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Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

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Accepting applications starting Nov. 2025 for July 2026 start date. New sessions begin every July.
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Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Health Sciences' (ATSU-ASHS) Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBMS) program provides an online learning opportunity for individuals aspiring to pursue enrollment in physician assistant (PA) school. All students who complete ATSU's MSBMS program with a GPA of 3.5 or higher and meet ATSU’s PA program prerequisite requirements will be granted an automatic interview with the ATSU-ASHS physician assistant (PA) program.

The fully online biomedical sciences program enhances the academic background of students by providing the opportunity to obtain clinically oriented, graduate-level training that complements their academic standing in pursuit of a career in the health professions. Students in the program have the opportunity to take classes in medical writing, advanced sciences, and other health professional competencies required for admission to graduate health science programs. Students will thrive in an intimate educational setting with a maximum of 25 students per course.

The biomedical sciences master’s program is comprised of 45 credit hours of study which can be completed over the course of 9 months, offering students an accelerated path and much shorter completion time when compared to other biomed programs. Courses are designed with an emphasis on academic rigor using an asynchronous learning model in a flexible online learning format.

The "gap year" format provides an opportunity for students to enhance and strengthen undergraduate prerequisite coursework. Upon completion of the rigorous coursework of the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program, students demonstrate their ability to succeed in ATSU's fast-paced PA curriculum.

Join our leadership team and faculty to learn more about the program! Our interactive Zoom sessions focus on the curriculum, faculty, admissions, tuition, and more.

Biomedical science students and alumni

Discover from our students and alumni how the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program is empowering physician assistant hopefuls.

Kaitlyn Martinez, MSBMS
Student
Quang Tran, MSBMS
Student
Bryana Lanier, MSBMS
Student
Load More Videos +

Program essentials

Overview
Course list
Tuition
Faculty/Staff
ATSU
Curriculum
Admission requirements
Admission
Graduation requirements
Outcomes
Cost
Financial Aid
Administration
Faculty
Staff
University catalog
Accreditation

Curriculum

Total required credit hours: 45

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Block 1: 10 weeks Block 2: 10 weeks Block 1: 10 weeks Block 2: 6 weeks
Medical Writing for Health professionals (3 credits) Medical Ethics (3 credits) Social & Behavioral Determinants of Health (3 credits) Capstone III (4 credits)
Medical Physiology I (3 credits) Medical Physiology II (3 credits) Medical Physiology III (3 credits)
Biochemistry Essentials (3 credits) Pharmacology I (2 credits) Pharmacology II (3 credits)
Microbiology and Infectious Disease (3 credits) Genetics (3 credits) Capstone II (2 credits)
Clinically Oriented Anatomy (3 credits) Principles of Immunology (2 credits)
Capstone I (2 credits)

Program objectives

  • Apply biomedical knowledge gained in the classroom as preparation for a potential career in the health sciences.
  • Identify social determinants of health at the local, state, and national levels and methods of health promotion initiatives and health advocacy to advance the values of whole person healthcare, cultural proficiency, social responsibility, diversity, and accessibility of healthcare to all.
  • Integrate critical thinking, current evidence, and the ethical, legal, and biopsychosocial principles of healthcare and the provision of whole person care.
  • Produce and submit a paper suitable for publication relevant to improving healthcare delivery and quality patient care.
  • Through the Capstone series, develop an understanding of evidence-based medicine, applied statistical analysis, and performance of a literature review to develop a culminating project.
  • Enhance communication strategies to improve interview skills, interprofessional collaboration, and application preparation.

