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Physician Assistant Post-Professional Master's Program (MHS)

Program

The Master of Health Science (MHS) degree is awarded by the University through the College of Nursing and Health Professions' Physician Assistant Post-Professional Master's program. This program builds upon knowledge and skills learned in the PA professional training programs in areas of health policy, evidence-based practice, and leadership. The program is available totally online, and it may be completed on a part-time basis.

The Physician Assistant Post-Professional Master's program provides graduate education courses as a basis for personalized, professional development within the student's selected area of study. The goal of the program is to enhance basic physician assistant skills and to mentor students in areas of study beyond what is offered by entry-level physician assistant programs. The individually selected study concentration is augmented by the expertise of seasoned faculty and the vast resources of the University.

Specifically, the Physician Assistant Post-Professional Master's program seeks to:

  • Broaden the base and depth of analytical thinking by providing a foundation for scholarly inquiry
  • Mentor physician assistants in personalized, professional development to enhance the P.A. profession, its members, and the communities they serve

COMPLIANCE

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
  • Graduation from an ARC-PA approved PA Program by the time of acceptance into the program

Required Documents
With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our supporting document submission guide.

Tuition and Fee Rates:
Please visit the Drexel Online MHS in Physician Assistant Post-Professional Master's Program tuition page.

Accreditation

Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools: Drexel University is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education representing the highest level of recognition awarded to colleges and universities.

Outcomes

The goals of the Physician Assistant Post-Professional Master's Program are to:

  • Broaden the base and depth of analytical thinking by providing a foundation for scholarly inquiry
  • Mentor physician assistants in personalized professional development to enhance the PA profession, its members and the communities they serve.

The program’s outcomes are to:
Develop a working knowledge in basic epidemiologic terminology and concepts for clinical practice and research

  • Evaluate the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the US
  • Apply theories of epidemiology to the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the US
  • Analyze national health promotion recommendations across the lifespan and population groups
  • Synthesize epidemiologic information with evidence-based findings to summarize national health promotion recommendations for one of the nation’s health priority areas

Develop skills for application of research findings to clinical practice and research

  • Evaluate cultural, political, and ethical issues in research
  • Define and differentiate qualitative and quantitative research methods and designs 
  • Critically appraise original research studies’ sampling, methodology, and results for validity and applicability to clinical practice
  • Evaluate systematic reviews/meta-analyses, and critique clinical practice guidelines
  • Develop clinical questions for evidence-based practice
  • Synthesize knowledge of research designs and apply Sackett’s levels of evidence to research studies

Evaluate the health care system and its policies relating to costs, disparities in access and quality

  • Develop working knowledge of major US health policies
  • Assess factors contributing to health expenditures
  • Analyze issues related to disparities in health care access and quality
  • Critique US health policies and their influence on health services delivery
  • Evaluate means for improving access to and quality of care and decreasing health services expenditures

Evaluate professional leadership and stewardship characteristics

  • Compare and differentiate concepts of leadership and stewardship
  • Assess strategies for effecting change as a leader
  • Compile professional leadership portfolio and plan

  Build lifelong learning skills for continuous professional growth and development

Research and evaluate a clinical or professional topic in depth for capstone project

Advance the dissemination of medical knowledge and improve quality of care

  • Apply principles of scholarly inquiry and analysis to the capstone project
  • Conduct online literature searches and catalogue materials
  • Compose a literature review and gap analysis
  • Compile an annotated bibliography
  • Conduct mixed methods evaluation survey for efficacy of project developed and implemented

News & Events

 

03/19/20

Gretchen Fox '91, PA-C, associate program director the Physician Assistant programGretchen Fox, PA-C graduated from the Hahnemann Physician Assistant program in 1991 and is currently the associate program director the PA Program. Upon graduation she was hired by one of the PA Program’s long-standing preceptors and provided patient care in internal medicine for t22 years. She joined the faculty in 1992 and is looking forward to retiring in September 2020 after 28 years of service to the Physician Assistant program.

During her tenure at Hahnemann/Drexel, Fox has played a pivotal role in curriculum development and initial implementation of standardized patients/OSCEs. Fox chairs the Summative Examination committee and has directed or co-directed multiple courses within the program. She continues to direct and co-direct the Pharmacology and Therapeutics courses in addition to teaching small groups in clinical reasoning and clinical assessment. She has served as an invited member on the Education Council of the AAPA and as a test item writer for the NCCPA for over eight years. Fox was one of the first physician assistants inducted as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Fox is an invited member of the Drexel University CNHP Master Teacher’s Guild and continues to present workshops and poster presentations at both the local and national levels.

