Mercer’s New Physician Assistant Program Receives Provisional Accreditation

The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will launch its Physician Assistant program in January 2008 following the announcement of its provisional accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant Inc. In a recent letter, the program received word on its provisional accreditation from the ARC-PA. The provisional accreditation will allow the College to begin the program, which will be the fourth in Georgia and the only second in the Atlanta area.

The program will be offered in conjunction with College’s educational partnership - Piedmont Healthcare of Atlanta.

“We’re very proud to have received this accreditation so quickly, our staff and I have put in many long hours over past 11 months,” said Brad Schwarz, MS, PA-C, the director of the College’s Physician Assistant Program. “Mercer University has a proud history of developing professional education programs to address the work force needs of Georgia, including the establishment of its medical school and engineering school. We’re honored to continue that tradition by helping to develop this important program.”

“As the U.S. population ages, there will be fewer health care providers and greater patient care needs,” he explained. “We hope this program will help meet the medical needs of our state and our nation by providing highly qualified physician assistants over the ensuing years.”

The new physician assistant program helped to cultivate the change of Mercer’s 104-year-old pharmacy school, which officially became the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences on July 1, 2006.

The 28-month physician assistant program will be based on the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta and will eventually enroll up to 50 graduate candidates per year. “The initial class will be 25 students followed by a slow growth over the next four years,” said Schwarz, who joined Mercer in October 2006 following a national search. He previously served as the associate director at the Emory University Physician Assistant program.

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