Requirements for admission

  • Prospective students will complete the ATSU application online and pay a $70.00 application fee.
  • Students admitted to the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program will have all the following:
    1. Bachelor of Science or Art degree from a U.S. accredited institution of higher education recognized by the Department of Education or applicants who graduated from a university outside the United States will be required to provide a degree equivalency evaluation.*
    2. Official college transcripts from all qualifying degree institutions attended to include at least:
      • Prerequisite coursework with a C or better:
        • Anatomy – 3 semester hours/5 quarter hours
          • Combined anatomy & physiology courses will require 6 semester hours/9 quarter hours to satisfy the Anatomy requirement
        • English – 6 semester hours/9 quarter hours
      • Minimum overall of 2.5 (A = 4.0)
      • Minimum overall and science grade point averages of 2.5 (A = 4.0)
    3. At least one letter of reference/recommendation
    4. A one to two-page personal statement
    5. Fluency in English (the language of instruction of this program). When the applicant writes in English as a second language, the applicant must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for review.
      • Acceptable minimal TOEFL scores for MSBMS applications are:
        • Internet-based total score = 80
        • Acceptable IELTS score is an overall band score of 6.5
        • The TOEFL is administered by TOEFL/TSE Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6151, USA 609. 771.7100. Information is available at http://www.ets.org/toefl. A.T. Still University’s institutional code is 0339. Please be sure to include this information when you submit your application packet. TOEFL Educational Testing Services P.O. Box 6151 Princeton, NJ 08541-6151 609.771.7100
      • Applicants who speak and/or write English as a second language who have previously graduated from a college or university accredited by the U.S. Department of Education with a bachelor’s degree (or higher) are exempt from this requirement.
      • Applicants who believe the TOEFL requirement should be waived may petition a program chair in writing.
    6. Students with a Bachelor of Science or Arts degree from a non-U.S. accredited institution of higher education must be currently residing in the US and meet one of the following:
      • Permanent US citizenship
      • Permanent residency status (green card)
    7. Applicants must be able to meet the minimum technology requirements as outlined at student technology requirements during the entirety of the master’s program.
*Applicants who have graduated from a foreign college or university should submit acceptable evidence of U.S. degree/course equivalency. All course work taken at the foreign institution must be evaluated for American institution equivalence by one of the following services:
Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
P.O. Box 514070
Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470
414.289.3400
International Education Research Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 66940
Los Angeles, CA 90066
310.390.6276
Josef Silny & Associates, Inc.
7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33171
305.273.1616
World Evaluation Service Inc.
P.O. Box 745 Old Chelsea Station
New York, NY 10113-0745
212.966.6311
International Credentialing Associates, Inc.
7245 Bryan Dairy Road
Largo, FL 33777
727.549.8555
International Consultants of Delaware
P.O. Box 8629
Philadelphia, PA 19101-8629
215.222.8454
American Assn. of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 520 Washington, DC 20036-1135 (202) 293-9161 University of Texas at Austin Robert Watkins – Graduate and International Admissions Center
2608 Whitis Avenue
Austin, TX 78712
512.475.7409
(Credential Reviews for Texas only)

Requirements for graduation

  • Completion of 45 credit hours
  • Completion of all courses in the program
  • Completion of all coursework and required activities with an average grade of “C” or better for graded courses and “Pass” designation in those courses graded pass/fail
  • Successful completion of comprehensive examinations and capstone courses
  • Fulfill all financial obligations to A.T. Still University
  • Adherences to all policies published in the University catalog such as student academic progress, professional rights, responsibilities, and conduct.

Career advancement

Knowledge gained in the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program enhances prerequisite course work and prepares students for the rigorous curriculum of PA education. Completion of the program enhances a student’s academic and professional portfolio.

Students obtaining a biomedical sciences master’s often pursue careers as PAs or other healthcare professionals, with additional opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry or in medical research.

Required courses

MSBS 5000 – Medical Physiology I

Credits: 3
Physiology includes the study of the normal function of each of the organ systems in the human body. Emphasis is placed on basic principles and mechanisms that have application throughout all areas of medical practice. Physiology content includes cellular, autonomic, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, acid-base, gastrointestinal, and endocrine physiology. Students will attend select physiology lectures via zoom with the residential PA students. Problem-based assignments specifically for the MSBS students emphasize concepts and clinical correlations.

MSBS 5030 – Medical physiology II

Credits: 3
Physiology includes the study of the normal function of each of the organ systems in the human body. Emphasis is placed on basic principles and mechanisms that have application throughout all areas of medical practice. Physiology content includes cellular, autonomic, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, acid-base, gastrointestinal, and endocrine physiology. Students will attend select physiology lectures via zoom with the residential PA students. Problem-based assignments specifically for the MSBS students emphasize concepts and clinical correlations.

MSBS 5060 – Medical physiology III

Credits: 3
Physiology includes the study of the normal function of each of the organ systems in the human body. Emphasis is placed on basic principles and mechanisms that have application throughout all areas of medical practice. Physiology content includes cellular, autonomic, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, acid-base, gastrointestinal, and endocrine physiology. Students will attend select physiology lectures via zoom with the residential PA students. Problem-based assignments specifically for the MSBS students emphasize concepts and clinical correlations.

