Physician Assistant Program
The School of Medicine is a division of
The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of
It is the policy of Emory University that discrimination against any individual for reasons of race, color,
national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran status is specifically prohibited.
Accordingly, equal access to employment opportunities and educational programs is extended to all
qualified persons. In addition, students, faculty, and staff are assured of participation in programs and in
the use of facilities of the university without discrimination. The university promotes equal opportunity
through a positive and continuing affirmative action program. All members of the student body, faculty,
and staff are expected to assist in making this policy valid in fact. Any inquiries regarding this policy
should be directed to the Emory University Office of Equal Opportunity Programs.
The university reserves the right to revise programs, information, requirements, regulations, or financial
charges at any time. Whenever changes occur, an effort will be made to notify persons who may be
All references within this brochure to the "Program" should be construed as meaning the Physician
Assistant Program of the Emory University School of Medicine.
Emory University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges
and Schools ( 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 3033-4097; Telephone number 404-679-4501) to
award degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.
This brochure is revised annually and can be accessed on the World Wide Web at www.emorypa.org.
Last revised May 2, 2005 by VHJ
The PA Profession
Physician Assistants (PAs) are highly skilled members of the health care team who, working
dependently with physicians and under their supervision, provide diagnostic and therapeutic patient care in
a variety of medical specialties and practice settings. Typically physician assistants obtain patients' medical
histories, perform complete physical examinations and minor surgical procedures, order and interpret
routine diagnostic tests, develop diagnostic and management plans, provide treatment for persons with
acute and chronic illnesses, and respond appropriately to life-threatening emergencies. PAs provide
education to patients regarding illness, health promotion, and disease prevention. They also facilitate
patient referral to the community's health and social service agencies.
Appropriately trained PAs have demonstrated that they can relieve physicians of essential but time-
consuming patient care duties while maintaining the same quality of care. Many studies have shown that
when properly utilized, PAs can increase the availability of primary care services to more people, promote
cost savings, and improve practice efficiency and productivity. Acceptance of the PA concept by
employing physicians and patient satisfaction in both ambulatory and non-ambulatory settings has been
PAs have shown flexibility in their ability to work in a wide variety of health care settings.
Primary care PAs appear to have little difficulty in adapting to new roles in specialty or inpatient settings
and have expanded these practice settings to include: health maintenance organizations, preferred provider
organizations, independent practice associations, prepaid group practices, occupational health settings,
community health clinics, hospitals, surgical settings, emergency rooms, correctional institutions, and long-
term care facilities. Other opportunities of increasing interest to PAs include teaching, administration, and
clinical research According to the most recent federal Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2002-2012, the physician
assistant profession is projected to be the third fastest growing occupation.
State PA Legislation
All states plus the District of Columbia and Guam have now enacted laws or regulations
recognizing physician assistant practice. All jurisdictions have enacted statutes and regulations that define
PAs, describe their scope of practice, discuss supervision, designate the agency that will administer the law,
set license application and renewal criteria, and establish disciplinary measures for specified violations of
the law. PA statutes are amplified by rules, issued by the administering agency or board, which define and
interpret the language of the law. In addition, most states have enacted laws that authorize PA prescribing.
The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) ( www.aapa.org) publishes a frequently updated
booklet entitled PA State Laws and Regulations that indicates the specifics of each state's legal
requirements for employment and utilization of PAs.
Downtown Atlanta is only minutes from campus and offers unlimited resources for cultural
activities, dining, and entertainment. As the financial, cultural, and educational center of the Southeast,
Atlanta consistently ranks as one of the nation's most livable cities, booming in population and opportunity.
People from all over the country choose Atlanta as home, and more than 450 of the Fortune 500
corporations have offices located in Atlanta.
For all its urban sophistication, Atlanta remains an extremely attractive city with a distinctive
Southern warmth all its own. Winding tree-lined streets coexist with modern glass and concrete and an
ultramodern rapid-rail system. Atlanta's moderate climate, generally pleasant year-round, nevertheless
offers the variety of four distinct seasons.
Atlanta and the metropolitan area, chosen as the site of the 1996 summer Olympics, offers its
visitors and inhabitants an extremely wide range of attractions. Culturally, there are the architecturally-
acclaimed High Museum of Art, the internationally-recognized Carter Center, the Atlanta Symphony
Orchestra, the Atlanta Ballet, and the Alliance and historic Fox Theaters. For the sports enthusiast, the
Atlanta Braves, Hawks, Falcons and Thrashers attract many fans. Diverse, year-round music concerts are
held in the Phillips Arena and the Fox Theater, and summer music concerts are performed under the stars at
Chastain Park, Piedmont Park, Gwinnett Civic Center, and the Lakewood Amphitheater. Stone Mountain
Park, with its many attractions (including a summer laser show on the face of the carved mountain), is open
to visitors throughout the year. Other highlights of living in Atlanta include: Underground Atlanta; the
nightlife in Buckhead; the annual Peachtree Road Race with its 40,000-plus participants; numerous arts,
crafts, and music festivals held year-round; and more restaurants than you will ever be able to try.
Those with the inclination to venture beyond the city can enjoy the north Georgia mountains, river
rafting, canoeing, sailing, camping in any of the state's beautiful parks, plus the Golden Isles of the Georgia
Coast and the ski slopes of North Georgia and North Carolina, all within a few hours drive.
Atlanta also offers a wide range of educational opportunities. There are nineteen public school
systems and many private schools (both with and without religious affiliations) in the metropolitan Atlanta
area. All public school systems offer programs for exceptional children. The city is also home to twenty-
nine degree-granting colleges, junior colleges, and universities.
Since its founding in 1836, Emory University has grown to become a major national teaching,
research, and service center with an enrollment exceeding 10,000. In addition to the School of Medicine,
Emory University includes Emory College, Oxford College (the two-year undergraduate division), the
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Schools of Law, Business Administration, Theology, Public
Health, and Nursing. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and the Carter Center of Emory
University are located within walking distance of the campus and provide educational opportunities for
Located on 620 acres of heavily wooded rolling hills, Emory is only six miles northeast of
downtown Atlanta. The George W. Woodruff Physical Education Center, a $20 million multifunction
athletic center designed by architect John Portman, is one of the finest sports facilities in the Southeast.
The facility includes a 35,000-square foot gymnasium including 4 basketball courts, a 50-meter swimming
pool, 13 tennis courts available for year-round use, racquetball and squash courts, indoor and outdoor
running tracks, two full Nautilus weight circuits, a dance studio, and a combatives studio.
