Institutional and Degree History
The current School of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Florida had its inception as the Physician Assistant Program at the local community college, Santa Fe Community College, in 1972, where it remained for five years, awarding the Associate of Science degree upon successful completion of the Program. In 1977, the Program moved to the College of Medicine at the University of Florida and began to confer the Bachelor of Science degree upon its graduates. Administrative changes within the University led to the Program’s being moved to the College of Allied Health Professions in 1983, where it was housed for ten years. In 1993, the Program made its final move to the College of Medicine where it has permanently remained.
In 1994, the enrollment of the Program was doubled from 30 students per class to 60 students per class, and in 1996, the Program was upgraded to a graduate-level program, as a result of which its graduates currently receive the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree upon successful of the Program.
In 2009, the Board of Trustees granted the status of “School” to the (former) Program, and the School of Physician Assistant Studies now holds a department-level status equivalent to all other departments within the College of Medicine.
Every Physician Assistant Program must be accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and must continue to renew its accreditation at intervals determined by ARC-PA in order to remain in operation. The current University of Florida School of Physician Assistant Studies was first accredited in 1973 as an Associate-level program at Santa Fe Community College. Since the School’s inception, its accreditation has consistently been renewed. The School is presently accredited until September 2012.
In order to ensure continued adherence to its own standards of excellence as well as to the Essentials of an Accredited Physician Assistant Program as established by the accrediting body, the University of Florida School of Physician Assistant Studies conducts an annual self-study and prepares an internal Self-Study Report that defines Program goals and objectives deemed essential for carrying out its mission. This report facilitates both the internal evaluation of the School by PA administration as well as the external review by ARC-PA.
The next site visit associated with the School’s re-accreditation process will occur in February 2012.