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  • SCU MSPA Program Receives 10-Year Accreditation-Continued Status
SCU MSPA students at the January 2022 White Coat Ceremony

SCU Master of Science: Physician Assistant Program Receives 10-Year Accreditation-Continued Status

SCU has earned the longest running accreditation status from ARC-PA, allowing the Program to run through September 2032

WHITTIER, CA. – (Oct. 25, 2022)Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) has announced that its Master of Science: Physician Assistant Program (MSPA) has been granted a 10-year Accreditation-Continued status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA). Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

The 10-year Accreditation-Continued status is the maximum awardable timeframe, meaning SCU has earned the longest running status, from ARC-PA. The Accreditation Review Commission on Education met in Sept. 2022 and noted zero areas of noncompliance with the Accreditation Standards. The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website.

A headshot of the Master of Science: Physician Assistant Program Director, Melanie Catalano.Melanie Catalano, MSPA, PA-C, SCU MSPA Program Director stated, “The honor of earning maximum Accrediatation-Continued status was a combined effort of SCU senior administration and the MSPA team working together to come into full compliance with the standards of accreditation. This included an Accreditation Steering Committe co-chaired by PA Larsen and myself, creating and implementing a robust self-assessment process, composing a lengthy self-study report, and much more. The entire MSPA team (faculty and staff) were heavily involved in countless meetings, analysis of programmatic data, creation of action plans, and implementation of changes. This was a group effort made possible by administration and the MSPA team’s commitment to the success of this program,” said PA Catalano.

PA Catalano started at SCU in the Spring Term of 2018 when the program had Provisional status. “This was my first experience teaching in the classroom; I immediately realized that I am beyond passionate about education and empowering students. Achieving Accreditation-Continued status became my first priority to create a legacy for the program’s past students and pave a path forward for the current and future students of SCU’s MSPA program. They were my personal motivation to achieve this milestone,” said PA Catalano.

“The honor of earning Accreditation-Continued status for 10 years for SCU’s MSPA Program is a testament to the diligent work of our faculty, administrators, and students to ensure a continued standard of quality in health care education,” said SCU President John Scaringe, DC, EdD. “SCU is known for our integrative, whole-person health care programs, and we remain committed to educating competent, caring, and motivated health care practitioners to improving health and health care in Southern California and beyond.”

The SCU MSPA Program spans 28 months, involving intensive, full-time study. MSPA students take didactic and clinical courses, including clinical skills training and supervised clinical practice experiences, resulting in a Master of Science: Physician Assistant degree. More than 2,000 hours are spent doing clinical rotations through a variety of healthcare specialties, including Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Women’s Health: Obstetrics and Gynecology, General Surgery, Behavioral Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Integrative Medicine, and many more. Clinical rotations give future PAs a broad knowledge base and training as a generalist, enabling them to fill gaps in healthcare wherever there’s a need. Upon completion of clinicals, PAs are qualified to conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, write prescriptions, perform and assist in surgeries, and so on. After graduating, PAs are able to work in the field of medicine and healthcare, including research and academics.

“What distinguishes the PA program at SCU from others is the emphasis on Interprofessional Education (IPE) and whole-person, integrative healthcare,” said PA Catalano. “In today’s complex healthcare settings, it takes a team of professionals to provide patients with whole-person care. Healthcare is continuously changing and adapting, today, more than ever. Our current and future healthcare professionals need to be prepared to adapt to continuous change, as well as be prepared in interprofessional experiences for the transforming healthcare environment.”

SCU’s Master of Science: Physician Assistant Program began in the Fall Term of 2016. The MSPA Program at SCU has produced over 150 PAs since the program began.

A Master of Science: Physician Assistant Student receives her first white coat at the SCU MSPA White Coat Ceremony in January 2022SCU’S MSPA PROGRAM BY THE NUMBERS

  • Class size: 50
  • Principal Faculty: 11
  • Instructional Faculty: 13
  • Incoming September 2022 MSPA Class:
    • 78% female; 22% male
    • 78% of students are from California
    • 22% of students are from out-of-state
    • Age range: 20-43
  • Race/Ethnicity:
    • Hispanic: 26%
    • American Indian or Alaska Native: 4%
    • Asian: 26%
    • Black or African American: 4%
    • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 2%
    • White: 58%
      • *Race/Ethnicity percentages do not add up to 100% as some students identify as more than one race/ethnicity.

PA Melanie Catalano, Director, MSPA Program, during the Jan. 2022 MSPA White Coat CeremonyThe SCU MSPA Program receives around 1,200 applications each year, conducts 200 interviews, per admissions cycle, and admits 50 students into each class.

The deadline for the current application cycle is Jan. 15, 2023 for a Sept. 5, 2023 start date. For full details on admissions requirements, visit the MSPA Admissions Requirements page.

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