Events on campus include more than sixty concerts and recitals each year offered by the
Department of Music. Included in the schedule is the Flora Glenn Candler Concert Series, endowed by a
prominent benefactor of Emory. One of the finest in the Southeast, this series has sponsored concerts by
world-renowned artists for more than twenty years.
THE EMORY PA PROGRAM
Emory University's Physician Assistant Program recruits, educates, and mentors a diverse group
of students to become physician assistants providing quality health care. The Program emphasizes primary
care and preventive medicine, and seeks to interest students in providing care to in medically underserved
populations. The Program uses didactic and clinical training, promotes physician/PA team care, fosters an
appreciation for research, leadership, and the need to be flexible in meeting the changing needs of the
health care climate. The Program empowers faculty and students to be advocates for the physician assistant
profession and for the delivery of primary health care.
The Emory University Physician Assistant Program, implemented in September of 1971, functions
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 Regional
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, Grady
Memorial Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital of Emory University, and Wesley Woods Center, the jointly-
owned Emory-Adventist Hospital, the Emory Children's Center, the largest pediatric, multispecialty group
practice in Georgia, and EHCA LLC, a Limited Liability Company with Columbia/HCA Corporation.
The PA Program has successfully prepared over one thousand two hundred graduates for national and state
certification as primary care physician assistants.
Entering PA students matriculate at the beginning of the fall semester and initiate a comprehensive
and demanding 28-month course of full-time study leading to the master of medical science degree.
Through the current master of medical science degree curriculum, the Program diligently strives to
accomplish the following goals:
To develop well-educated and skilled primary care PAs who can contribute and 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 critically review the medical literature through an in-depth
understanding of medical research methodology, and thereby 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.
The Emory University Physician Assistant Program now offers two graduate level programs:
• the onsite entry-level program, Master of Medical Science degree in Physician Assistant for
candidates interested in preparing for the Physician Assistant Profession; and
• the Distance Learning graduate level program, Master of Medical Science in Career Physician
Assistant for career physician assistants interested in developing leadership skills, and earning a
graduate degree while continuing to be employed. Information on the Master of Medical Science
degree for Career Physician Assistant curriculum, admissions requirements, policies, costs, etc
may be obtained online at www.emorypa.org, ,by calling the PA Program admissions office at
404- 727-7857, or by e-mailing to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Curriculum (entry level)
The master of medical science degree curriculum is composed of both didactic and clinical
experiences totaling 28 months in duration. The Program is designed to be completed over seven
The first phase of the Program, commonly referred to as the didactic core (fall-summer semesters),
consists of three consecutive academic semesters of basic health sciences as well as clinical medicine
course work. This portion of the curriculum utilizes classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings to provide
a thorough theoretical and practical background in both the basic and clinical health sciences.
The next phase of the curriculum, the clinical core (fall and spring semesters), includes seven 5-
week rotations in required primary care areas. During this phase of the Program, all students participate in
supervised patient care, attending teaching rounds and medical-surgical conferences as they rotate on
various services in Atlanta and other established clinical facilities around the state and the Southeast. In
keeping with the mission of the Program, students will be exposed to a wide variety of practice settings and
patient populations and all students are required to experience at least two rotations in clinical sites
designated as medically underserved. During the clinical core experience, students are able to build the
primary care knowledge and skill base that is necessary to function in all fields of clinical practice. They
also gain exposure to a variety of clinical settings which enables them to make a more informed decision
regarding the type of clinical practice they may wish to pursue upon completion of the Program.
Following the clinical core experience, students enter an 18-week advanced clinical phase (spring
and summer semesters). The student may choose to do the entire 18-week period in primary care
disciplines. Alternatively, the student may elect to experience one 4-week rotation in a medical sub-
specialty discipline, and one 4-week elective in any discipline, in addition to eight weeks of primary care.
A 2-week mini-elective may be in any discipline, or may be used to extend any 4-week rotation. During
this phase, students wishing to rotate through sites outside of those developed by the Program must first
obtain approval from the Program. Before a student may begin such a rotation, the Program must evaluate
and approve the site and an affiliation agreement between the site and Emory University must be entered
into and approved by the Program Director and the Dean's Office of the School of Medicine.
The advanced didactic phase is scheduled for the final semester (fall) and includes course work in
professional development issues, clinical ethics, health promotion and disease prevention (with an
emphasis on patient education), community health leadership , and research-oriented courses with the goal
of providing the skills to interpret the medical literature and produce a publishable paper. Students are
mentored through a required research project that emphasizes a mastery of critical-thinking skills and
fosters a lifelong interest in professional medical writing and contributing to the medical literature. Many
students choose topics based on their clinical training experience. The curriculum outlined as follows is
subject to change.
3 semesters, fall through summer
Introduction to Clinical Medicine
Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine I
Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostic Methods
Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine II
Issues in Health
2 semesters, fall through spring
Emergency Medicine 5 weeks
Family Practice 5 weeks
General Surgery 5 weeks
Gyn/Ob 5 weeks
Internal Medicine (Outpatient) 5 weeks
Internal Medicine or
Family Practice (Inpatient) 5 weeks
Pediatrics 5 weeks
1 1/4 semesters, spring through summer
18 weeks of clinical rotations in primary care disciplines, or the student may choose 8 weeks in
primary care, 4 weeks in a medical sub-speciality, 4 weeks in any discipline, and a 2-week mini-elective in
any discipline. The 2 week mini-elective may also be used to extend any 4 week rotation.
Advanced Didactic Phase
3/4 semester, fall
Analysis in Medical Research
Introduction to Community Health Leadership
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Health Promotion/Disease Prevention
PA Professional Issues
Didactic Course Descriptions
BAHS 500 Anatomy 4 hours
Gross anatomy and histology of human body systems. Anatomical terms, structures, and
relationships emphasizing functional significance in problem-solving situations. Laboratory provides
demonstrations on cadavers, models and prosection in small groups.
BAHS 501 Biochemistry 4 hours
Overview of metabolism, enzyme activities, and genetic reproduction as they relate to health and
disease. Regular clinical correlation conferences.