MSBS 5100 – Clinically Oriented Anatomy

Credits: 3
The course is taught by the Anatomy Course Director for the Department of PA Studies and is a clinically based course in human anatomy. Students will attend lectures via zoom with the residential PA students. Small group breakout sessions for the MSBS students will apply learned knowledge through various activities with a focus on medical imaging modalities, physical exam, and web-based programs. Gross Anatomy covers back, thorax, abdomen, perineum/pelvis, the upper and lower limbs, and head and neck.

MSBS 5200 - Biochemistry Essentials

Credits: 3
Biochemistry introduces the molecular basis of cell function and the biochemical basis of structure and function of the body. Special attention is given to disease states caused by biochemical and genetic abnormalities. The courses are primarily lecture-based with some use of assignments to promote active learning of selected topics.

MSBS 5300 – Pharmacology I

Credits: 2
This course presents students with the principle pharmacological information they will need to practice medicine. The information includes drug mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, therapeutic uses, adverse effects, contraindications, and potential drug-drug interactions. Course content is delivered via zoom lectures and application exercises including formative quiz questions. These quiz questions uniquely allow students to self-assess their understanding of the material. The application exercises use clinical cases in a team-based learning format to enhance understanding of pharmacology of the drugs.

MSBS 5310 – Pharmacology II

Credits: 3
This course is a continuation of Pharmacology I and presents students with the principle pharmacological information they will need to practice medicine. The information includes drug mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, therapeutic uses, adverse effects, contraindications and potential drug-drug interactions. Course content is delivered via zoom lectures and application exercises including formative quiz questions. These quiz questions uniquely allow students to self-assess their understanding of the material. The application exercises use clinical cases in a team-based learning format to enhance understanding of pharmacology of the drugs.

MSBS 5400 – Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Credits: 3
This course provides a foundation in the basic concepts of microbiology. Emphasis is placed on studying gram-negative, gram-positive bacteria, virology, fungi, and parasites. Students will attend select microbiology lectures via zoom with the residential PA students. Problem-based assignments specifically for the MSBMS students emphasize concepts and clinical correlations.

MSBS 5450 – Principles of Immunology

Credits: 2
This course teaches the humoral and cell-mediated immune systems and their role in autoimmunity, transplantation, host-parasite relationships, and disease. Students participate in exercises involving interpretation of clinical case information and presentation of analysis in a small group setting. The objectives of this course are to provide an understanding of the numerous immunologic issues that will come forth in conditions taught in medical microbiology and infectious diseases.

MSBS 5550 – Genetics

Credits: 3
This course will cover medical genetics in the areas of inheritance patterns, including aspects of population genetics and probability. The course will emphasize subjects of medical interest such as genetic and metabolic disorders, including cytogenetic disorders and genetic testing. Human embryology from fertilization through the development of the major organ systems will also be covered. Emphasis will be on the developmental basis of the structures seen in anatomy, as well as the clinical significance of developmental abnormalities.

MSBS 5600 – Medical Writing for Health Professionals

Credits: 3
Graduate students are required to communicate their findings in different formats, including writing. This course examines the elements of writing to effectively communicate ideas. All students are expected to incorporate the different writing elements and styles into a personal statement and essays to use in academic applications. Each learner will provide peer feedback and incorporate feedback into their writing producing written work that is structured, informative, and meets the requirements of graduate-level admission applications.

MSBS 5700 – Medical Ethics

Credits: 3
This course will provide an overview of the principles of medical ethics (autonomy, beneficence, and justice) and ethical theory. Discussion will review the ethical challenges faced in healthcare and health administration, the ethical requirements of human-subjects research, the right to privacy and the ethical decision-making process. The responsibilities and boundaries of the patient-healthcare provider relationship and the conflicting demands of providing quality care with limited resources will be addressed, as will the relationship and responsibilities of healthcare providers to society. Case studies will be included to develop ethical reasoning skills applicable to daily practice.

MSBS 5800 – Social & Behavioral Determinants of Health

Credits: 3
This course will serve as an introduction to the social, cultural, behavioral, and economic factors that influence health status and population health interventions. The course will provide the student with the knowledge and self-efficacy to improve insights on communities and individuals different from their own that they may work with in the future.

MSBS 5900 – Capstone I

Credits: 2
This first course of the three-course series is designed to instruct the learner in the process of developing and completing an applied project. The applied project will be designed to target a problem in either healthcare practice or the healthcare professional sphere. During the capstone course sequence, the learner will work closely with their faculty advisor as they progress from conceptualization to completion of the applied project.

