- Basic Sciences
- Clinical Sciences
- Health Sciences
- Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE)
- Center for Health Promotion & Prevention Research
- Center for Rural Health
- Clinical Education Center
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Center
- Health Workforce Information Center (HWIC)
- Mass Spectrometry Center
- National Resource Center on Native American Aging
- North Dakota Area Health Education Center
- North Dakota IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE)
- North Dakota Simulation, Teaching and Research Center for Healthcare Education (ND STAR)
- North Dakota Tobacco Quitline
- Rural Assistance Center (RAC)
The UND Physician Assistant Program was established in 1970 at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine, in response to health manpower shortages and the lack of access to primary health care in rural communities. Initially, the Program was designed to build upon the existing clinical skills of independent duty medical corpsmen returning from the Vietnam conflict to prepare them for a role in civilian primary health care delivery. The Program adopted an adult learning, competency-based curriculum and deployment strategy (MEDEX) developed by the University of Washington.
Beginning in 1972, the Program turned to experienced registered nurses for its applicant pool. The Program's goal was to expand and extend the role of RNs in community-oriented primary care practice settings. The MEDEX technology was retained, as was the original mission of preparing health care professionals for providing primary care in rural and underserved areas.
From then until January, 2004, a Physician Assistant Certificate was given to all who successfully completed the 12 month Program. And from 1972 to 1992, those who qualified received dual certification as a Physician Assistant and a Family Nurse Practitioner.
In 2003, the Program joined the Department of Family Medicine. The UND PA Program changed from a Certificate program to a graduate level program in August, 2003, when it began offering a Master of Physician Assistant Studies. The Program is now 24 months in length. It is comprised of a combination of on-line courses, didactic lectures on campus, and clinical experiences under the supervision of a physician in primary care. The first class of masters' students graduated in May, 2005.
In August, 2006, a three class pilot program began when the Program accepted not only registered nurses, but experienced clinical health care professionals from other disciplines.
To date, the Program has over 1600 graduates who are employed throughout the U.S. (including Hawaii, Alaska, and the Virgin Islands), Canada, and overseas. Over 65% of the graduates are employed in primary care practices.
The primary mission of the University of North Dakota Physician Assistant Program is to prepare selected health care professionals to become competent physician assistants working collaboratively with physician supervision, emphasizing primary care in rural and/or underserved areas of North Dakota, the United States and the world.
With this mission, the goal is to improve access to healthcare, help alleviate shortages of primary care providers and deliver comprehensive, affordable health care services to the people of rural and/or underserved populations.
The vision of the University of North Dakota Physician Assistant Program is to strive for continued excellence in PA education while developing competent graduates to provide comprehensive quality health care to all. This will occur through innovation in teaching with technology and incorporating novel methods of simulation throughout the unique curriculum. This, combined with increased collaboration with clinical sites will enhance application of learning allowing the UND PA Program within the School of Medicine and Health Sciences to become the national PA program of choice for both students and employers looking for primary care providers.
- Education – foster critical thinking skills for the life-long learning of students, faculty and staff
- Innovation – commit to excellence by continual program assessment and improvement
- Service – address the health care needs of people in rural/underserved areas
- Commitment - accountability to the student, program, institution and profession
- Professional – model ethical behavior with compassion, caring and respect
The Program’s approach to education is based on the philosophy that adult students are mature, highly motivated, and have a rich resource of past personal and professional experiences for present learning. While the faculty and preceptor serve as catalysts, learning is the responsibility of the student. The interdisciplinary teaching approach integrates previous clinical skill and knowledge utilizing multiple techniques to facilitate learning. The goal is preparation of the student as a primary care provider in a variety of settings, utilizing a problem-oriented approach to logical thinking and sound judgment.
Furthermore, the Program faculty believes that physician assistants are accountable and responsible for the quality of their practice and for life-long learning to assure their ability to continually improve the care they deliver.
Also central to the Program’s mission is the Physician/PA Student Team development. A unique characteristic of the UND PA Program is the partnering of the student with a primary care preceptor throughout the entire clinical portion of the Program. No candidate is admitted into the Program without the agreement of a practicing physician in Primary Care who is committed to serve as a preceptor for the length of the Program. This team approach forms the foundation and models the physician and physician assistant relationship inherent in a primary care PA’s clinical practice. By completing the majority of clinical experiences in the office of a practicing primary care physician, students are assured of exposure to the common primary care problems in a practice setting. It is under the aegis and supervision of the preceptor in a one-to-one teaching relationship that the student gains clinical competencies and accomplishes role integration. This is closely monitored and augmented by the Program faculty.
The Program itself has had continuous accreditation since its inception.
In September 2009 the Program received the maximum number of years for re-Accreditation. The next review period will be in March of 2016.
Graduate Pass Rate for the National Board Exam
Following Graduation, and prior to beginning practice, all graduates must pass the National Board Exam.
The UND PA Program is proud to be oriented to the mission of serving rural and under served communities. To achieve this goal, the program accepts students from rural and under served backgrounds with the understanding that they will return to their home areas for clinical practice. This is felt to reflect upon the first time pass rate. For over forty years, the Program has chosen to sacrifice a perfect pass rate on national board performance in return for meeting the mission of graduates returning to rural and under served clinical practice.
The NCCPA (National Commision on Certification of Physician Assistants) pass rate 5 year report compares the first time test takers for UND to all PA Programs in the United States.
Please note the following:
- 2006: Masters Degree Program – 24 students
- 2007: Masters Degree Program – 23 students
- 2008: Masters Degree Program – 32 students
- 2010: Masters Degree Program - 60 students
- 2012: Masters Degree Program- 56 students
Due to the fact that beginning in 2008 a new class began and graduated every other year - in 2009 there were no First Time Takers from UND.