BAHS 502 Physiology 4 hours
Systems approach to normal function of the human body, including relevant information on
anatomy. Weekly problem-solving sessions, regular laboratory exercises, and clinical application to
PA 510 Introduction to Clinical Medicine 8 hours
First of three didactic clinical medicine courses. Focuses on developing patient interview and
physical examination skills. Special attention given to the principles and techniques for effective
communication with patients and other health care providers. An introduction to clinical reasoning and
problem-oriented patient evaluation included. Clinical data collection skills are enhanced through physical
exam skills labs, patient interview sessions under the supervision of an assigned mentor (usually a
practicing PA), and the completion of patient write-ups and oral case presentations.
BAHS 503 Microbiology 5 hours
Basic principles of medical microbiology presented through lectures and clinical conferences.
Pathogenic bacteria, fungi, viruses, and animal parasites are discussed in relation to human disease, with
emphasis on pathogenesis, mechanisms of virulence, epidemiology, therapy, and prevention. Concepts of
immunology are introduced. Clinical correlation conferences and reviews with discussion of recent
advances in laboratory diagnostic techniques.
BAHS 504 Pharmacology 4 hours
Drug mechanisms; absorption rate and distribution of drugs; toxicity; and specific actions of drugs
used in treatment of disease. Includes conferences with clinical applications
PA 511 Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine I 8 hours
An organ system approach to disease emphasizing the pathophysiology, clinical presentation,
diagnosis, and therapeutic management of common disorders. Primary care medicine is emphasized along
with the development of clinical problem-solving skills. Students learn bedside clinical procedures through
special labs. Students continue to develop patient interview and physical exam skills by evaluating patients
in clinical settings under the supervision of assigned mentors, to include proper documentation in the
medical record, and oral presentation of the patient case.
PA 514 Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostic Methods 3 hours
A three-part course covering radiology, clinical laboratory tests, and electrocardiography.
Includes basic principles of radiology (indications for, materials used, and information obtainable),
pathology and the correlation between disease process and interpretation of clinical laboratory diagnostic
tests are also discussed. Includes demonstration and practice of various laboratory methods, EKG theory
PA 505 Normal and Therapeutic Nutrition 1 hour
Basic science of human nutrition. Relates biochemical and physiological aspects of nutrition to
human nutritional needs in both health and illness; focuses on factors important in the nutritional care of
individuals and the skills necessary for nutritional care in clinical settings.
PA 511b Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine II 8 hours
Continuation of 511a; Pediatrics, Women’s Health, Geriatrics, and Orthopedics lecture series are included. Further
development of clinical procedure skills in emergency and surgical settings are provided.
PA 513 Emergency Medical Problems and Management 4 hours
Introduction to current diagnosis and management of acute trauma including thoracic injuries,
fractures, facial injury, hemorrhagic shock, and head and neck injuries. Basic and advanced cardiac life
support (BCLS & ACLS) are required and provided. Other lecture topics include sudden death, chest pain,
acute MI, dysrhythmia, cardiopulmonary pharmacology, and airway management. Emergency presentation
and evaluation of acute respiratory failure, the acute abdomen, burns, poisoning, altered mental status, near-
drowning, anaphylaxis, hypertensive crisis, acute ENT problems, and radiation emergencies.
PA 520a Issues in Health 2 hours
Discussion of topics of interest facing health care practitioners. Emphasis on public health, health
systems and policy, public and private health insurance, and PA professional issues.
The Primary Care Clinical Core
Fall and Spring Semesters
PA 640 Internal Medicine 5 weeks, 5 hours
PA 641 Family Practice 5 weeks, 5 hours
PA 642 General Surgery 5 weeks, 5 hours
PA 643 Emergency Medicine 5 weeks, 5 hours
PA 644 Gynecology and
Obstetrics 5 weeks, 5 hours
PA 645 Pediatrics 5 weeks, 5 hours
PA 646 Internal Medicine or
Family Practice (Inpatient) 5 weeks, 5 hours
The Elective Clinical Phase
Spring and Summer Semesters
PA 650 Introduction to Issues in Farmworker Health Elective 1 hour
A web-based course developed to provide further background on pertinent issues for PA students and Family
Medicine Residents participating in the South Georgia Farmworker Health Project. The goals of this course are to
increase the student’s knowledge of issues relevant to farmworker health, and to increase the student’s sensitivity and
competency in dealing with these issues. This is seen as preparation for students and others participating in the South
Georgia Farmworker Health Project, and is general preparation for those interested in serving medically underserved
PA 661 Primary Care Elective 4 hours
Includes family practice, gynecology and obstetrics, general internal medicine, or pediatrics, and South Georgian
Farmworker Health Project in rural Georgia..
PA 662 Primary Care Selective 4 hours
Includes family practice, gynecology and obstetrics, general internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine,
geriatrics or occupational medicine. Up to two weeks may be utilized to participate in the program’s South Georgia
Farmworker Health Project in rural Georgia.
PA 663 Clinical Selective 4 hours
Any of the above, or general surgery, orthopedics, or medical subspecialty (cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology,
ENT, gastroenterology, hematology, infectious disease, nephrology, neurology, psychiatry, pulmonary medicine,
oncology, or rheumatology)
PA 664 Clinical Elective 4 hours
The student may choose any discipline, or may choose an academic medicine experience in which he/she would
“sample” under PA faculty mentorship and guidance, the classic roles of a PA educator including teaching,
administration, research/scholarly activity, and continued involvement in a part-time primary care clinical rotation.
PA 665 Clinical Mini-elective 2 hours
The student may choose any discipline approved by the program that provides additional training in managing
common problems seen in a primary care setting or may use this option to extend any selective or elective.
The Advanced Didactic Phase
PA 520b PA Professional Issues 1 hour
Continuation of discussion and seminars on professional development topics pertinent to
employment and practice as a PA such as licensing and credentialing, medical coding and billing, avoiding
malpractice, healthcare financing and delivery systems, and career and leadership opportunities.
PA 621 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention 2 hours
An introduction to the theories of prevention of disease and its complications, as well as health promotion
with a special emphasis on the educational and psychological theories of learning and behavior change. Students plan,
implement and present a patient education intervention.
PA 622 Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics 4 hours
Basic concepts of descriptive, analytic, and experimental epidemiology. Topics covered will
include measures of disease frequency, measures of data quality, overview of study designs, and bias in
epidemiology studies, with an emphasis on flaws and fallacies in medical literature. An introduction to
statistics with application to biological and health sciences is provided.
