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Faculty from the Physicians Assistant Program, including Jennifer Stauffer (left), Amy Harrison, Randy Cook and Rebecca Stephen (right), at OSU for Health Sciences.
Faculty from the Physicians Assistant Program, including Jennifer Stauffer (left), Amy Harrison, Randy Cook and Rebecca Stephen (right), at OSU for Health Sciences.

OSU-CHS Physician Assistant Program to welcome students in July

Monday, May 3, 2021

Media Contact: Sara Plummer | Communications Coordinator | 918-561-1282 |

OSU Center for Health Sciences’ Physician Assistant program will welcome its first class of 26 students in July after recently receiving accreditation.

A physician assistant, or PA, is a health care professional who can diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans and prescribe medications after completing thousands of hours of medical training. They practice in every medical setting and specialty.

“The mission of the PA program mirrors that of OSU-CHS, which is to increase access in rural and underserved communities in Oklahoma. With a collaborating physician, PAs often serve as patients’ primary care provider, especially in rural Oklahoma,” said Amy Harrison, the PA program director and clinical assistant professor.

The program received accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission for the Physician Assistant after a rigorous, multi-year process.

At OSU-CHS, the new PA students will learn alongside OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine students and will be able to complete their clinical training at OSU Medicine clinics or at OSU Medical Center, said Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSU-CHS president, dean of OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and President Designee of Oklahoma State University.

“It’s very exciting. I know a lot of students in the OSU system and across the state are really interested in a Physician Assistant degree,” Shrum said. “To be able to do that here in Tulsa is a huge accomplishment.”

Harrison said it’s a natural fit for the PA program and OSU-COM to collectively educate students because it will promote interprofessional relationships and collaboration among clinical providers.

“From the very beginning, PA training was intentionally modeled after physician training. It is intense and efficient by design,” she said.

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or DO, is a physician who completes four years of osteopathic medical school followed by three to five years of residency in a particular specialty. A PA is a medical provider who completes, on average, two and a half years of graduate education modeled after medical school curriculum.

“Both DOs and PAs strive to deliver holistic and optimal patient care by practicing collaborative and team-based medicine. Both professions also emphasize preventative medicine and comprehensive patient care,” Harrison said. “In particular, at OSU-CHS, both DO and PA programs focus on filling health care gaps in rural and underserved communities. We look forward to sending OSU PAs into the workforce and fulfilling our mission of serving Oklahoma.”

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