Physician Assistant Studies Program
October 21, 2016






To accomplish the mission and bring the vision to light, the goals of the program include the following objectives:


1.      Global Objective

The Physician Assistant Department (PAD) upholds a curriculum that embraces the physician assistant concept. The PAD program advocates the physician – physician assistant team model in the delivery of primary health care.

Meeting Global Objective:

The PA program is committed to the Physician-PA Team concept. Learners are taught in the ‘Medical School’ paradigm.  Independent from an academic medical center, during the clinical training phase, students are offered rotations in private physician offices and clinics.  PA program learners are absorbed into one-on-one supervised clinical discovery encounters, without competition from medial students or residents. Five of six Capstone phase clinical instructive opportunities are in Primary Care environments, (Pediatrics, Family Practice, Rural Medicine and Ob/Gyn). The experiences reinforce dedication to practice with supervision, utilizing the strengths of both professionals.  The learner is exposed to the model of the PA in a semi-autonomous role, under direct guidance of and in complement with the supervising physician. 


2.      Operational Objective

The PAD provides opportunities for professional training as a physician assistant to qualified students from throughout Texas and the United States. Recruitment and retention efforts consider the health care needs and cultural distinction of the area.

Meeting the Operational Objective:

The PAD is dedicated to improving access to health care for citizens within the geographical scope of program boundaries, and specifically the south Texas border region. Recruitment and retention efforts consider a candidate’s desire to practice in Medically Underserved Area (MUA) of Texas and beyond.  Compassion for cultural, psycho-social, disability and personal diversity is observed in all students. Within the program of study, public service commitments oblige all students to participate in the provision of health care to medically under-served populations.


3.      Functional Objective

The PA program maintains a curriculum in physician assistant studies that prepares the graduate for a national board certifying examination administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

Meeting the Functional Objective:

UTPA Action Plan to increase NCCPA Board Scores

A PANCE improvement action plan has been initiated to increase the first time pass rate of our graduates.

1.      EXAMMASTER test bank, is available to all students.  Students in the clinical phase are assigned exams from EXAMMASTER to correspond to the rotation they are assigned to.

2.     The development of the Academy for Success, a two week pre-matriculation preparation for the rigor of the PA curriculum, was initiated.  (Implemented in the Summer of 2012 and ongoing)

3.     The PA program has introduced the integrated modular curriculum format, following the success of UTMB, has been implemented starting in the fall 2012.

4.     The syllabi for the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course was revised into modular components and introduced team-based learning.

5.     PANCEMASTER, a preparatory on line board test bank review, was purchased for student’s increased preparation for the PANCE. (Fall of 2012) (on going)

6.     The implementation of  the End Of Rotation Exams (EOR) from PAEA  started in the Spring of 2013. (on going)

7.     The PA program will continue administering the PACKRAT exam, but delay administering the exam until completion of all required clinical rotations. (on going)

8.     Purchase PANCE review DVDs from John Bielinski  for all students to start preparing for the PANCE this summer 2013.

9.     An intensified week review course for the graduating class is scheduled in November.  This is one month before graduation.

10.   A comprehensive summative exam (following the NCCPA Blueprint) at the end of the PA curriculum is administered to all students.  This exams alerts students to concentrate on areas of weakness prior to taking the NCCPA exam.



4.      Academic Objective

The PA program retains faculty and curriculum that strives to continually improve learning experiences and the performance appraisal of students, faculty, and curricula to facilitate optimal achievement.

Meeting the Academic Objective:

The PA program strives to maintain a continuously dynamic and evolving curriculum that encompasses contemporary learning models and techniques.  Faculty and staff attrition has been stable within the PA program for over fifteen years.  Seven of ten faculty or administrative staff has been with the PA program for 12+ years.  New faculty members are appointed as needs demand, but seasoned faculty remain on board. The faculty has shifted from traditional classroom-lecture format to student centered problem-solving presentation learning. State-of-the-art (electronic) learning tools are readily incorporated into learning methods.  Each student matriculating into the PA program is eligible to receive a lap-top computer and an interactive i-Pad, if they do not already possess one.  All PA program courses are supplemented with on-line and Blackboard enhancements.


1201 W. University Drive Edinburg, TX 78539-2999
956/665-UTPA  1-866-441-UTPA
UTPA Bronc