What’s on your bucket list?

Cross-county riding in Scotland.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

Any beautiful beach with warm, blue and clean water.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself that isn’t on your CV.

I love to dance.

Her specialization includes internal medicine and family practice as well as pharmacology and therapeutics. Fox’s research interests lie in education, both program specific and interprofessional. She's achieved academic distinctions during her prolific career including the Sherry Stolberg Alumni of the Year award in 2004, the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants Educator of the Year Award in 2005 and the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions Teaching Excellence Award in 2008.

Fox maintains professional affiliations with the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Physician Assistant Education Association and the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants and is an invited member of Pi Alpha, the national Physician Assistant Honor Society.

03/09/20

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has one of the best physician assistant programs in the country. Of course we think that, but so do a lot of other people. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranked our program number 10 in their list of Best Grad Schools for 2020

Here's an opportunity to get to know two current outstanding students.

Alec Proctor

Where were you born?

Port Townsend, Washington

Where did you do your undergraduate work?

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Why did you choose the PA profession?

I always knew that I wanted to work in medicine but was unsure of how exactly to do that. When I heard about the physician assistant profession it just clicked. As a PA, the ability to practice medicine at a high level is exactly what I was looking for while still having the opportunity to grow and explore new specialties.

Why did you choose Drexel University PA program?

I had never heard of Drexel until I shadowed a graduate of the program. I did some research into it and really liked what I saw. The high ranking is nice, but what really drew me to the program is the emphasis on primary care.

What music is currently on your playlist?

I love heavy music. Currently the bands getting a lot of rotation are Lamb of God, Allegaeon, Soilwork and As I Lay Dying.

What is an item on your bucket list?

I have always wanted to get SCUBA certified, but growing up in Colorado there wasn’t much need.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

My favorite vacation has to be when I went to Rome. The blend of history, art and food is tough to beat.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself that may not be on your resume.

In my free time, I am learning how to play the guitar.

Ann Bonner

Bonner-Headshot

Where were you born?

I was born in Columbia, Maryland, about 15 minutes outside of Baltimore.

Where did you do your undergraduate work?

University of Maryland

Why did you choose the PA profession?

Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to go into the health field; I would even go around with my toy medicine kit trying to listen to my cat’s heart. I chose the PA field because it encompasses everything I love — medicine, health, patient relationships and teamwork. At my previous job as a PT aide, my favorite part was getting to know patients and developing relationships with them. I can’t wait to form these relationships and help patients in the future!

Why did you choose Drexel University PA program?

I chose Drexel because it is one of the oldest, most renowned PA programs in the country, and it has an amazing mission that sets out to serve the medically underserved. While growing up, I went on several mission trips to various areas of the country trying to help those who needed it the most, so this was very appealing to me. I love the opportunity we get in this program to help make people’s lives better. As my dad is from the area, I have grown up with Philadelphia occupying a special place in my heart so I love the location of Drexel’s program.

What music is currently on your playlist?

Anything country — Luke Combs, Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan, etc.

What is an item on your bucket list?

I want to travel to all 50 states. So far I’ve been to 28, but I hope to get to all 50 very soon. In general, travel is always on my bucket list! I am always looking forward to the next place I can go.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Cape May, New Jersey is still and will forever be my favorite vacation spot. My family has been going there every summer since I can remember. It brings back so many good memories and is a place I consider my second home. It is a beautiful, peaceful town.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself that may not be on your resume.

I love traveling — before starting PA school, I traveled to Australia, Brazil, Iceland and Europe. In Iceland, I snowmobiled on top of an active volcano and went glacier hiking.

03/09/20

Where were you born?

I was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up in Pittsford, one of the suburbs of Rochester.

Why did you choose the PA profession?

I always knew I wanted to go into medicine, but I didn’t know exactly what I was looking to do. My aunt is a nurse at Rochester General Hospital in the Emergency Department and had always been someone I looked up to, so I got my first job in medicine working as a patient care tech there. That’s where I was first introduced to the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants and got to see how they worked with the rest of the team. I loved working with the PAs there. I got my undergraduate degree in biology from Villanova University, and while there, our medical advisor put me in touch with a number of PAs in the Philadelphia area who I got to shadow. I think that kind of solidified my plan!

Why did you choose Drexel University’s PA program?