MSBS 5930 – Capstone II

Credits: 2
This second course of the three-course series is designed to instruct the learner in the process of developing and completing an applied project. The applied project will be designed to target a problem in either healthcare practice or the healthcare professional sphere. During the capstone course sequence, the learner will work closely with their faculty advisor as they progress from conceptualization to completion of the applied project.

MSBS 5960 – Capstone III

Credits: 4
This third course of the three-course series is designed to instruct the learner in the process of developing and completing an applied project. The applied project will be designed to target a problem in either healthcare practice or the healthcare professional sphere. During the capstone course sequence, the learner will work closely with their faculty advisor as they progress from conceptualization to completion of the applied project.

Tuition Cost

Prospective students will complete the ATSU application online and pay a $70.00 application fee.

Cost breakdown Class 2023-24
Tuition ($650 per credit) $29,250
Technology fee $1,440
Total: $30,690

Tuition for online programs is due the first day of class. For programs with payment per credit or course, the tuition covers the payment for the coming quarter. Delinquent tuition penalties accrue at 1.5% per month, which is 18% per year. For more information on Student Account Collection, please reference ATSU Policy #50-112 within the Financial Policies section.

Financial Aid

Federal financial aid is available for qualifying students. For more information please visit Enrollment Services. If you have questions regarding specific financial assistance topics, please call 660.626.2019 or email enrollmentservices@atsu.edu.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available at StudentAid.gov for U.S. residents applying to this program.

Michael G. DePalma, DMSc, MHS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Michael G. DePalma, DMSc, MHS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Associate Professor and Director, Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Program
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Dr. DePalma is an Associate Professor and the director of the Master of Science of the Biomedical Science (MSBMS) program.

Since graduating from the Lock Haven University Physician Assistant (PA) program in 2003, he has distinguished himself as a clinician, PA educator, PA leader, and published author. Dr. DePalma received his BS in Microbiology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1993, his Master of Health Science from Lock Haven University in 2003, and Doctor of Medical Science with a concentration in education from A.T. Still University in 2021. He has almost 20 years of clinical practice in orthopedic surgery, emergency medicine, and family medicine, and has been in PA education for the past five years. Prior to becoming a PA, Dr. DePalma was a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy and worked as a microbiologist for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

He is a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Physician Associates, has served on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants, and held several PA leadership and advocacy positions. Dr. DePalma has served on hospital medical executive committees, credentialing committees, and was the Assessment Coordinator for the LHU PA program.

Contact me at michaeldepalma@atsu.edu or (480) 265-8065.

Heather Alonge, PhD
Heather Alonge, PhD
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Dr. Heather Alonge has been in higher education for over 15 years working across degree programs and allied health programs. Her professional experiences include nonprofit health advocacy and policy and serving as the program manager to the Office on Women's Health for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Dr. Alonge's research experiences include rural access to care, telehealth, cultural practices for COVID-19 prevention, and injury and violence prevention. Dr. Alonge has published in many peer-reviewed journals.

Developing & Teaching: MSBS 5800: Social & Behavioral Determinants of Health

René Fuanta, Ph.D.
René Fuanta, Ph.D.
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Dr. Fuanta obtained his bachelor’s degree in 2010 from the University of Buea, majoring in Microbiology with a minor in Medical Laboratory Technology. He later obtained his Ph.D. in 2018 from Auburn University, AL, with a focus on enzyme mechanisms and the characterization of inhibitors. He teaches a range of biochemistry courses from introductory to advanced biochemistry courses. Dr. Fuanta’s research investigates the effects of various inhibitors on various pathogenic bacteria and also targets key protein/enzyme systems within these pathogens – towards the potential development of new antibacterials. Dr. Fuanta is an Education Fellow of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and was elected Mid-Atlantic region’s associate director of Sigma Xi. He serves on the editorial advisory board of award-winning science magazines – ASBMB Today and American Scientist. Dr. Fuanta is also an active member of other professional organizations including the American Chemical Society (ACS), the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), and also peer-reviews for several academic journals

Developing & Teaching: MSBS 5200: Biochemistry Essentials

Kevin Hickman, DMSc, MHA,  MJ (Health Law), PA-C, CHC
Kevin Hickman, DMSc, MHA, MJ (Health Law), PA-C, CHC
Read Bio
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Developing & Teaching: MSBS 5600: Medical Writing for Health Professionals & MSBS 5700: Medical Ethics.

