WMU News

Physician assistant program earns five-year accreditation

Nov. 26, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- The Department of Physician Assistant at Western Michigan University has been granted a five-year accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistant.

The accreditation follows an on-site visit by the ARC-PA. The commission's previous on-site visit in 1998 resulted in a four-year accreditation. The new accreditation runs through 2007.

"This five years between visits allows the program to continue its innovations in education, such as the Problem-Based Learning program and to focus on other areas such as student recruitment," says James VanRhee, department chairperson.

Problem-Based Learning mimics clinical practice by using medical cases as the focus for student learning. Students work in small groups under the guidance of a faculty tutor, and the curriculum is presented through actual patient problems. As students work to solve these problems, they learn clinical reasoning skills, research the information needed to understand the underlying biological mechanisms of the problems, and develop the knowledge needed to diagnose and treat medical conditions. WMU is the only university to offer both problem-based and lecture-based physician assistant curricula.

U.S. News and World Report Magazine rated WMU's Department of Physician Assistant as among the 25 best in the nation in 2002.

For further information, call James VanRhee at (269) 387-5317.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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