Physician Assistant Medicine students at University of Lynchburg have a new financial aid option thanks to Centra Health.
Centra has pledged $600,000 in scholarship support over a period of five years to help second-year students in LC’s new PA Medicine program. This commitment will provide 32 scholarships of $18,750. In exchange, the students will agree to work for Centra for two years after graduating from the program.
“We are excited and honored that Centra continues to partner with University of Lynchburg as we educate new medical professionals,” said LC President Dr. Kenneth R. Garren. “This scholarship program will help our students focus on their studies and then allow them to give back to the community by working for Centra.”
“Physician Assistants play a crucial role in healthcare delivery, and we are excited to be a part of this program with University of Lynchburg,” said E.W. Tibbs Jr., president and CEO of Centra. “PAs have been and will continue to be in high demand and we look forward to having them as part of this medical community.”
The first cohort of PA Medicine students began classes at LC on Monday, June 1. This group includes 25 students from eight states. Two are veterans, and five are LC alumni. They have an average of 3,277 hours of direct patient care as emergency medical technicians, certified nurse aides, phlebotomists, and other healthcare providers.
“We are pleased to launch our PA Medicine program with such a strong class of students,” said Dr. Jeremy Welsh, founding department chair and director of the LC PA Medicine program. “We look forward to watching them become leaders in the healthcare field.”
The PA Medicine degree at LC is a 27-month master’s program that includes coursework in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, clinical medicine, clinical skills, internal medicine, family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, professional relationships, and ethical and legal practices. Students will spend 14 months in clinical education in various healthcare settings, including Centra facilities in Lynchburg, Bedford, and Farmville.
LC plans to grow the program to accept 40 students in each cohort. In March, the new program was awarded Accreditation-Provisional by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc.
LC students who complete the master’s degree and become fully licensed will have an option to complete a doctoral degree in PA Medicine through an additional 9 months of study including a clinical fellowship. The doctoral option is contingent upon approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
PAs are healthcare providers who are nationally certified and state licensed to practice medicine and prescribe medication in every medical and surgical specialty and setting. More information: https://www.aapa.org/