Sr, Thomas Fausett, Jr, Alexander S. Gross, III, Mark Harris, Janice Herbert-Carter, Keith B. Huckaby, Robert A. Jenks, Aimee Lamb, Jefrey Lieberman, Louis Mameli, LeAnne Martinelli, Michael P. Martinelli, Sheila C. Mayo, Tina McElderry, Archibald A. McNeill, III, Darryl Morris, Harold Muecke, Kevin Napier, Christopher Nickum, Brian Organ, Karen E. Pipelow, Timothy Pysell, Mary N. Reeves, Turner W. Rentz, Jr, Antonio Rios, Raymond Rosenberg, William Roundtree, Joann Stearns, George Stefenelli, Cynthia L. Sumner, Margaret S. Talmadge, Imani D. VanNoy, Sandra Ward

Website: http://med.emory.edu

Mission

The Emory Physician Assistant Program seeks to recruit, educate, and mentor a diverse group of students to become physician assistants providing the highest quality health care. The program emphasizes evidence-based primary care and preventive medicine, utilization of information technology, and seeks to interest students in providing for the health needs of medically underserved populations. The program promotes team care, advocacy for patients, the physician assistant profession, and the delivery of primary health care for all patients. Students are prepared to assume leadership roles, support research, and to practice clinically using the most current standards of care by conducting continual self-directed learning.

Overview

The Emory University Physician Assistant Program, implemented in September of 1971, is housed within the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine of the School of Medicine, part of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center. The center is comprised of Emory University School of Medicine, the Rollins School of Public Health, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Yerkes National Primate Research Center. The Health Sciences Center components dedicated to patient care delivery are incorporated in Emory Healthcare, the largest health care system in metropolitan Atlanta. Emory Healthcare includes The Emory Clinic, Emory's own hospitals (Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory Johns Creek and Wesley Woods Center), the jointly owned Emory-Adventist Hospital, and the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory and Scottish Rite campuses, which is the largest pediatric, multispecialty group practice in Georgia. The PA Program has prepared more than 1,700 graduates for national board certification and state licensure as physician assistants.

Students matriculate in August and begin a comprehensive demanding twenty-nine month course of full-time study leading to the master of medical science degree physician assistant. This program diligently strives to accomplish the following objectives:

To develop well-educated and skilled primary care PAs who can provide quality health care to patients in a variety of clinical settings and especially in areas designated as medically underserved;

To develop PAs who can utilize the latest information technology to access the most current evidence-based medicine guidelines and to critically review the medical literature through an in-depth understanding of medical research methodology, to improve the patient care they deliver; and;

To provide PAs with greater job opportunities and increased job stability in paths of upward mobility in a variety of health care settings.

Speciality Accreditation

ARC-PA

Since its inception the Emory PA Program, has been continuously accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education of the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA), 1000 North Oak Avenue, Marshfield, Wisconsin 54449-5788, 715.389.3785 www.arc-pa.org. Current accreditation will be reviewed in 2013.

Admission

A new class of approximately 56 students matriculates each year. The Admissions Committee makes every attempt to select those candidates who show promise of becoming outstanding physician assistants. Decisions are made based on a thorough evaluation of the applicant's academic record, written narrative statement, personal references, performance on the Graduate Record Exam, previous health care experience, and a personal formal interview. Applicants are assessed on the qualifications without regard to gender, sexual orientation, color, age, disability, race, religion, veteran status or national orgin. Accepted applicants to the program have a mean undergraduate grade point average of 3.35, a mean score of 1175 on the GRE and with an average of 5300 hours of direct patient care experience.

Admissions Requirements 

All applicants to the program must have completed a baccalaureate degree, granted by an accredited US or Canadian institution, by the time of matriculation into the program. Additional requirements are as follows:

1. All applicants should have a cumulative and science undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)  or for last 40 semester credits (60 quarter hours) completed. Successful applicants have typically had cumulative grade point averages above 3.0.

