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Physician Assistant Department

Steeping in History, Committed to the Future

While our program is one of the oldest in the nation, we are continually looking forward to cutting-edge research and advancements within this exciting field so that our graduates excel in the quickly growing PA job sector.

Physician Assistant Department

The Physician Assistant Department’s PA program, one of the nation’s oldest and largest, is pledged to providing students with the most current and finest preparatory training available. Employing continuous curricular analysis, assessment of the best clinical practices, and utilization of state-of-the art in educational technologies, program graduates are eminently prepared to undertake their roles as professional health care practitioners.
The Physician Assistant profession is one of the fastest growing and highly regarded professions in the country. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has consistently ranked the profession among the 30 fastest growing occupations. We are committed to providing the education and training needed to enter this exciting job sector.
We offer a Physician Assistant Master’s (PA) Program and a PA Post-Professional Master’s Program. Please explore our web pages for a wealth of information about our programs, students, faculty, research and clinical practice.


Master of Health Science - Physician Assistant
As a PA, you will complement the practice style of the supervising physician or physicians.

The PA Post-Professional Master's Program
Receive personalized professional development through an adult learner model.

Physician Assistant Faculty

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Everything happens for a reason.  Adrian Banning, MMS, an assistant clinical professor in the Physician Assistant (PA) Department, was appointed the co-director of the Epidemiology for Practice and Prevention Course in late 2008.  Prior to her appointment, she had not been interested in statistics or analyzing research, and admits she didn’t have much of an understanding for the underpinnings of using evidence-based medicine (EBM) effectively. 

After receiving an email about an evidence-based medicine conference in Massachusetts, Banning decided spur of the moment to attend.  The conference was organized by two thought leaders in the field, David Slawson, MD, of the University of Virginia, and Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD of Tufts University.  “I just sat with them and their colleagues for three days discussing why you need to know how to calculate positive and negative predictive value, why are they important, how you relay all these types of things that you’ve heard about but maybe haven’t thought about in a while, and how to transfer that to the education of a medical student, meaning nursing, physician, pharmacy, et cetera,” said Banning. “After three days of that, I came back and said we can do this so much better and apply these concepts right at the point of care with a patient.”

Banning brought all of these new concepts and ideas back to her mentor, Charles Stream, MPH, director of the epidemiology course, who in a very short turnaround time helped Banning incorporate them into the curriculum.  They also brought in Gary Childs, liaison librarian, Nursing and Health Professions.  “We talk about intercollaborative efforts between PAs, physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, but we forget to use our information experts as well.  Gary had a role in the class helping us understand what resources we have, the quality of them, and how to best utilize them.  He not only has a knack for understanding and teaching the resources, but also knowing when to suggest a resource or when you might not be ready for it,” said Banning.

The new curriculum aimed to incorporate as many of the thought masters as they could in 10 weeks and to merge the progressive ideas in EBM with what they were already doing to optimize how students can actually apply the concepts and make good decisions at the point of care.  “That’s when you really start revolutionizing or at least improving patient care, using evidence with the person sitting in front of you,” said Banning.

Following the course, Banning and Stream created presentations for the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) about how the curricular changes affected outcomes for the students.  The presentations touched upon how they tweaked what they were already doing as well as how they revised their curriculum, the resources they used, and how to use those resources.  The presentations were well-received, and they have been invited back several times, in both webinar and in-person, to present at PAEA conferences across the country and internationally. 

Said Banning, “So if you would have asked me 10 years ago, do you think EBM, epidemiology, statistics or public health are going to hold your interest, that you’ll be perusing amazon for books on how to read a paper, that you’ll be following these people on twitter… no, I wouldn’t have said that.  But it’s because I got assigned to this class and wanted to do a better job, and encountered some people who are really thinking about these things and making a lot of good sense.”


The Drexel University Physician Assistant (PA) program was recently approached with a very exciting opportunity to partner with the University of Worcester, in Worcester, England, whose PA program is only in its second year.    

Physician assistant is a relatively new profession in the UK, though there they are called Physician Associates. “In England, they are starting off on the right foot in that they’re identifying their profession so that it reflects the scope of care of the PAs,” said Patrick Auth, PhD, clinical professor and chair of the Drexel Physician Assistant Department.  

Though the partnership is still in its early stages, the two institutions have already created a research agenda, established work groups, and have discussed possible collaborations regarding clinical rotations, how each pursues teaching evidence-based medicine, patient simulation and graduate projects.  They are also planning a faculty exchange program.  “We’re going to try to send two to three people over in the next nine months, and then two to three people are going to come over from England soon after that,” said Auth.   Faculty would stay abroad for 10-14 days as guest lecturers, though in the years to come, they may stay for an entire term. 

Eventually the programs hope to exchange students; however “rotations and experiences for students are a lot more complicated to set up than a faculty going to visit, which just requires a passport.  A rotation requires legal agreements between the two facilities where the students are going to be, malpractice insurance coverage, housing sites, it’s a lot more of a logistical concern.  Are their educational needs going to be met?  So it’s something that the faculty could initially be assessing,” said Adrian Banning, assistant clinical professor in the Physician Assistant Department.  

Another concern to be addressed before students can be exchanged is accreditation.  “My sense is that their education is going to be similar, but I don’t think England has set up an infrastructure to accredit PA programs just yet.  Interestingly, the PA role might be different in England, based on their medical model.  They have to set up their own accrediting body and their own medical oversight,” said Auth.    

The ultimate goal of the partnership is not to promote one program or the other, but to promote each other.  “We can mentor them as they develop their curriculum, and they can mentor us in innovation and creative solutions.  It’s the beginning of what we think is going to be a very fruitful relationship,” said Auth. 



Sara Bunyaratapan, MHS, Physician Assistant, was hired at SouthEast Lancaster Health Services as a certified physician assistant.

Chad Gavitt, BS, Physician Assistant ’99 joined IMPRES Technology Solutions Inc. where he leads IMPRES' Civilian Agency Team, including DHS and their FirstSource II contract. Mr. Gavitt previously worked for various federal contractors and consultants.

Susan M. Kammerle, PT, MPT, Physical Therapy ‘88 was named director of the Phoenix Rehabilitation and Health Services facility in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Her clinical expertise includes manual techniques/mobilization for the treatment of general orthopedic conditions, including low back and neck pain, sprains/strains/tears, balance issues, post-operative care as well as sports-related and workers' compensation injuries.

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