PA 623 Analysis in Medical Research 3 hours
An introduction to the skills needed to critically review the medical literature and write a
technically sophisticated journal article. The student chooses a topic pertinent to primary care medicine,
authors and presents a researched scholarly paper. The paper justifies the value and importance of the
topic, provides a comprehensive and critical review of the current medical literature, and provides
suggestions for patient care implications and recommendations for future research. The student is required
to submit the paper to a peer-reviewed journal .
PA 624 Introduction to Community Health Leadership 1 hour
Through a series of lectures, panel and small group discussions, and visits to community-based
clinics, this course will enable students to obtain the knowledge, comprehension, skills and behaviors
necessary to become a positive change agent within one’s community of practice and profession. The
student will obtain an understanding of the broader context and implication of health care delivery to
communities and populations, as opposed to only the individual, thus promoting a commitment to provider
leadership in public health. This course includes an overview of the population-based perspective and the
need for cultural competency. Students conduct a community health needs assessment in groups in a
community serving the uninsured and underinsured, and will gain and understanding of the importance of
professional practice of clinical care in the context of community.
PA 625 Biomedical Ethics 2 hours
Examination of ethical rules, principles, and theories as they relate to health care delivery issues
utilizing a case-based approach.
PA National Certification
Before a PA graduate may be approved for permanent licensure by the state of practice, he/she is
required to pass for the National Certifying Examination for Primary Care Physician Assistants. This exam
is developed by the National Board of Medical Examiners and administered by the National Commission
on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Such certification of competency by a nationally
recognized organization provides the potential physician employer with acceptable evidence of graduate
competency. Certification by the NCCPA is a prerequisite for state certification in Georgia and the
majority of the other states. Emory’s PA Program conducts an intensive 4-day board exam review each
fall to assist senior PA students and graduates in preparing for the certifying (PANCE) and recertifying
(PANRE) board exam.
Master of Medical Science in Career Physician Assistant Curriculum
(Post-graduate Distance Learning Program for Practicing PAs)
The Master of Medical Science in Career Physician Assistant Program’s design is that of a “Career”
masters for "non-traditional" adult students who are already certified and employed as Physician Assistants.
The Program is distance / Internet based, and can be completed on a part-time basis over six consecutive
semesters. Each semester consists of 6-7 credits delivered in a distance education format. Brief meetings
(weekend) on campus will occur several times a year.
The curriculum of the Program builds upon the advanced didactic core of courses familiar to entry level
Emory PA students, including Epidemiology/Biostatistics, Medical Ethics, Analysis of the Medical
Research, and Health Promotion/Disease Prevention. New courses in Medical Informatics, Cultural Issues
in Healthcare, Community Health Leadership, Introduction to Health Policy, and Topics in Healthcare will
be delivered through distance education. The Topics in Healthcare course is a topical seminar including
current “hot topics” such as Bioterrorism, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Genetic Medicine…).
Following the completion of this common core, students will complete one of three tracks – Teaching,
Administration, or Clinical Care. Each track has a separate selection of courses and a final project.
Admissions Requirements for the MMSc in Career PA Program
Applicants to the degree Program should have successfully graduated from an accredited PA Program with
a Bachelors degree, should have a minimum of two years of patient care experience, and should hold
current NCCPA certification. Graduates of the Emory PA Program are particularly encouraged to apply.
The Graduate Record Exam and a personal interview will be required.
(1 credit) Medical Informatics
This course is a survey of the developing field of Medical Informatics, and reviews databases, electronic
resources, presentation tools, and other electronic resources for medical use. It also serves to introduce the
CMMSc student to the on-line learning environment.
PA 520- D
(1 credit) PA Professional Issues
This one credit class is designed to offer students opportunities to explore and discuss concepts and issues
pertinent to their careers as PAs. The course will review important legal and regulatory topics, and will
discuss "the future of PAs".
(2 credits) Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
An introduction to the theories of prevention of disease and its complications, as well as health promotion
with a special emphasis on the educational and psychological theories of learning and behavior change.
(4 credits) Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Basic concepts of descriptive, analytic, and experimental epidemiology. Topics covered include measures
of disease frequency, measures of data quality, overview of study designs, and bias in epidemiologic
studies, with an emphasis on flaws and fallacies in medical literature. Biostatistics, with applications to the
biological and health sciences, are discussed.
(3 credits) Analysis in Medical Research
An introduction to the skills needed to critically review the medical literature and write a technically
sophisticated journal article. The student chooses a topic pertinent to primary care medicine, authors and
presents a researched scholarly paper. The paper justifies the value and importance of the topic, provides a
comprehensive and critical review of the current medical literature, provides suggestions for patient care
implications, and makes recommendations for future research. The student is required to submit the paper
to a peer-reviewed journal.
(3 credits) Community Health Leadership
This course introduces concepts of community health assessment and models for an approach to planning
community health programs. Personal leadership styles will be assessed by the students, and applied to
effectively mobilize and change the health of a community. Principles of conflict management and patient
advocacy will be discussed. The student will complete a community needs assessment and plan.
PA 625 -D
(2 credits) Biomedical Ethics
A lively study of ethical rules, principles, and theories relating to health care delivery issues.
(1 credit) Directed Study - Introduction to Curriculum Tracks
A guided introduction to the CMMSc tracks, designed to introduce and assist the student in selection and
development of a track project.
(3 credits) Cultural Issues in Health Care
This course reviews the concepts of cultural diversity and how culture and medicine interact. Students will
gain an understanding of common healthcare beliefs, practices, and incidence of disease in different
populations. The course incorporates a mini-course on Issues in Farmworker Health.
(2 credits) Grant Proposal Preparation
This course will review the terminology and mechanisms of external funding resources and awards, sources
of external funding, and the process of proposal review. Students will examine the components of a
proposal or prospectus, and be provided with guidance for developing a successful proposal. Common
errors and weaknesses will be discussed. Each student will develop a project proposal suitable for submittal
for external funding.
(2 credits) Topics in Health Care
A topical seminar, this course will include modules on important health care and medical issues and trends.
Topics include health care systems (managed care organizations and concepts), bioterrorism, health care
financing, complementary and alternative medicine, the business of medicine, risk management, quality
assurance, clinical guidelines and evidence based medicine, genetics and genetic therapy, and other topics.
(2 credits) Introduction to Health Policy
This course discusses the health care system in the United States, examines the structure of the health care
system, health care reform, the process of policy making, and options for public health advocacy.
Courses for the Teaching Track
(5 credits) Education Skills for Health Care Faculty
This course introduces the student to educational philosophy, program curriculum planning and evaluation.