2. All applicants must also have completed the following courses:

15 semester hours (22 quarter hours) in natural sciences (such as biology, chemistry, physics) which must include:

  • 4 semester credits (6 quarter hours) in general biology,
  • 8 semester credits or 12 quarter hours in general chemistry, with labs,
  • 4 semester credits or 6 quarter hours (i.e., not a survey, introductory, or "principles of") course in organic chemistry or biochemistry
  • 3 semester credits (4.5 quarter hours) of statistics.

Recommendations for additional coursework include: anatomy, physiology, and microbiology.

3. All courses taken to satisfy the requirements set forth in 2. above must:

  • be taken at an accredited institution. Graduates of foreign institutions must present transcripts of at least one full academic year (24 semester or 36 quarter hours) as a full-time student, or equivalent (preferably in sciences and English) from an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada.
  • be completed at a grade level of "C"or better; be completed prior to matriculation (i.e., not necessarily at the time of application); preference will be given to candidates who have completed their pre-requisites at the time of application.
  • be subject to approval by the Admissions Committee; and
  • be taken on a graded basis, (CLEP credit, audited, and pass/fail are not acceptable).

4. All applicants are required to submit scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test. The test must have been taken within the past five years and must be taken early enough so that official scores are received in the PA office by the application deadline. Testing information may be obtained from: Educational Testing Service, Graduate Record Examination, Rosendale Road, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6004, 609-921-9000, www.gre.org When making application to take the GRE, please specify Code No. R-5187, Emory University, Allied Health Programs. NOTE: Emory University has more than one code.

5. Previous health care experience is an indication to the Admissions Committee of an applicant's awareness of and commitment to a career in health care and is required. Therefore, a minimum of one year (2,000 Hours) of health care experience is expected of all applicants. Preference is given to applicants having experience that requires a period of training and results in direct (hands-on) patient care.

6. A personal interview with the Program Admissions Committee is requited. The interview is by invitation only and is conducted on the Emory University campus to assess maturity, awareness of the professional role of the physician assistant, and career goals consistent withe the program's mission.

7. Students who were educated in a country where English is a foreign language must successfully complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet Based Testing (TOEFLBT) with a minimum score of 25 for the Speaking component and a minimum total score of 93. Regardless of nationality, priority is given to students who complete all four years of their undergraduate education in an accredited U.S. or Canadian institution.

8. Submission of an on-line application through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Instructions for applying to the Emory PA Program may be obtained at https://secure.caspaonline.org or follow the link to CASPA on the PA Program's website: www.emorypa.org Additional information about admissions may be obtained by calling 404-727-3027.

9.  Submission of the required Emory supplemental application along with the $50 fee. This form is available through CASPA in the "My Programs" list of your CASPA account.

All correspondence concerning applications to the PA program should be addressed to: Emory University, Physician Assistant Program Admissions, 1462 Clifton Rd. NE, Suite 280, Atlanta, GA 30322-1000. Phone 404-727-7857. Admission e-mail: emory-pa-admit@emory.edu

Advanced Standing

The curriculum of the Master of Medical Science - Physician Assistant is sufficiently unique that exemption from or advanced standing in course work is not permitted. All students, regardless of prior academic or work experience, must complete the entire 30 month curriculum. Students accepted into the dual degree MMSc/MPH program may take some of these required courses through the Rollins School of Public Health.

Accepted Students

Accepted applicants to the first-year class are required to sign a Statement of Intent to reserve a position in the class. A deposit of up to $750 is required all of which is applied to tuition upon matriculation.

Medical History And Physical Examination

A medical history, physical examination report, and updated immunization record, recorded on University forms, are required upon matriculation to the School of Medicine. Students are not fully registered until those records are on file with the Emory University Student Health Service. An updated medical history is required for reenrollment after a year or more lapse in attendance. For readmission after withdrawal for medical reasons, medical clearance by designated University health officials is required.

Criminal Background Check (CBC)

Prior to matriculation, all students must undergo a criminal background check. Any adverse findings will be reviewed by the program director and, depending on severity of the infraction, may result in the withdrawal of an admission offer. 

