The Shenandoah University Physician Assistant (PA) program is a graduate entry-level professional course of study that prepares graduates for primary-care practice with emphasis on service to medically underserved populations and the team approach to the delivery of health care. The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is an interdisciplinary graduate degree in public health that provides
coursework opportunities for students to obtain broad knowledge and basic skills in public health. The public health program focuses on rural and underserved populations, providing students with training in public health issues present in rural and undeserved areas. Both programs integrate graduate-level critical thinking and analysis, problem solving, scientific inquiry, self-directed learning and the effective use of modern technology for professional practice that includes elements of research, leadership, education and continued enhancement of the PA and PH professions.
This dual degree program offers students an opportunity to earn a Master of Public Health degree (MPH) in conjunction with training in the Physician Assistant (PA) Program. The purpose of the dual Physician Assistant/Master of Public Health Program is to graduate highly qualified health professionals who have obtained competencies necessary to succeed in the rapidly evolving health
system. The dual program prepares students to enter a wide-range of PA and public health positions that address today’s most challenging population health care issues. Students are exposed to the core competencies essential for shaping local and global health systems as physician assistants and policy makers. The dual program affords individuals interested in pursuing clinical and
public health training a unique opportunity to complete both degree programs in less time and save money. Students may apply their combined PA and public health skills in such areas as population or clinical research, health administration leadership, and community health promotion.
The Physician Assistant Program courses listed below may not be taken out of sequence. However, most of the Master of Public Health courses may be taken in any sequence (except for PH 530, PH 700 and PH 701 which have prerequisites). Given the rigor and structure of the PA program, students will complete most of the MPH coursework, after completion of Year 3/Fall 3 in the PA program. Once the PA coursework is completed, students can continue the MPH coursework on either a full-time or part-time basis. For both programs, a passing grade of “C” or better in each course and maintenance of a 3.0 grade point average is required for satisfactory
progression and graduation. Policies regarding academic standing and graduation are contained in the graduate catalog as well as the Physician Assistant Program and Master of Public Health Student Handbooks.
Credits of Overlap Between Programs
The total credit overlap between the PA and MPH program is up to 15 credits. The courses and requirements that may overlap are illustrated in the below table. The selected overlap is in-line with both program’s requirements and also meets accreditation standards for both programs.
PA Elective (3 credits)
PH Elective 1 (3 credits)*
PA 504 (3 credits)
PH Elective 2 (3 credits)
PA 690 (4 credits) **
PH 700 (4 credits)
PH 510 (3 credits) & PH 515 (3 credits)
PA 614 (3 credits)
PH 505 (3 credits)
PA 612 (2 credits)
5 credits (or 8 if PH course is taken for PA elective)
10 credits (or 7 if PA elective is a PH course)
*PA students may also take a PH course to count as their PA elective (this would satisfy one PH elective)
**This may count as PH 700 if the student addresses the necessary MPH competencies during this clinical rotation that they would address in an MPH applied practice experience. The option to use this clinical experience for the MPH degree must be approved by each student’s MPH advisor. If the clinical experience does not address the required public health competencies, then dual degree students will also need to complete the Applied Practice Experience (PH 700) in addition to PA 690.
First Year – Summer I credits
PA 504 Medical Physiology & Genetics 3
PA 507 Neuroscience 1
First Year – Fall I
PA 511 Introduction to the Physician Assistant Profession 1
PA 508 Anatomy for Physician Assistants I 4
PA 515 Medical Interview & Physical Assessment I 2
PAL 515 Medical Interview & Physical Assessment Lab I 1
PA 521 Introduction to Clinical Medicine & Pharmacology 4
PA 530 Diagnostic Tests & Procedures I 1
First Year- Spring I
PA 509 Anatomy for Physician Assistants II 4
PA 517 Medical Interview & Physical Assessment II 2
PAL 517 Medical Interview & Physical Assessment Lab II 1
PA 570 Clinical Medicine 6
PA 544 Pharmacotherapeutics I 4
PA 531 Diagnostic Tests & Procedures II 1
Year 2-Summer II
PA 519 PA Clinical Skills 1
PAL 519 PA Clinical Skills Lab 1
PA 513 Healthcare Systems and Issues in Healthcare 1
PA 579 Primary Care Practicum I 2
PA or PH Elective 3
Year 2- Fall II
PA 670 Clinical Medicine II 5
PA 644 Pharmocotherapeutics II 4
PA 532 Diagnostic Tests & Procedures III 1
PA 611 Humanities for the PA Profession 2
PA 671 Women’s Health 2
PH 501 History and Philosophy of Public Health 2
PH 510 Biostatistics 3
Year 2- Spring II
PA Clinical Rotations 10
PA 601 Rotation Seminar 3
PH 525 Program Planning and Implementation 3
Year 3-Summer III
Clinical Rotations 5
PA 601 Rotation Seminar II .5
Year 3-Fall III
Clinical Rotation 2.5
PA 690 Community Preceptorship Clinical Practicum 4
PA 603 Capstone Seminar 1
PH 505 Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health 3
Year 3- Spring III
PH 515 Principles of Epidemiology 3
PH 535 Health Communication 3
PH 545 Public Health Perspectives on Chronic Disease 3
Year 4- Fall IV
PH 520 Health Policy and Management 3
PH 530 Fundamentals of Program Evaluation 3
PH 540 Rural Health Systems 3
PH 550 Public Health Leadership and Professionalism 3
PH 701 Integrated Learning Experience 2
Grand Total 115
Upon completion of the PA program of study, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate entry-level proficiencies necessary for high quality, costeffective practice as a primary care PA in a dynamic health-care delivery system.
2. Apply the principles of scientific inquiry and research design as well as the ability to apply these principles to critically read and interpret the literature, leading to enhanced delivery of health care.
3. Incorporate the basic principles of patient education that benefit patients, caregivers, families, and communities.
4. Model attitudes and skills that reflect sensitivity to cultural and individual differences.
5. Model attitudes and skills that exemplify a commitment to personal growth and development and to the growth and development of the profession.
6. Utilize a team and community-oriented approach to the delivery of health care utilizing appropriate modern technologies for the benefit of patients, caregivers, families, and communities.
7. Demonstrate an ability to assume a leadership role in professional activities and organizations that advance the PA profession.
Upon completion of the MPH program of study, students will be able to:
1. Apply evidence-based approaches for the development and evaluation of social and behavioral health interventions.
2. Apply the principles of program planning, development, budgeting, management and evaluation in organizational and community initiatives.
3. Examine patterns of disease and injury in human populations and apply findings to the control of health problems.
4. Evaluate environmental factors that affect the health of a community including biological, physical and chemical factors.
5. Apply statistical reasoning and methods in addressing problems in public health.
6. Design, develop, implement and evaluate strategies to improve individual and community health.
7. Demonstrate effective written and oral skills for communicating with different audiences in the context of professional public health activities.
8. Develop public health programs or strategies that are responsive to the diverse cultural values and traditions of the communities being served.
9. Model ethical choices, values and professional practices implicit in public health decisions.
10. Demonstrate the attributes of leadership in public health.