The University of La Verne’s physician assistant program has earned preliminary accreditation from Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. The first cohort of 22 students is set to begin classes Aug. 27.
Adding this program to the catalog is a big step and the school should continue its push for full accreditation. With a cohort of 10 coming into session in the newly accredited master’s of athletic training program this August as well, La Verne realizes the importance of cultivating leaders in the health care industry.
The search for physician assistants and nurse practitioners increased by 320 percent within three years, according to Merrit Hawkins’ 2014 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives.
In a constantly evolving field, more health care professionals are needed, especially in the expanding Southern California region, making health sciences one of the most important fields to integrate students into such professions.
Under the Trump administration, it is especially important to incorporate cultural and social competencies in this program at a Hispanic Serving Institution so that more health care providers will understand their patients inside and out.
University President Devorah Lieberman said that this program aligns perfectly with La Verne’s mission. The program is part of the 2020 Strategic Vision’s broader commitment to expanding health sciences educational programs. Lawrence Potter, dean of College of Arts and Sciences, said that once the program receives full accreditation, graduates will be prepared to apply for California’s State Medical Board as well as medical boards in other states for a license to practice.
The University should continue to be proactive in cultivating well prepared and equipped healthcare professionals. Pushing to fully accredit the physician assistant program is vital as La Verne competes with professional programs at institutions like Western University of Health Sciences.