Admission To Practice

Licensure in all fifty states requires passage of the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) which is administered by the National Commission on the Certification of the Physician Assistant (NCCPA). Information on the examination process can be obtained at www.nccpa.net

Degree Requirements for the MMSC Degree in Physician Assistant

To be eligible for the Master of Medical Science in Physician Assitant a student must:

  1. Have a satisfactory standing in all courses required for the degree
  2. Be of good moral character. 
  3. Satisfactory completion of the capstone summative evaluation of PA compentencies during the final semester.

The faculty's judgment as to the applicant's fitness for receiving the degree is based not only on scholastic achievement but also on the applicant's character, health, general attitude, and suitability for the profession.

Emory University Physician Assistant Program
1462 Clifton Road, Suite 280
Atlanta, GA 30322
Phone: 404.727.7825
Fax: 404.727.7836
Admissions: 404.727.7857
Email: emory-pa-admit@learnlink.emory.edu
Website: www. emorypa.org

Policies And Procedures

General University Regulations

An applicant's registration and class attendance are considered an agreement to comply with the rules and regulations of Emory University and the School of Medicine as published in the catalogs and Other official publications, including any amendments and revisions made during the student's continued enrollment.

Physician Assistant Program Regulations

The judgment of the faculty as to the fitness of an applicant for the degree is not based on the applicant's scholastic achievement alone, but includes character and general attitude. Students must show evidence of possessing qualities that are highly desirable in professional men and women. The Program reserves the right to require a student who does not display traits deemed necessary in the practice of health care to withdraw at any time. More details regarding the specific program policies can be found in the Physician Assistant Student Handbook on the program website (www.emorypa.org)

Academic Guidelines and Evaluations

For each course in the didactic phase of the program and for each rotation during the clinical rotations of the program, a final letter grade is recorded as an overall indication of the quality of the student's performance. The final grades are determined by the requirements of the course director but include evaluation of participation in class, written work, laboratory work, observation, and written examinations.

During the clinical phases of the program, the preceptor is required to submit a formal evaluation of the student's performance at the conclusion of each clinical rotation. A grade for each clinical rotation is primarily determined by this evaluation and objective measures of clinical knowledge, skills, and professional behavior.

The following system of grading is used except for certain special courses where special permission has been granted to use satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U), as the grading basis:

A clearly superior
B good to excellent
C satisfactory
D marginal
F failure

In addition to the grades shown above, two tentative notations are used. When a course, seminar, or special project lasts for several continuous semesters, the notation a "P" for "in progress" appears on the transcript. The notation remains until the activity is completed when a final grade is awarded. On the Other hand, when assigned work is not satisfactorily completed during a prescribed period, the notation "I" for "incomplete" may be given by the instructor. If the work is not subsequently completed within one year, a final grade of "F" is entered on the record.

Academic Standing

Progression through the program is dependent upon successful completion of all courses in sequence. Successful completion of coursework requires attainment of objectives and satisfactory completion of all assignments. The students shall be required to repeat any didactic course or any clinical rotation in which the student has demonstrated unsatisfactory knowledge or lack of competence.

Students will be expected to complete all courses with grades of "C" or better. Students performing at less than this minimal standard may be placed on academic warning, and may be required to repeat a course, a clinical rotation, an entire semester, or an entire year. Poor academic performance may also result in academic probation or dismissal from the program. Academic or behavioral misconduct will result in an automatic grade of "F" for the subject in which the matter occurred and may be cause for dismissal from the program, as stated in the Physician Assistant Student Handbook.

Evaluation of Student Performance

Academic probation, dismissal, and reinstatement are recommended by vote of the program's Progress and Promotions Committee to the Division Chief, which meets following each semester and is comprised of program faculty, course directors, and clinical supervisors. The decision of the Division Chief is conveyed to the student.

Due Process and Right of Appeal

In all cases involving disciplinary decisions either for academic or nonacademic reasons, due process is followed. Likewise, in all cases, whether the problem is academic or conduct related, the student has the right to request a hearing of an appeals committee and/or to appeal to the dean of the School of Medicine.

Code of Ethics of the Physician Assistant Profession

The physician assistant profession has revised its code of ethics several times since the profession began. Although the fundamental principles underlying the ethical care of patients have not changed, the societal framework in which those principles are applied has. Economic pressures of the health care system, social pressures of church and state, technological advances, and changing patient demographics continually transform the landscape in which PAs practice.