The course presents instructional methodologies, learning styles, learning theories, and effective
presentation skills. Students will develop goals, objectives, evaluations, and presentation materials. Legal
issues relevant to classroom teaching and student advising will be discussed.
(1 credits) Planning an Academic Career
This course introduces the student to the organizational structure of higher education institutions, missions
of universities and departments, institutional policies and procedures, classic faculty roles and
responsibilities in a variety of educational settings. The student will investigate an academician's options
for enhancing his/her potential for career advancement and be introduced to current issues in health
(6 credits) Track Project
The student will plan and implement an education project, negotiated and approved by the teaching track
coordinator. All projects will require an initial needs assessment, a final project presentation, and
submission of a track portfolio. The Teaching Track project will additionally include course development
and design with course goals and objectives, teaching methodology, and course learner activities. Course
resource and reference materials, in addition to a course evaluation instrument(s) will be required.
Courses for the Administration Track
(5 credits) Executive Skills for the Health Professions
This course introduces theories and principles of health care services management, including effective
leadership, organizational change and strategic planning, human resource management including
interpersonal group dynamics, team building, conflict resolution, and marketing principles.
(1 credit) Outcomes Management
This course presents concepts and methods for planning and implementing outcome measurements, and for
analyzing data that include clinical care, patient satisfaction and provider satisfaction measures. The course
will review the process of developing administrative and clinical guidelines for best practice.
(6 credits) Track Project
The student will plan and implement an administrative project, negotiated and approved by the track
coordinator. All projects will require an initial needs assessment, a final project presentation, and
submission of a track portfolio. The Administration Track project will include planning and implementing
an administrative intervention to address and issue identified in the needs assessment, and evaluating the
Course for the Clinical Track
(2 credits) Clinical Planning and Evaluation Skills for Health Professionals
The course introduces students to the principles of risk management , quality assurance/ quality
improvement, and types of clinical practice models including interdisciplinary and interprofessional models
of team care. Students will utilize a case-based approach to review cost-effective, efficient and clinically
responsible practice models.
PA 681 -D
(1 credit) Outcomes Management
(see PA 672)
PA 682 -D
(3 credits) Clinical Fellowship
This experience will provide the student with an opportunity to participate in an interprofessional team
providing patient care in an area of interest in order to upgrade clinical knowledge and skills. The student
will research and investigate the clinical evaluation process in the practice setting from the perspective of
the health care providers and the clinical facility administrators.
(6 credits) Track Project
The student will plan and implement a community/population-based clinical research project, negotiated
and approved by the track coordinator. All projects will require an initial needs assessment, a final project
presentation, and submission of a track portfolio. The Clinical Track project will include participating in a
current population-based clinical research project, or planning and implementing a community/population-
based clinical research study. Both will involve outcomes evaluation. The student will participate in a
clinical administrative team to review clinical outcomes, and will develop clinical guidelines for best
Upon successful completion of all phases of the Program, entry level students are awarded from
Emory University School of Medicine the Master of Medical Science degree in physician assistant. The
distance learning students are awarded the Master of Medical Science degree in career physician assistant.
Resources for Education
Didactic Education Facilities
The "Clifton Corridor," consisting of approximately 250 acres along Clifton Road, extends
through the Emory University campus and is the locale for much of Emory's Medical, Public Health,,
Nursing Schools and its graduate science programs. The faculty and staff offices for the Physician
Assistant Program are located at 1462 Clifton Road in the Dental Bldg (Health Science Library building).
Besides office space, our beautiful facilities include a wireless classroom equipped with state of the art
audiovisual equipment, clinical lab, student computer lab, and conference room. Additional classroom
space for PA students is located within easy walking distance on campus.
Medical school administrative offices are located in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center
Administration Building (WHSCAB), which also houses a large auditorium, conference rooms, classrooms,
and computer lab for medical and allied health students. The administrative offices of Medical Education
and Student Affairs are also located in this building.
The Health Sciences Library, one of eight specialized libraries on the Emory campus, is located
one floor below the PA Program .. A branch library on the Grady campus is located in the Thomas K.
Glenn Memorial Building across the street from Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta. The
Library serves students, faculty, and other eligible users with a collection of more than 190,000 book
volumes, including e-texts, 3,000 periodicals, including-journals, Web Med, Up-to-date a computer
laboratory, and audiovisual materials and facilities. In addition to traditional reference services, the library
offers information retrieval seminars and provides on-line services through MEDLINE and other computer-
based systems. For details on health science library holdings, visit the website at:
Clinical Education Facilities
Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center
The Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center occupies a relatively new and enlarged
facility near the Emory University campus. This 441-bed general medical and surgical hospital affords
inpatient and outpatient care for a large number of veterans. This institution offers a resource for education
and experience to students during the didactic and clinical phases of the Program.
Grady Memorial Hospital
Grady Memorial Hospital is the largest general hospital in the state of Georgia and is among the
largest in the nation. It is home to a regional burn center, perinatal center, national sickle cell center, as well
as the only North Georgia Level One Trauma Center. The hospital has 18 operating rooms, 33 emergency
rooms, 9 delivery rooms, and 12 x-ray rooms. It has a maximum bed capacity of over 1,000. The hospital
is maintained principally to provide medical care for the indigent sick and for emergencies from Fulton and
DeKalb Counties. Medical care is provided under contract with Emory University School of Medicine And
Morehouse School of Medicine. Grady Memorial Hospital cares for in excess of 45,000 inpatients a year,
and its outpatient department receives in excess of 800,000 visits annually, including more than 250,000 in
the emergency clinics.
Since 1973, a number of satellite outpatient medical facilities have been developed in the
metropolitan Atlanta area under the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. These clinics provide
ambulatory care for adults and children in areas with high concentrations of health needs. The satellite
clinics offer an excellent clinical experience for PA students during their clinical rotations.
Emory University Hospital
Owned and operated by Emory University and located on the campus, Emory University Hospital
is a 604-bed general hospital which serves primarily as a regional tertiary referral facility for serious and
complicated illness. Caring for over 20,000 patients a year, the hospital includes a 47-bed psychiatric unit,
a 12-bed clinical research center supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, and a 56-bed
Center for Rehabilitation Medicine.
Wesley Homes, Inc.
Founded by the United Methodist Church and Emory University, Wesley Woods Center is a
multi-center complex that serves more than 30,000 older adults and chronically ill individuals each year.