It was clear that Drexel’s PA program was one of the best and one of the oldest programs in the country and it seemed like a very prestigious program. When I went for my interview, the people I met and the way they spoke about the program really resonated with me. Everyone was so passionate about the program and had such great things to say. I know it was an interview, but it was different from the other places I looked at. So, it was not only the history, but the people that I met that made the difference for me.

Where do you currently practice?

I work at New York Presbyterian Hospital at Weill Cornell Medical Center in the pediatric intensive care unit. I always knew that I wanted to work in inpatient pediatrics specifically. This was my first PA job after graduation, but my position has changed quite a bit since I started. At first, the position was divided into half pediatric ICU and half in the well-baby nursery, which was a unique split but one I loved right out of school. I’ve been here almost four years, and I’m now the senior PA working solely in the PICU. Our team of pediatric PAs is still continuing to expand—we’re hiring!

Describe a day in your clinical practice.

We work 12 and a half hour shifts three days a week— days, nights, weekends, holidays— so generally our shifts in the morning start with rounding out our patients with the whole clinical team. We work closely with attending physicians, fellows, residents, nurses and all of the consulting services in the hospital. Throughout the day, we field admissions, transfers and discharges as they come. Those are the basics of what we do every day, but we see the sickest kids in the hospital. Truthfully, no day is really the same, every day is a little bit different and presents a new challenge. Some days are calm, some are very busy, some are very sad and some are very happy. We never know what we’re going to get but that is what makes it such an exciting place to be.

Our team currently has a bit of a focus on postoperative cardiothoracic surgery patients and ECMO patients, but we see a little bit of everything. We’re some of the only permanent people in the unit, since the residents and fellows rotate through, so we have a lot of responsibility. It’s a great feeling as a PA to have a place where you’re well respected and have a lot of responsibility; our colleagues really do a good job of acknowledging how hard we work and how much education goes into working as a PA in the PICU and taking care of our kids.

What’s an item on your bucket list?

Outside of work, my favorite thing to do is travel. I can’t narrow it down to a specific place. There are so many places I want to see. In the short term, my husband and I are looking at going to Morocco, Thailand, Turkey, Paris and Amsterdam in the next couple of years.

What advice would you give a student just starting the program?

It’s definitely really tough. The biggest thing I liked about the program was having such a big class and other people going through it with me. It allows you to find people who are similar to you, but also different. Your classmates are your biggest supporters through all of this, and they’re the ones doing it with you every step of the way, the ones who truly understand. Keep an open mind and use their experiences, insights and different ways of thinking, learning and doing things to help you. That helped me more than any other study tactic. Having one another and learning from one another was amazing.

What advice would you give a student who is about to graduate?

The people you work with make such a big difference in your happiness and success at work. When you’re looking for a job you love and are dedicated to, pay close attention to the other people who work there and pick somewhere that employs the kind of people you’re looking to work with. My coworkers and the physicians I work with are immensely talented and inspire me every day, drive me to become a better PA, and improve my practice. Surrounding yourself with people who elevate and inspire you is important.

What do you do to relax and take care of yourself?

I love going outside and experiencing New York City. I’m not originally from here, so any chance I get to go out and explore something new or see something new, whether it’s trying new restaurants or work out classes, really helps me clear my head and reset on my days off. Even on days that I work, my commute to the hospital is a walk through Central Park. I love being in a big city that’s new to me and being able to have these experiences.

Do you have a personal philosophy or mission statement?

Patient care comes first. The environment I work in is very high stress and has high stakes. The people I work with are very passionate all of the time, and it’s not always the best day, but remembering that we’re all there for the same reason every day helps bring me back and makes the end result extremely rewarding.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working?

Traveling to new places with my husband, my family or my sister. We go away almost every weekend if we can to keep ourselves busy. Recently, I went to South Africa. I was blown away. It was more amazing than I could have ever imagined, it was such a cool trip.

What are some causes you care about?

There are two organizations, rather than specific causes, that come to mind. The first is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. We, as a hospital, have worked very closely with them for a few of our patients, and they are an incredible, life-changing organization.

The other is actually another hospital whose work I really admire, the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, specifically their burn care, is amazing. We have encountered a lot of families who don’t have sufficient insurance coverage for the awful situation in which they find themselves, and we’ve referred patients to Shriner’s for ongoing care. The fact that these children can get the care they need without worrying about insurance is incredible; they are an incredible organization and go above and beyond.

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