Previous codes of the profession were brief lists of tenets for PAs to live by in their professional lives. The AAPA's "Guidelines for Ethical Conduct of the Physician Assistant Profession" departs from that format by attempting to describe ways in which those tenets apply. Each situation is unique. Individual PAs must use their best judgment in a given situation while considering the preferences of the patient and the supervising physician, clinical information, ethical concepts, and legal obligations.

Four main bioethical principles broadly guided the development of these guidelines: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. Autonomy, strictly speaking, means self-rule. Patients have the right to make autonomous decisions and choices, and physician assistants should respect these decisions and choices. Beneficence means that PAs should act in the patient's best interest. In certain cases, respecting the patient's autonomy and acting in their best interests may be difficult to balance. Nonmaleficence means to do no harm, to impose no unnecessary or unacceptable burden upon the patient. Justice means that patients in similar circumstances should receive similar care. Justice also applies to norms for the fair distribution of resources, risks, and costs.

Physician assistants are expected to behave both legally and morally. They should know and understand the laws governing their practice. Likewise, they should understand the ethical responsibilities of being a health care professional. Legal requirements and ethical expectations will not always be in agreement. Generally speaking, the law describes minimum standards of acceptable behavior, and ethical principles delineate the highest moral standards of behavior.

When faced with an ethical dilemma, PAs may find the guidance they need in this document. If not, they may wish to seek guidance elsewhere, possibly from a supervising physician, a hospital ethics committee, an ethicist, trusted colleagues, or Other AAPA policies. PAs should seek legal counsel when they are concerned about the potential legal consequences of their decisions.

The full document discusses ethical conduct of PAs in their professional interactions with patients, physicians, colleagues, Other health professionals, and the public. The "Statement of Values" within this document defines the fundamental values that the PA profession strives to uphold. These values provide the foundation upon which the guidelines rest. The guidelines were written with the understanding that no document can encompass all actual and potential ethical responsibilities, and PAs should not regard them as comprehensive.

Statement of Values of the Physician Assistant Profession

  • Physician assistants hold as their primary responsibility the health, safety, welfare, and dignity of all human beings.
  • Physician assistants uphold the tenets of patient autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice.
  • Physician assistants recognize and promote the value of diversity.
  • Physician assistants treat equally all persons who seek their care.
  • Physician assistants hold in confidence the information shared in the course of practicing medicine.
  • Physician assistants assess their personal capabilities and limitations, striving always to improve their medical practice.
  • Physician assistants actively seek to expand their knowledge and skills, keeping abreast of advances in medicine.
  • Physician assistants work with Other members of the health care team to provide compassionate and effective care of patients.
  • Physician assistants use their knowledge and experience to contribute to an improved community.
  • Physician assistants respect their professional relationship with physicians.
  • Physician assistants share and expand knowledge within the profession.

(Adopted May 2000 AAPA House of Delegates. Full document available from the AAPA)

Student Organizations 

University Senate

The elective membership of the University Senate includes nine student members, elected for one-year terms, with eligibility for no more than two successive terms. The members are chosen from full-time students in good standing. The Schools of Nursing, Law, Theology, and Business Administration each have a student representative on the University Senate every Other year, so that there are three students from these schools each year. The Office of Student Affairs regularly appoints one representative to the University Senate from the sophomore class for the medical student body.

Student Government Association (SGA)

The governing body for student activities at Emory University is the Student Government Association (SGA). Student legislative power is vested in the student legislature of the SGA, to which the student body of each school elects members according to a formula based on enrollment. The formula calls for election of one legislator for each 200 full-time students enrolled and for an additional legislator for any fraction thereof over one-half. The SGA constitution states that it is the responsibility of all students of Emory University to obey the honor/conduct code of their respective schools and of the University. All University student organizations must apply to SGA for charter.