Wesley Woods has a 100-bed geriatric specialty hospital, an outpatient primary care clinic staffed with
geriatric specialists, a 235-bed nursing care facility, a 150-bed skilled care facility, a 200-unit residential
retirement facility, and a 20-bed assisted-living facility. The center is well known for its inpatient,
outpatient, and partial-hospitalization programs in depression, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease,
Huntington's disease, sleep disorders, and rehabilitation.
Crawford Long Hospital
Crawford Long Hospital, a division of the University's Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences
Center, is located in downtown Atlanta on a medical campus that includes 11 buildings. It is fully licensed
for 583 beds, is staffed by more than 600 physicians, and has an outstanding reputation in cardiology,
pulmonary medicine, neonatology, obstetrics and gynecology, gastrointestinal medicine, and surgery.
Additional Clinical Facilities
Clinical rotation sites affiliated with Emory Hospital as well as many outside the Emory system
are utilized to provide a variety of clinical opportunities for the PA student. The Department of Family and
Preventive Medicine's Family Health Clinic and Family Practice Residency Program are housed on the
Emory Dunwoody Hospital campus, and practice sites include the Emory Dunwoody Family Medicine
Clinic and the Emory at South DeKalb Clinic.
Increasingly, the PA Program is placing more and more emphasis on student clinical experience serving
medically underserved patient populations. Clinical students complete at least two rotations at sites outside
of the metropolitan are to ensure exposure to rural and community-based medical practices. During the
clinical core, all students will be required to experience at least two rotations in clinical settings designated
as medically underserved. The Program is continually expanding opportunities for clinical rotations in
designated health manpower shortage areas in rural Georgia and the rural southeast. The Program
continues to utilize rotation sites in metropolitan Atlanta that are federally designated as medically
Students wishing to rotate through sites other than those developed by the Program and not
already a part of the Emory system must first obtain permission from the Program. Before a student may
begin such a rotation, the Program must evaluate and approve the site. An affiliation agreement between
the site and Emory University must be entered into and approved by the Program Director and the Dean's
Office of the School of Medicine.
Emory University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges
and Schools, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30030, (404) 679.4501 to award associate,
baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees.
The Emory PA Program, has been awarded full accreditation 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 http://www.arc-pa.org
The Emory PA Program is a member of the Association of Physician Assistant Programs, the exclusive
national organization representing educational programs for physician assistants. http://www.apap.org
The American Academy of Physician Assistants recognizes the Emory PA Program, its students, and its
As an ARC-PA accredited institution, the Emory PA Program is recognized by all state licensing
jurisdictions including the Georgia Composite State Board of Medical Examiners, the Washington State Board
of Medical Examiners; and the California State Board of Medical Examiners.
Tuition, fees, and an estimate of expenses for attending the Emory Physician Assistant Program
change annually. Please refer to the PA Program’s web site at http://www.pa.emory.edu or to the
Financial Aid office at http://www.emory.edu/FINANCIAL_AID/ ,or you may request one directly from
the Program office.
Students should be financially prepared before entering the Program. A student should not expect
to be able to engage in any substantial amount of part-time employment. Due to the intensity of the training
program any employment is highly discouraged and any student interested in employment during the educational
program must receive approval from the Program Director prior to employment. During the first year, classes are
held Monday through Friday and, along with study time, consume fifty to sixty hours a week. During the
second year, while on clinical rotations, hours may vary from fifty to ninety a week depending upon the
rotation. In addition, many clinical rotations require schedules including weekends, evenings, and nights.
The student must assume some responsibility for the cost of the educational program. Every effort
is made to assist the student and to avoid financial considerations prohibiting his/her entering or completing
Prospective students who will need financial assistance should investigate early the types of aid
available to them and should complete appropriate applications and/or financial aid forms as soon as
possible during the academic year preceding the year in which the aid is needed. Applications are accepted
by the Financial Aid Office at any time. Prospective students should not wait until acceptance by the
Program before applying for financial aid.
Various types of financial aid are available. Since much of the assistance is in the form of
repayable loans, it is to the student's advantage to pay as much of the tuition costs as possible from his/her
own resources, thereby minimizing indebtedness upon graduation. Prospective students from outside the
state of Georgia should contact their own local agencies and organizations for financial aid available to
students attending school outside their state. They are also encouraged to contact their own local banks
which might be a source of student loans.
Types of financial assistance include: Allied Health and PA Program scholarships, Allied Health
Tuition Loans, National Direct Student Loans, The Emory University Student/Parent Loan, and Veterans
Federal and state aid and Allied Health loan and scholarship programs are administered by the
University Financial Aid Officer. Information and application forms on these programs are available from
the University Financial Aid Office, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, 30322
http://www.emory.edu/FINANCIAL_AID/.. PA Program scholarships are administered by the PA Program
and most often are awarded to enrolled students. Check the Program’s website for current scholarship
The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) has several programs available to PA students offering
scholarships, stipends for clinical rotations in medically underserved sites, and loan repayment. Many of
these programs require the student to commit to varying periods of employment at USPHS facilities.
Further information is available at their web site; http://www.bphc.hrsa.dhhs.gov/nhsc/. Additional
information on sources of financial aid may be obtained from the American Academy of Physician
Assistants, local libraries, and the financial aid offices of local colleges and universities.
The following policies are excerpts from published rules and regulations of Emory University, the
School of Medicine, and the Physician Assistant Program.
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
School of Medicine Code of Conduct
Students in the Emory University School of Medicine, including the Physician Assistant Program,
are under the jurisdiction of the student conduct standards and procedural guidelines of the Emory
University code of conduct. Matters regarding misconduct of an academic nature shall fall under the
jurisdiction of the School of Medicine's Honor Code.
Several aspects of student conduct as related to medical and physician assistant students deserve
special mention. Such students are carefully selected on the basis of both academic capabilities and
personal characteristics, especially relating to matters of integrity and propriety. Based on these factors and
considering maturity and experience, they should have as fine an interpretation and high regard for conduct
matters as is possible to achieve. Above all, they should function in all matters of conduct with respect for
their fellow man, especially their patients, since mutual respect is the basis of all codes of conduct.
Conduct with respect to students enrolled in the School of Medicine can be considered under three
general headings: academic, professional, and general. Misconduct would result when a student violates
the principles or specifics of these areas of conduct as viewed by other students, faculty, and/or public
officials charged with enforcing the laws of their jurisdiction.
The judgement 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.
