Vision and Mission

On this page, you will find the Vision and Mission of Chatham University's MPAS program, as well as technical standards and program competencies.


To strive for excellence in physician assistant education whose graduates are known as outstanding clinicians in the community and leaders in the profession trained by faculty who are recognized for developing and researching innovative curricular methods.


The Chatham University MPAS Program is dedicated to producing knowledgeable, compassionate, ethical, and clinically skillful graduates who are ready to provide health care services to all persons without exclusion and who are willing to become the future leaders and educators of the profession. This will be accomplished by: 
  • Recruiting and retaining outstanding PA students from diverse backgrounds and educating them to practice as primary care providers to serve those in the communities they live and work; 
  • Providing a student-centered curriculum which promotes self-directed and lifelong learning through the use of evidence-based medicine; 
  • Promoting professionalism and service to the community; 
  • Contributing to the advancement of knowledge in medicine and physician assistant education; 
  • Encouraging students to serve local, national, and international communities through active involvement in service-oriented programs for medically underserved populations; 
  • Involving students in interprofessional activities and encouraging the development of team skills and an appreciation of team-based, patient-centered care;
  • Promoting participation in professional organizations and the education of future PAs;
  • Supporting sustainability through health promotion, disease prevention, health literacy, cultural competency, and reduction of printed materials in and out of the classroom.


The student must possess the mental, physical, and emotional capacities essential to attaining the competencies required to function as a physician assistant. All PA students will be expected to have abilities in five categories: observation, communication, motor, intellectual and social. These abilities enable the student to perform tasks required to meet graduation and professional requirements as measured by state and national certification, licensure and registration processes. Candidates who posses any disability that would potentially interfere with the attainment of such competencies are encouraged to contact the Director of the MPAS program, Judy Truscott, to discuss and identify possible accommodations. Chatham University and/or affiliated sites may arrange to enable the candidate to demonstrate the necessary physical, mental, and emotional capacities.

Observation: Candidates must have sufficient sensory capacity to observe in the problem-based learning and lecture settings, the laboratory, and the healthcare or community setting. Sensory abilities must be adequate to perform appropriate examination or assessments including functional vision, hearing, and tactile sensation to observe a patient's condition, and to elicit information appropriate to a physician assistant.

Communication: Students must be able to communicate effectively and professionally in academic, community, educational, and healthcare settings, and be able to demonstrate proficiency in both verbal and written English.

Motor: Students must have the ability to participate in basic diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers and procedures. Students must be able to negotiate patient care environments, and be able to move between settings such as the classroom, healthcare facility, educational, or community setting. Physical stamina sufficient to complete the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study is required. Long periods of sitting, standing or moving are required in a variety of learning sites. Students must be proficient in typing skills.

Intellectual: Students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and integrate information as well as be able to comprehend temporal and spatial relationships.

Social: Students must exercise good judgment and be able to function, appropriately and effectively, in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice, and must maintain mature, sensitive and effective professional relationships with faculty, students, patients, and other members of the healthcare and/or educational team. Students are expected to fully participate in physical examination courses as both examiners and patients. Students should be comfortable with modest exposure of the body to allow for adequate examination (donning of sports bra or tank top for women, males will remove shirt; and shorts for both males and females). Students must also be able to be comfortable with donning surgical scrub clothing that expose the arms above the elbows, the neck and upper chest areas.

Students should be completely comfortable working in small groups for problem based learning, including, but not limited to: verbal discussion of knowledge and limitations of knowledge, scribing of information via handwritten transmission in front of a group of students and a faculty member, or typing via use of smart board technology in front of a group of students and a faculty member.

In lab settings, students should be comfortable with and prepared to work with different students, both male and female, with regard to physical examination and/or procedures in a large room with other students present. No genital, breast, or rectal examinations are performed on fellow students.