Pi Alpha Honor Society (PiA)

PiA is the only national physician assistant honor society and has an active chapter at Emory. Election to PiA is a distinction that accompanies a physician assistant throughout his/her career. Members can be elected as students, alumni, or faculty of an affiliated institution or on an honorary basis because of distinguished achievement in any field. Chapter members elect undergraduate students who are in the senior year of school. Criteria for election include scholastic excellence (top ¼ of the class), integrity, and capacity for leadership, compassion, and fairness in dealing with one’s colleagues. The number elected may not exceed one-sixth of those expected to be graduated. 

Health Outreach Program at Emory (HOPE)

HOPE is a student-run organization that provides volunteer opportunities to medical school students who wish to become involved in the community through homeless shelters and medical clinics. These activities include the DeKalb Grady Clinic, the Winter Homeless Shelter, The Jefferson Clinic, and the Boys & Girls Club.

Admissions Committee

Physician assistant students are invited to volunteer for service on committees interviewing applicants. Seniors may also serve as needed. Juniors or seniors are scheduled for each interview day and serve as guides to selected medical school facilities for the applicants interviewed on that day. All arrangements for this are handled through the Office of Admissions within the program.

Good Samaritan Health Clinic

The Good Samaritan Health Clinic, founded in 1998 by Dr. Bill Warren, operates on a sliding fee scale model, with only 20% of its expenses paid through patient fees. Up to 80% of its operating expenses are through private donations and volunteer work by physicians, PAs, NPs, dentists, and Other volunteers. In 2004 a monthly, extended-hours clinic on Saturdays using the skills of PA faculty and students opened its doors. These Saturday sessions are staffed by a variety of volunteers, and students see patients under the supervision of physicians and physician assistants and provide an opportunity to learn medicine, cultural sensitivity, and social responsibility.

Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistant (SAAAPA). 

The AAPA is the professional society for Physician Assistants in the US and functions to represent the best interests of its members in different means. In addition to receiving a subscription to JAAPA, membership as a student in this organization allows participation in national legislative decisions through state and national conferences. Emory’s chapter also works to benefit the school and the community through sponsorship of annual benefits for various causes.

The Emory Medical Women’s Association (EMWA)

EMWA was organized by women students in the school and has been chartered by the University SGA. EMWA is a nationally affiliated organization dedicated to service and promotion of unity within the Emory medical community. Membership is open to women students, faculty members, and house staff affiliates of the medical school.

Physicians for Social Responsibility

PSR is a national organization with international affiliates and a chapter at Emory whose goal is to develop social consciousness. Lunchtime forums with guest speakers focus on social issues surrounding the practice of medicine.

Class Officer Responsibilities

Listed below are class office positions and a brief description of their responsibilities. Most offices are only loosely defined. This is because the success of student government depends primarily on the creativity and enthusiasm of the class officers. Student government helps students to cooperate in making the Emory Campus a vibrant, encouraging place to study.

President: The president must promote, coordinate, and assist in the efforts of Other officers. The president will in one capacity or anOther oversee most physician assistant student activities. Most importantly, the president serves as a representative. The president should be available to listen to the concerns of fellow students and convey them to Other medical school classes, the administration, the faculty, and Other university organizations. When members of the Emory University community wish to communicate with a class, they will usually do so through the class president.

Vice President: The Vice President has a critical role of finding creative solutions to class issues. The primary duties of the Vice President are to conduct fundraising activities for the class, arrange community service projects, or provide students with extra clinical experience. The Vice President also joins the President in attending Advisory Committee meetings and Student Government Association meetings.

Treasurer: Each class in the School of Medicine has its own account in which it keeps money received from SGA, as well as money generated by fundraising efforts. The treasurer is responsible for issuing checks for this account to pay for class activities. In addition, the treasurer prepares and submits a budget to SGA in order to receive funds for next year. 

Secretary: The secretary takes care of class business that requires signup sheets, rosters, announcements, or elections. This role is essential in keeping student government organized and effective.

Course Reps: Each semester, each class elects course representatives to act as intermediaries between the class members and the course directors.

In addition, SAAPA requires that a representative to the Assembly of Representatives (AOR) and an alternante be chosen each year. Students also select members of the Honor Council, and the Academic Programs Council each year.