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Medical Academic Scholar Certificate Program


The Medical Academic Scholar Certificate Program (MASCP) is a certificate program that will prepare you to begin what will hopefully be a long career in academia. The program is designed for medical professionals to develop as leaders in medical education. Skills emphasized include educational leadership, teaching and scholarship. This course will help you:

1.     Pursue scholarship in medical education

2.     Achieve greater educational leadership responsibilities

3.     Become an effective instructor

Program Schedule and Components

MASCP consists of thirty-three lessons arranged in module format and delivered over a 10-week period. The curriculum is completely asynchronous and disseminated through the online Blackboard learning system. The lessons are primarily self-paced within the timeframe allotted. Three to four lessons will be delivered per week with assignments, activities and assessments due at the completion of each lesson. The curriculum for the program includes 7 major components organized into modules:

1.     Learning Theory

2.     Teaching Methods

3.     Curriculum Development & Evaluation

4.     Assessment of Learning

5.     Leadership & Organizational Change

6.     Career Development

7.     Educational Research

Course Objectives:

At the end of the 10-week program, scholars will be able to:

1. Analyze how learning theory relates to design of curriculum and educational activities.

2. Demonstrate the ability to use various teaching methods appropriately.

3. Determine the steps in curriculum development and evaluation.

4. Master various assessments of learning.

5. Analyze leadership in organizations and develop leadership skills.

6. Reflect on and plan their academic careers.

7. Develop skills in educational research with a focus on teaching evidence-based medicine decision-making skills.

33 hours total of Continuing Education Credits (CEUs).

Who Should Attend?

§    Physicians

§    Physician Assistants 


Please click on Instructors' name to display additional information

Elias Villarreal, Jr., MPAS, PA-C

UTPA Physician Assistant Department
Clinical Assistant Professor

Mr. Villarreal has been a practicing physician assistant for 16 years. Mr. Villarreal received a B.A. in Biology & Zoology from The University of Texas at Austin in 1994.  He completed a graduate certificate in Physician Associate Studies from Yale University School of Medicine in 1997. He completed the Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2010 from The University of Texas – Pan American.  Mr. Villarreal is currently EdD – ABD in the Doctoral Educational Leadership Department at The University of Texas – Pan American.  Currently, he has a total of 81 semester credit hours of doctoral coursework in educational leadership.
Mr. Villarreal has 14 years of experience in health care academia.  He began teaching part-time in 1998 for the University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston Physician Assistant Studies Program.  In 1999, he transitioned to a full-time position with the UTPA program where he has held various roles within the department.  He has held the positions of academic coordinator, clinical coordinator and is currently serving as admissions coordinator since 2006.  Because of his background in educational theory, leadership and curriculum, Mr. Villarreal was instrumental in designing the curriculum for the UTPA PA program’s transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s status in 2008 - 2010. 
Mr. Villarreal’s leadership experience is extensive.  He served the Board of Directors of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants for 10 years completing his service in 2011.  He served the roles of committee chair, secretary, director-at-large, president-elect, president and immediate past president.  He also served and continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the Texas Physician Assistant Foundation where he has held the positions of member-at-large, charity auction chair, secretary and president.  In addition, Mr. Villarreal served on the Board of Directors for the Valley AIDS Council for one year in 2011 – 2012.  On a national level, Mr. Villarreal is currently serving as Awards Committee Chair for the Physician Assistant Education Association.
Mr. Villarreal’s interests are in educational technology, curriculum design and learning theory.

Frank Ambriz PA-C, MPAS

Chair and Program Director UTPA Physician Assistant Department
Clinical Assistant Professor

Mr. Ambriz has been a practicing physician assistant for over 34 years. Mr. Ambriz received a B.S in Biology from Pan American University in 1977.  He completed his B.S in Health Care Sciences and Physician Assistant Studies from UTMB-Galveston in 1979. He then went on to complete his Masters from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Family and Urgent Care.   In 2003, he completed the first year of law school from Concord Law School in Los Angeles, California. In 2005, He completed 40 post graduate doctoral hours in basic medical sciences.
He served as a clinical assistant professor with the University Of Texas Medical Branch School of Allied health for 10 years, teaching physician assistants, medical students, and residents.
 During this time, he has managed several clinics and computer companies.  He currently serves as the Chair of the Physician Assistant Department at the University of Texas Pan American.  
He was recruited by UTMB to launch the PA Program at UTPA.   In 1994, he was appointed by Governor Ann Richards to the Texas State Board of Medical Examiner Physician Assistant Board instrumental in developing the rules and procedures for PA practice.  During his six-year term on the board, he chaired of the Licensing committee for physician assistants.  He continues to serve the Texas Medical Board as a member of the Ad-Hoc Stakeholder’s Advisory committee.
As Chair and Program Director of the UTPA – PA Program Mr. Ambriz has received state recognition as an Educator of the year and national recognition as one of six members of the Board Member, American Academy of Physician Assistant, Educational Council. The Education Council was instrumental in developing the PA competencies.
Currently, Mr. Ambriz is the Co-Director for the Transition in Medical Education (TIME) initiative.  Working with two medical school (UTHSC- Houston and UTMB-Galveston), TIME is piloting a new curriculum base on competencies ( by the American  College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
His current interest is in new technology, EMR implementation and cyber security.  Mr. Ambriz has over 30 years of experience with HIT and medical Billing.


Program Details


UTPA McAllen Teaching Site. Map!


October 20th, 2014
This online program is designed to be mostly self-paced with regular follow ups by instructors. However, it is recommended that participants review 3 - 4 lessons per week and complete assignment, activities and assessments for each lesson to be able to keep up with other participants. The online course also includes discussion boards that allow participants to get feedback from the instructors. The course must be finished within 10 weeks of the starting date.


The price per person is $1500


No Prerequisites required.

Oct 20th, 2014
Future Session
CALL (956) 665-2071