OHSU's Physician Assistant Program Becomes a Division

10/04/01    Portland, Ore.

Oregon Health & Science University's Physician Assistant Program has been designated as a freestanding division in the School of Medicine.

Ted Ruback, the founding director of the PA program serves as head of the new division of Physician Assistant Education. Ruback recently was promoted to associate professor.

"Being recognized as a free-standing division enhances the visibility of the program and the PA profession on campus. Being granted a unique place within the structure of the School of Medicine allows the program to better contribute to and benefit from the resources of the entire university," Ruback, M.S., P.A.-C., said.

The new division status was supported by Joe Bloom, M.D., dean emeritus, School of Medicine and Joe Robertson, Jr., M.D., interim dean, School of Medicine and was approved by the School of Medicine Faculty Council. Final approval was granted by Provost Lesley Hallick, Ph.D.

"Quite contrary to five to 10 years ago, futurists now predict that we will face a significant physician shortage in the relatively near future. This program is a key component of the School of Medicine's plan to match our educational efforts with the manpower needs of our community and our nation," Robertson said.

Hallick applauded the PA program."The PA program has accomplished a great deal in a remarkably short period of time. It has established itself as a national leader in the field and I am confident that it will continue to play that role as the profession continues to develop. The OHSU program was initiated as a baccalaureate level program with a strong emphasis on primary and rural care. It has evolved to a master's level program with a strong primary care emphasis, but with the added opportunity for elective specialization, making this recognition by the School of Medicine particularly appropriate at this time," Hallick said.

The OHSU PA program was the first such program in the state. It began in 1995 and transitioned to a master's degree granting program in 2000. To date, 87 graduates have completed the program, five of whom currently practice at OHSU in departments and clinics.