Exemption of Course Work
Course work in the Emory Physician Assistant Program's master's level curriculum is sufficiently
unique that exemption of specific courses is not a realistic option for most students. In order to protect
against diminishing academic standards or compromising the level of excellence of the student's education,
the Program has adopted a conservative posture regarding course work exemption. Furthermore, the
process for evaluating the appropriateness of exemption is sufficiently rigorous that one's previous
experience must usually be exceptional and sufficiently documented in order to adequately prepare him or
her to meet the criteria for exemption. For the individual wishing to assess his or her own background with
respect to the criteria for exemption, the following guidelines are offered.
One may petition to exempt course work in the Physician Assistant Program in two special
when the student has previously taken comparable course work and has demonstrated sufficient
mastery in the content area. This should be referred to as exemption by transfer of credit.
when the student has not taken previous comparable course work but has, through life experience
(e.g., occupational practice), acquired adequate knowledge of the content area that can be demonstrated
upon examination. This should be referred to as exemption by examination.
Any student wishing to petition for exemption of course work by either transfer of credit or credit
by examination must place this request in writing to the PA Program Director no less than 60 days prior to
the date of registration for the semester in which the exemption is desired. This applies to all semesters
except for the beginning semester (which ordinarily will be the fall semester), for which at least 30 days
advance notice is required. The 30-day minimum notification requirement will be modified only in those
cases in which an applicant's letter of acceptance is received less than 30 days prior to the date of
registration for the beginning semester. Clinical course work cannot be exempted.
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 may
include evaluation of participation in class, written work, laboratory work, demonstration of a skill or
professional behavior, oral presentations, 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
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:
For Basic Science Course Work:
A clearly superior
B good to excellent
For Clinically Oriented Course Work:
A clearly superior
D, 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 "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.
Progression through the Program is dependent upon successful completion of all courses in
sequence. Successful completion of course work requires attainment of objectives and satisfactory
completion of all assignments. The student shall be required to repeat any didactic course or any clinical
rotation in which the student has demonstrated unsatisfactory knowledge or lack of competence.
All students will be expected to complete all basic science courses (courses with course numbers
beginning with "BAHS") with grades of "C" or better and all clinical courses (course numbers beginning
with "PA") with grades of "B" or better. Students performing at less than this minimal standard may be
placed on academic probation, as well as be required to repeat a course, a clinical rotation, an entire
semester, or an entire year. Poor academic performance may also result in 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 professional probation or dismissal from the Program, as stated in the
Policies and Procedures Manual.
Evaluation of Student Performance
Academic probation, dismissal, and reinstatement are recommended by vote of the Program's
Progress and Promotions Committee, which meets following each semester and is comprised of Program
faculty, course directors, and clinical supervisors. In case of probation, the student, didactic or clinical
instructor(s), and Program Director will meet within ten days of the committee's deliberation to determine a
plan and time frame for the necessary action. The student will then be apprised of the requirements being
imposed for continuation in the PA Program. If the student does not meet the requirement(s) within the
probationary period, the student may be subject to dismissal pending review by the Progress and
Due Process and Right of Appeal
In all cases involving disciplinary decisions either for academic or non-academic 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
Applicants must possess certain skills in order to master the educational content of the Physician
Assistant Program at an acceptable level of performance within the time frames both provided in the
curriculum and required for professional competence. These skills are needed to improve or maintain
patient health by preventing and/or alleviating deformity and improving independence of function; to
achieve treatment goals that engage the greatest possible degree of patient motivation and cooperation
within resource constraints; and to provide for periodic revision and appropriate discontinuation. This
regimen should be appropriate to the patient's progress and physical and psychosocial status.
The Director of the Physician Assistant Program welcomes questions or inquiries from individuals
with disabilities regarding the standards and their application to each individual's unique situation. In each
case, a determination can be made as to whether the individual is qualified for admission to the Program
and if reasonable accommodations can be made. While the PA Program is prohibited by federal law from
making inquiries about specific disabilities prior to admission, applicants who are selected for admission
must be prepared to meet the performance standards in order to complete the Program.
Skills fundamental to the Physician Assistant Profession and PA Program curriculum include:
Problem solving given verbal, visual, and written information, within a limited time frame;
Clinical reasoning and decision making within a limited time frame;
Insight and judgement for safety and prognostication;
Written and verbal communication among group members;
Time management to coordinate course requirements and clinical responsibilities.
These skills require that applicants have the abilities to meet technical standards which have been
established for this Program. They are:
I. Participate in all phases of the educational program within the required time frame, including the
various laboratories, teaching conferences, clinics, and rounds; show understanding of classroom lectures,
presentations, seminars, etc., through work performance and/or examination in order to:
A. Learn all of the specific skills and be provided with all of the experiences necessary to
successfully complete the Physician Assistant Program and become eligible for certification,
B. Apply basic principles of the scientific method in reading and interpreting professional
literature, participating in clinical research activities, and critically analyzing new concepts and findings
provided by others,
C. Apply basic educational concepts of theories in designing, implementing, and evaluating
treatment regimens, and in educating patients, families, and health care personnel involved in the patient's
II. Function appropriately in interpersonal relationships by exhibiting use of good judgement,
empathy, reliability, and emotional stability; must possess the abilities to practice appropriately in stressful
situations and to work acceptably with others in order to:
A. Interact with patients and families in a manner which provides the desired psychosocial
1. Recognizing his/her own reaction to illness and disability,
2. Recognizing patients' and families' reactions to illness and disability,
3. Respecting individual, cultural, religious, and socioeconomic differences,
4. Utilizing appropriate communicative processes.
B. Demonstrate safe, ethical, and legal practice as stated by the profession,
C. Engage the greatest possible degree of patient motivation and cooperation in treatment,
D. Function effectively with other health care professionals in providing appropriate patient
care and in improving the quality of patient care,
E. Be responsive to ideas and techniques that might be more appropriate or safe.
III. Communicate effectively with patients, their families, and health care professionals in order to:
A. Instruct, confer, and integrate appropriate patient treatment with other aspects of patient
B. Stimulate motivation and cooperation in treatment, and assist in the alleviation of anxiety,
C. Give instructions on diet, exercise, and other forms of therapy and uses of physical
adjuncts to therapy such as prenatal instructions, child care instructions, etc.,
