A new physician assistant (PA) master’s degree program is currently being developed within the UNC School of Medicine, Department of Allied Health Sciences (DAHS). The program may welcome its first class of students as early as 2015.
The plan to establish a PA program at UNC Chapel Hill was announced in December 2012. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the UNC School of Medicine, with input from U.S. Army Special Forces Command, developed a plan for a program that could provide a pathway for U.S. Army Special Forces Medical Sergeants to translate the skills and expertise gained through military service into a civilian career. BCBSNC made a $1.2 million commitment to help the University launch the program. Not only will the new PA program assist military veterans, but it will also help to meet the growing need for highly-trained health care professionals in North Carolina.
Prema Menezes, PhD, was appointed director of the program on August 1, 2013, and is now leading the efforts to prepare for the PA program’s approval and accreditation reviews, as well as developing the curriculum, recruiting faculty members, and establishing application criteria for students. Once admission requirements have been finalized, the program will welcome applications from military veterans and members of the general public who have significant experience in direct patient care.