Medical Knowledge

  1. Understand etiologies, risk factors, underlying pathologic process, and epidemiology for medical conditions.
  2. Identify signs and symptoms of medical conditions.
  3. Select and interpret appropriate diagnostic or lab studies used in primary care.
  4. Manage general medical and surgical conditions to include understanding the indications, contraindications, side effects, interactions and adverse reactions of pharmacologic agents and other relevant treatment modalities.
  5. Identify the appropriate site of care for presenting conditions, including identifying emergent cases and those requiring referral or admission.
  6. Identify appropriate interventions for prevention of conditions.
  7. Identify the appropriate methods to detect conditions in an asymptomatic individual.
  8. Differentiate between the normal and the abnormal in anatomic, physiological, laboratory findings and other diagnostic data.
  9. Appropriately use history and physical findings and diagnostic studies to formulate a differential diagnosis.
  10. Provide appropriate care to patients with chronic conditions.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

  1. Create and sustain a therapeutic and ethically sound relationship with patients.
  2. Use effective listening, nonverbal, explanatory, questioning, and writing skills to elicit and provide information.
  3. Appropriately adapt communication style and messages to the context of the individual patient interaction.
  4. Work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals as a member or leader of a healthcare team or other professional group.
  5. Apply an understanding of human behavior.
  6. Demonstrate emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, flexibility and tolerance of ambiguity and anxiety.
  7. Accurately and adequately document and record information regarding the care process for medical, legal, quality, and financial purposes.

Patient Care

  1. Work effectively with physicians and other healthcare professionals to provide patient-centered care.
  2. Demonstrate caring and respectful behaviors when interacting with patients and their families.
  3. Gather essential and accurate information about their patients.
  4. Make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic interventions based on patient information and preferences, up-to-date scientific evidence, and clinical judgment.
  5. Develop and carry out patient management plans.
  6. Counsel and educate patients and their families.
  7. Competently perform medical and surgical procedures considered essential in the area of practice.
  8. Provide health care services and education aimed at preventing health problems or maintaining health.


  1. Understanding of legal and regulatory requirements, as well as the appropriate role of the physician assistant.
  2. Professional relationships with physician supervisors and other health care providers.
  3. Respect, compassion, and integrity.
  4. Responsiveness to the needs of patients and society.
  5. Accountability to patients, society, and the profession.
  6. Commitment to excellence and on-going professional development.
  7. Commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of clinical care, confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, and business practices.
  8. Sensitivity and responsiveness to patients' culture, age, gender, and disabilities.
  9. Self-reflection, critical curiosity, and initiative.

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement

  1. Analyze practice experience and perform practice-based improvement activities using a systematic methodology in concert with other members of the healthcare delivery team.
  2. Locate, appraise, and integrate evidence from scientific studies related to their patients’ health problems.
  3. Obtain and apply information about their population of patients and the larger population from which their patients are drawn.
  4. Apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness.
  5. Apply information technology to manage information, access on-line medical information, and support their education.
  6. Facilitate the learning of students and/or other healthcare professionals.
  7. Recognize and appropriately address gender, cultural, cognitive, emotional and other biases; gaps in medical knowledge; and physical limitations in themselves and others.

System-Based Practice

  1. Use information technology to support patient care decisions and patient education.
  2. Effectively interact with different types of medical practice and delivery systems.
  3. Understand the funding sources and payment systems that provide coverage for patient care.
  4. Practice cost-effective healthcare and resource allocation that does not compromise quality of care.
  5. Advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with system complexities.
  6. Partner with supervising physicians, health care managers and other health care providers to assess, coordinate, and improve the delivery of health care and patient outcomes.
  7. Accept responsibility for promoting a safe environment for patient care and recognizing and correcting systems-based factors that negatively impact patient care.
  8. Apply medical information and clinical data systems to provide more effective, efficient patient care.
  9. Use the systems responsible for the appropriate payment of services.

Rotations are required in family practice, internal medicine, women’s health, emergency medicine, pediatrics, surgery, and psychiatry. These are required by the ARC-PA.