D. Instruct or explain projected test and/or therapy to the patient.
IV. Function appropriately in professional practice in order to:
A. Review and evaluate patient needs; specify which therapy procedures are indicated by
obtaining a thorough medical history, performing a complete physical examination, and reviewing previous
medical record(s) in order to:
1. Perform a complete health evaluation of growth and development for the patient,
2. Facilitate appropriate diagnostic study for the patient and prompt management
of illness or injury,
3. Provide assistance in performing special studies pertaining to: pelvic
examination, Papanicolaou smear, proctoscopy, visual testing, etc.,
B. Plan, prepare, implement, and modify as necessary treatment programs which:
1. Include realistic goals in terms of diagnosis, prognosis, physical/psychosocial
status and anticipated lifestyles of the patient,
2. Include effective treatment methods that provide a high probability of achieving
3. Are within resource constraints,
4. Provide for periodic revision according to changes in the patient's physiological
or psychological state,
5. Contain specificity and comprehensiveness appropriate to the level of personnel
who will execute the plan,
6. Are adequately documented.
C. Properly perform routine laboratory studies, diagnostic tests, therapeutic duties such as
drawing blood samples, performing urinalysis and skin testing, giving injections and suturing,
D. Provide health care services with the direction and responsible supervision of a physician
and attend to the needs of many diverse patients,
E. Provide appropriate life-support and acute injury evaluation/care until a physician and/or
appropriate health professional can be located.
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
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
• 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
• 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)
A new class of entry-level graduate PA students enrolls each year early in the fall semester. 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.. The Emory PA Program is a
participant in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistant applicants. Applications are available at :
It is imperative that the most current instructions are utilized in completing the application. An additional
supplemental application is required and can be requested by phone (404 727-7857), may be downloaded
from the Emory PA Program website ( www.emorypa.org ), or by e-mail to the PA Program
admissions office: email@example.com.
A new class of Post-graduate distance learning Career Master’s Program begins in the fall
semester . This program was designed to assist a busy graduate PA in obtaining a graduate degree by
enrolling part-time and completing a master’s degree in 24 months. The coursework provides advanced
knowledge and skills to prepare the PA to assume a higher level of responsibility in a clinical practice or to
gain formal training to be well-prepared for a role as teacher and/or medical education administrator.
Admissions Requirements (entry level Program)
All successful applicants to the Program must have completed a baccalaureate degree, granted by
an accredited institution, by the time of matriculation into the Program. Additional requirements are as
1. All applicants must have maintained a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.8 (on a
4.0 scale) for all undergraduate work completed. Written appeals of this requirement may be made to the
Director of Admissions and submitted along with the application. Successful applicants in the past have
typically had cumulative grade point averages in the range of 3.0 to 3.3 and higher.
2. All applicants must also have completed an academic core of undergraduate course work which
consists of at least 35 semester hours (52 quarter hours) distributed as follows:
15 semester hours (22 quarter hours) in natural sciences (such as biology, chemistry, physics) with
specific requirements to include full courses (1 semester or 2 quarters) with lab in general biology, general
chemistry, and an unabridged (i.e., not a survey, introductory, or "principles of") course in organic
chemistry or biochemistry. Recommendations for additional preparatory course work include: anatomy,
physiology, and microbiology.
10 semester hours (15 quarter hours) in humanities (such as art, classics, English, foreign
language, music, philosophy).
10 semester hours (15 quarter hours) in social sciences (such as anthropology, economics, history,
political science, psychology, sociology), with a course required in psychology (either introductory,
general, developmental, or abnormal).
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. In addition, those students who were educated in a country where English is a foreign language
must successfully complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of
600 on the written exam, or a minimum score of 250 on the computerized version. 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.
◦ be completed at a grade level of "C" or better; be completed prior to matriculation (i.e., not
necessarily at the time of application);
◦ be subject to approval by the Admissions Committee; and
◦ not be taken on a pass/fail basis, as CLEP credit, or audited.
4. All applicants are strongly encouraged to be proficient in word processing skills.
5. 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 our office by the application deadline. Testing information may be obtained
from: Educational Testing Service, Graduate Record Examination, Rosedale Road, Princeton, New Jersey
08541-6004, (609) 921-9000, http://www.gre.org. When making application to take the GRE, please
specify Code No. 5187, Emory University, Allied Health Program. Note: Emory University has more
than one code.
6. 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, at least one year (2000
hours) of health care experience is anticipated for all applicants to be competitive. Preference is given to
applicants having experience that requires a period of training and results in direct (hands-on) patient care.
7. A personal interview with the Program Admissions Committee is required of all successful
applicants. The interview is by invitation only and is conducted on the Emory campus to assess
awareness of the professional role of the physician assistant and career goals consistent with the Program’s
8. Applicants from Georgia, who have an interest in practice in a medically underserved area within the state,
are encouraged to contact their regional Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Since the PA Program and
AHECs have a similar mission, getting to know the AHEC staff may be beneficial before, during and after
the PA educational experience.
Potential for success as a Physician Assistant
The Emory PA Program is designed to prepare the individual for a meaningful career in medicine
as a physician assistant; it is not intended to be a route into medical school. Before making the decision to
pursue a career as a PA, you are encouraged to ask yourself the following questions:
Do I interact well with people?
Do I enjoy, in particular, working with people who are ill?
Am I willing to perform tasks that may, at times, seem routine?
Am I willing to work in a dependent role with the supervision of a physician?
Do I function effectively as a leader and also as a team member?
Will I be willing to work long and frequently erratic schedules?
Can I perform effectively under stressful circumstances?
Even if your answers to these questions are "Yes," there remain other factors which need to be considered
before applying for admission into the Emory PA Program.
Entrance into the Program is based upon the Program Admissions Committee's evaluation of the
applicant's academic potential, personal motivation, and personal characteristics suited to the PA role.
Other areas which are considered are career mindedness, interpersonal skills, and maturity.
Completion of the Program requires motivation, intelligence, a well-grounded science
background, and maturity.
You will be committing over two years of your life to full-time study.
During the period of matriculation, one's social life is, of necessity, neglected. The married
student is usually not able to give his/her spouse the accustomed time and attention. Students with children
must have adequate child-care support to allow the student to meet specific course requirements.
It is necessary to be able to financially support yourself for the full period of your enrollment;
even part-time employment is quite difficult and highly discouraged.
If after realistic appraisal of your capabilities and goals, you decide to seek admission into the Emory
Physician Assistant Program, we invite you to submit your application.
1462 Clifton Road, Suite 280
Atlanta, GA 30322