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Faculty180 – Vita and Individual Profile Data Sheet

Joel E Tetzlaff, DC, MSPA, PA-C

Fall 1980 - Fall 2120

Assistant Professor I

Physician Assistant Program


Current Position

  • Position: University Faculty
  • Position: PA Principal Faculty


Dr. Joel Tetzlaff was supposed to be in the Air Force flying A-10s. However, his mother passed him the X chromosome with the Color-Blind Gene on it; so that ended that. He decided, instead, to pursue another love and passion, which was the human body and how it worked. He became a Chiropractic patient at an early age and witnessed the “miracles” it could do both for himself and his family. He attended the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC) and graduated in 1995. After three or so years of practice, quite serendipitously he found himself teaching part-time at LACC in the basic and clinical sciences teaching laboratories. Throughout his time in the healthcare arena, he noticed a strong disconnect between the Allopathic providers and the “Alternative” healthcare providers; with patients stuck in the middle. In the early 2000s, he was introduced to the Physician Assistant profession; he applied and graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in 2005. After starting his PA Career in Urgent Care, he transitioned to Orthopedics where he spent 10+ years in a Sports Medicine Practice specializing in shoulders, knees, and knee replacements. In the spring of 2019 he joined Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) as an instructor in the Chiropractic, Physician Assistant, and Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine programs to further advance the integration of healthcare and to educate the healthcare practitioners of the future.



M.S.P.A.S., Physician Assistant, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California, United StatesDissertation: Efficacy of Namenda in the Prevention of Progression in Alzheimer's Disease


B.A., Biololgy/Chemistry, CSU Fullerton, Fullerton, California, United States


D.C., Chiropractic, Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, Whittier, California, United StatesDissertation: The Effectiveness of Ethyl Chloride on Trigger Point Pain

Work Experience

2018 - 2022

Assistant Professor, SCUHS, Whittier, California, United States

2007 - 2018

Procedural Physician Assistant, St Jude Heritage, Fullerton, California, United States

2005 - 2007

Physician Assistant, St Jude Heritage, Fullerton, California, United States

1997 - 2004

Assistant Professor, LACC/SCUHS, Whittier, California, United States

Honors and Awards

Fall 2018 - Ongoing

Pre-Clinical Teaching Award, 2021, SCUHS Culture Crew, He provided extra resources for PACA (EKG material) and tutoring sessions for Diagnostic Imaging so we PA Students could be set up for success in classes outside of Anatomy.

SCU Values - Kindness-Humor-Determination, 2021, SCUHS Culture Crew, He provided extra resources for PACA (EKG material) and tutoring sessions for Diagnostic Imaging so we PA Students could be set up for success in classes outside of Anatomy.

SCU Values - Humor, 2021, SCUHS Culture Crew, Dr. Tetzlaff always has a way of teaching anatomy or physical exam skills that involves a joke but is memorable for the students. He helps our students learn through his stand-up routine, and we appreciate it!

SCU Values - Humor, 2021, SCUHS Culture Crew, He is always cracking jokes, and making us feel at ease even with the burden of a very intensive class load.

SCU Values - Kindness, 2022, SCUHS Culture Crew, He thinks of others and frequently shows his appreciation and recognition for all that others do.

Spring 2023 - Ongoing

SCU Values - EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE, 2023, SCUHS Culture Crew, Dr. Tetzlaff puts in a tremendous amount of effort to ensure multiple, reliable sources to confirm our classroom learning objectives when presented with conflicting information from our other courses as well as provide evidence using the cadavers during Anatomy lab. He is open to amendments when appropriate.

Summer 2023 - Ongoing

SCU Values - Kindness & Humor, 2023, SCUHS Culture Crew, PA school is hard, with Dr. Tetzlaff's kindness and encouragement, he has persuaded me daily to be steadfast in my studies and never gives up because it will all payoff at the end. And of course, all of this was accompanied by his sense of humor which made things less tense on us as students who go through anxiety and stress.

Professional Membership

Fall 2018 - Ongoing

California Chiro Association, May 1995, Ongoing

American Chiro Association, May 1995, Ongoing

American Assoc of PAs, August 2005, Ongoing

California Assoc of PAs, August 2005, Ongoing


Anatomy & Physiology, Grit and Performance on Nationalized Licensing Exams, Helping where I'm needed, Ortho

Hear from the Students Who’ve Been in Your Shoes

Our Value: Integrative Health, Inclusivity

I chose SCU when looking for a PA program because of their Integrative Medicine approach. I am from Michigan, and not many programs focus on this Integrative, Holistic approach when it comes to patient care in the Midwest, and I felt that was very important for me to learn as a future provider. My transition to semi-virtual learning has been very smooth and quite enjoyable. My favorite part about attending SCU is how tight-knit and diverse the community is. Coming from a large undergrad university and moving so far, it was very important for me to have a PA program that made me feel valued and invested in my success. At SCU, they do a great job of making you feel that.


Brianna Hadley

MSPA Class of 2022

Our Value: Integrative Health

One of the great things about SCU is we do have a campus layout, so all your classes aren't in a single room. We have our cadaver lab. We have different specialty rooms for physical assessment classes vs. acupuncture classes. All our acupuncture-specific classes have all the herbs in the room. You can pull out the herbs and look at them, whether in class or in between classes to get that extra studying in.

My favorite part of SCU is the collaboration from our beginning terms. We were working alongside chiropractor students, PA students, and ayurvedic students. It's a unique community where we get to learn about these different fields and sit in classrooms with them and work with them in the clinic. It allows you to get an understanding of all the different fields and how they can work together, and what is unique about your field. I think that is a wonderful aspect that I didn't think was going to be as prominent as it is here; even now, in my upper term classes and I am not in class with chiropractic students, I can still reach out to them about a certain aspect I may not understand or if I am working on a case. I want another perspective I know I have them to reach out to, so that has been a great networking community to have resources for.

Dr. Jamie Kuljis

Graduate, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

Our Value: Integrative Health, Inclusivity

"There are a lot of things that I love about the program at SCU. The first one is that the faculty come from a long line of Ayurvedic knowledge deeply rooted in ancient classical text. They studied Ayurveda, but they also lived it. When you learn from people who embody this wisdom, it's much easier to grasp this knowledge. The second thing I love is the camaraderie within the cohort. The combination of the training, supportive faculty, and the support of my peers and classmates has given me the confidence I need to start my own practice."

Portia Harris

Student, Ayurveda Program

Our Value: Evidence-Based Practice

Some of my favorite courses at SCU have to be the chiropractic procedure classes; those are the classes you get to hone in on your chiro skills, your palpation skills and ultimately work on the adjustments that make you a chiropractor. Those are the classes I feel enhance my knowledge the most and are some of the reasons I chose to become a chiropractor here are SCU.

On top of chiropractic procedures classes, my favorite is the cadaver lab experience. The cadaver classes opened up my perception of what the human body is made up of. It allowed me to get an in-person perspective of how the body works and looks on the inside. I am genuinely thankful for those experiences because they opened and broadened my horizons to the human body and anatomy in general.

Jordan Vega

Student, Doctor of Chiropractic

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