UNR Offers New Physician Assistant Program for 2017 - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

UNR Offers New Physician Assistant Program for 2017

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With a growing need for more health care providers in our region, the University of Nevada, Reno is creating a new physician assistant program at the School of Medicine.

Students wanting to get their masters in the field will now be able to in Nevada, starting next year. 

In the summer of 2017, 24 students will be enrolled in the physician assistant program to ultimately help the primary care need in our community. 

"Adding qualified health professionals to meet that access need, will only benefit the entire population in Nevada. Especially the rural and under served areas," said Brian Lauf, the director of new program. 

Brian Lauf is the founding director of the new physician assistant program that will start classes at the UNR Redfield campus in South Reno next year. 

The requirements for students applying: 

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • 2.75 GPA minimum, overall
  • 2000-hour minimum paid, direct hands-on clinical patient care. All forms of clinical patient care experience are considered. Student practicum or shadowing experience is not accepted
  • Anatomy and Physiology, 2 semesters; Lab preferred
  • General Biology, 1 semester; Microbiology with lab strongly recommended
  • General Chemistry, 1 semester; Biochemistry recommended
  • General Statistics, 1 semester

Students will get a hands on experience dealing with patients in family medicine, women's health, and general surgery. 

"We essentially are physician extenders. So we're trying to help the physicians do more," said Ben Hogan, a physician assistant at a Renown Urgent Care. "We see patients independently. We can diagnose and prescribe treatments, medicines."

Renown Health is giving $500,000 to help kick-start the program in Northern Nevada. Officials tell us there has been a shortage of physicians and physician assistants in the area. 

Dr. Max  Coppes, with Renown Health said, "We thing we'll be able to recruit physicians if they know that they're not going to be overwhelmed by all the things that they need to do. Because we'll actually have physician assistants in our community, helping them."

Since most PAs will have health care experience prior to admission, they won't have to complete a residency program after their education. When they graduation, PAs can immediately begin working in the health care industry.

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