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.

Patient-Centered Practice Knowledge

Graduates will be able to recognize healthy versus ill patients in the context of the patients’ lives and determine the stage of illness — acute, at risk of illness (emerging), or chronic. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to utilize up-to date scientific evidence to inform clinical reasoning and clinical judgment.

  • Recognize normal and abnormal health states
  • Discern among acute, chronic, and emerging disease states
  • Elicit and understand the stories of individual patients and apply the context of their lives (including environmental influences, cultural norms, socioeconomic factors, and beliefs) when determining healthy versus ill patients
  • Develop meaningful, therapeutic relationships with patients and their families
  • Partner with patients to address issues of ongoing signs, symptoms, or health concerns that remain over time without clear diagnosis despite evaluation and treatment 

Society and Population Health

Graduates will be able to recognize and understand that the influences of the larger community may affect the health of patients and integrate knowledge of social determinants of health into care decisions.

  • Recognize the cultural norms, needs, influences, and socioeconomic, environmental, and other population-level determinants affecting the health of the individual and community being served
  • Recognize the potential impacts of the community, biology, and genetics on patients and incorporate them into decisions of care
  • Demonstrate accountability and responsibility for removing barriers to health
  • Understand the role of structural disparities in causing illness
  • Engage members of the health care team in the surveillance of community resources to sustain and improve health
  • Engage the health care team in determining the adequacy of community resources
  • Reflect on personal and professional limitations in providing care
  • Exercise cultural humility
  • Elicit and hear the story of the individual and apply the context of the individual’s life (including environmental influences, culture, and disease) when determining healthy versus ill patients
  • Understand and apply the fundamental principles of epidemiology
  • Recognize the value of the work of monitoring and reporting for quality improvement
  • Use appropriate literature to make evidence-based decisions on patient care 

Health Literacy and Communication

Graduates will be able to communicate with patients as partners who engage in shared decision-making and who communicate, interpret, and express themselves as individuals with unique personal, cultural, and social values.

  • Establish meaningful, therapeutic relationships with patients and families that allow for a deeper connection and create space for exploration of the patients’ needs and goals to deliver culturally competent care
  • Interpret information so that patients can understand and make meaning out of the information conveyed to them
  • Recognize the need for and governing mandates that ensure patients have access to interpreters and appropriate resources when barriers to communication arise
  • Demonstrate insight and understanding about emotions and human responses to emotions that allow one to develop and manage interpersonal interactions
  • Communicate effectively with patients, families, and the public
  • Provide effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication needs
  • Organize and communicate information with patients, families, community members, and health team members in a form that is understandable, avoiding discipline-specific terminology when possible, and checking to ensure understanding

Interprofessional Collaborative Practice and Leadership

Graduates will be able to recognize that the patient is at the center of all health care goals and to partner with the patient to define the patient’s health care goals.

  • Articulate one’s role and responsibilities to patients, families, communities, and other professionals
  • Redirect the focus of the health care team to the needs of the patient
  • Assure patients that they are being heard
  • Ensure patients’ needs are the focus over self and others
  • Contribute to the creation, dissemination, application, and translation of new health care knowledge and practices
  • Recognize when referrals are needed and make them to the appropriate health care provider
  • Coordinate care
  • Develop relationships and effectively communicate with physicians, other health professionals, and health care teams
  • Use the full scope of knowledge, skills, and abilities of available health professionals to provide care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable
  • Use unique and complementary abilities of all members of the team to optimize health and patient care
  • Engage diverse professionals who complement one’s own professional expertise, as well as associated resources, to develop strategies to meet specific health and health care needs of patients and populations
  • Describe how professionals in health and other fields can collaborate and integrate clinical care and public health interventions to optimize population health

Professional and Legal Aspects of Health Care

Graduates will be able to practice medicine in a beneficent manner, recognizing and adhering to standards of care while attuned to advancing social justice.

  • Articulate standard of care practice
  • Admit mistakes and errors
  • Participate in difficult conversations with patients and colleagues
  • Recognize one’s limits and establish healthy boundaries to support healthy partnerships
  • Demonstrate respect for the dignity and privacy of patients while maintaining confidentiality in the delivery of team-based care
  • Demonstrate responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self-interest
  • Demonstrate accountability to patients, society, and the profession
  • Exhibit an understanding of the regulatory environment

Health Care Finance and Systems

Graduates will be able to articulate the essential aspects of value-based health care and apply this understanding to the delivery of safe and quality care.

  • Recognize that health care is a business
  • Articulate individual providers’ value-add to the health care team in terms of cost
  • Appreciate the value of the collaborative physician/PA relationship