ATLANTA – Philip Tobin, a 17-year physician assistant and a former assistant professor at Harding University, has been named the new chair and program director of Mercer University’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies.
Prior to this position, Tobin was assistant professor and assistant clinical director of the Physician Assistant program at Harding University, where he chaired the institutional review board charged with ensuring the university’s research compliance involving human subjects. Tobin was also on the medical staffs at the Arkansas Department of Corrections and Whitaker Medical locums in Texas.
A retired United States Air Force veteran who served during the first and second Iraq wars, Tobin earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in physician assistant studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with emphasis in family medicine. He is currently completing a Doctor of Health Science degree at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“I’m extremely excited about this opportunity,” said Tobin, who began his PA directorship at Mercer on April 2. “I’m coming into a program that is up and running and is really a star in terms of PA education. In the short few years this program has been in existence, we’ve had advances and milestones that a lot of other programs have not had. So I’m coming into a well-equipped program as a director, and with that I’m both humbled and excited about the future of this program.”
Physician assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with the supervision of a physician. They provide a broad range of medical and surgical services in diverse settings and to diverse populations. In fact, the physician assistant profession has been identified as one the nation’s “best careers” by U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek magazines. Mercer’s 28-month PA program emphasizes evidence-based medicine, informatics, critical decision making, interdisciplinary teamwork, and continuous quality improvement.
Housed in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Mercer’s PA program began in 2006 and graduated its first class in May 2010. Last year, the program’s student-led medical challenge bowl team captured first place in a national medical competition held by the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Moreover, last year the program boasted a 100 percent first-time pass rate among the 2011 graduates who took the national PA certification examination.
“PA education is exploding right now,” Tobin said. “There’s competition for quality clinical sites, and there’s lots of competition for students. So one of my first goals is to make sure that Mercer’s name is out there, and that we remain a quality program. I want Mercer to be students’ first choice of a PA program to attend.”
Dr. H.W. “Ted” Matthews, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and vice president for the Health Sciences at Mercer University, said Tobin is poised to take the PA program to greater heights.
“Philip Tobin brings the necessary balance between practice and theory that is needed in a physician assistant program that is patient-centered,” Matthews said. “His extensive experience as a clinician at various types of medical sites, coupled with his academic training, will serve our faculty and students well as we move to the next level of excellence.”
About the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has the No. 4 ranked pharmacy program among private universities in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.), pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.), and physical therapy (DPT), and the master’s degree (M.M.Sc.) for physician assistants. Founded in 1903 as the independent Southern School of Pharmacy, the school merged with Mercer University in 1959 and in 1981 became the first school in the Southeast to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy degree as its sole professional degree. The College officially became a comprehensive College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2006, adding the Department of Physician Assistant Studies in 2006 and the Department of Physical Therapy in 2010. With an enrollment of more than 800 students and a distinguished faculty of basic scientists and clinicians, the College houses five centers focusing on research, teaching and learning. The College’s motto, “A Tradition of Excellence – A Legacy of Caring,” frames its philosophy of providing excellent academic programs in an environment where every student matters and every person counts. For more information about the College, please call 678.547.6244 or visit www.cophs.mercer.edu.