Dr. Kevin Hickman is a PA with 15 years of clinical and leadership experience. He was the director of advanced practice providers for 4 years at two large healthcare systems in the northeast. During that time, he worked to improve organizational compliance with state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to physician assistants and nurse practitioners and clinical efficiency. Additionally, he aided in improving PA and NP utilization and documentation. Currently, he is an assistant professor/principal faculty at A.T. Still University’s Central Coast PA Program and clinically practicing in neurosurgery. He is adjunct faculty for multiple PA programs across the country, instructing on professional practice topics, including health law, compliance, billing and coding, malpractice and professional liability, medical ethics, and additionally for congenital heart and transplant surgery and medicine. He is actively involved in his state PA society and the American Academy of PAs. Governor Wolf appointed him to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Health Advisory Board in 2019, and he remains an active member.

He is certified in healthcare compliance and holds a Doctorate in Medical Science from A.T. Still University, a Master of Jurisprudence in Health Law from Loyola University, and a Master of Healthcare Administration from Ohio University. His thesis for health law explored the potential liability that can arise for physicians and organizations that employ PAs. He is a frequent national speaker at various medical and legal conferences. He has published multiple peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of the American Academy of PAs and the Journal of Physician Assistant Education on health law compliance and education.

Katie Kugler
Katie Kugler
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Katie Kugler began her career as a PA in 2000 upon graduating from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania with her BS in Physician Assistant Sciences. She proceeded to complete her Masters of Education in Health Education at Pennsylvania State University in 2016. Since the beginning of her career she has had a passion for patient care, education, and leadership. She has over 22 years of clinical experience in urology, psychiatry, solid organ transplant surgery, otolaryngology and interventional radiology. During her clinical practice she has worked at small physician practices and large academic institutions giving her a broad based clinical and interprofessional experience. Katie routinely guest lectures for multiple PA programs, precepts clinical PA students, and has held a part-time PA school faculty position in the past. She also regularly lectures at the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) conference, Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA) conference as well as other professional medical conferences on a variety of topics. She has a true passion for helping fellow PAs and PA students to meet their greatest potential through education and applies her educational skills to patient care to ensure that every patient understands their diagnosis and medical treatment plan. In addition to her clinical and educational endeavors she is an active leader in the PA profession. Katie is the co-chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee for the PSPA and an active member of many other committees. She has been a director at large for the board of directors and is a Past President for the PSPA among other positions she has held. On a national level she is a Distinguished Fellow of the AAPA and serves as an AAPA House of Delegate representative for Pennsylvania. She uses this leadership experience to be a strong advocate for PAs within her clinical practice as well as on a state and national level.

Developing & Teaching: MSBS 5900: Capstone I, MSBS 5930: Capstone II, MSBS 5960: Capstone III

Douglas D. Long DMSc, PA-C
Douglas D. Long DMSc, PA-C
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US Navy Veteran, 1985-1989 (US Marine Corps-Fleet Marine Force Corpsman 1987-89)

Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic 1992-1997

1997 Graduate Cuyahoga Community College Surgeon's Assistant Program

Experience: Emergency Medicine and Surgery

Master's Advanced PA Studies AT Still University 2019

DMSc AT Still University (Inaugural Cohort) 2021

Ursuline College PA Program Director of Clinical Education 2021-Present

Hobbies: Biking and Walking, Travel, Baseball, All things Cleveland

Married 5 kids (2 mine (daughters), 3 hers (2 step-daughters, 1 step-son)

AAPA Awards Committee

OAPA Communications Committee (Pending)

Teaching: MSBS 5900: Capstone I, MSBS 5930: Capstone II, MSBS 5960: Capstone III

Karen Mattes, Ed.D.
Karen Mattes, Ed.D.
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Dr. Mattes is a resident of eastern Pennsylvania and is a full-time Biology professor at a local community college. She taught high school biology for 10 years prior to taking a position at the community college. Her favorite subjects to teach are microbiology and anatomy and physiology.

When she is not teaching, she is raising four children who fill her life with joy. There are also 2 border collies, 5 rabbits, and 8 ducks who add to her very full life on her property. Hobbies include walking, running, and researching projects to build for her children and animals.

Developing & Teaching: MSBS 5000 Medical Physiology I, MSBS 5030 Medical Physiology II, MSBS 5060 Medical Physiology III, & MSBS 5100 Clinically Oriented Anatomy

Laura Solano, PA-C, DMSc
Laura Solano, PA-C, DMSc
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Dr. Laura Solano has practiced as a Physician Assistant for 13 years in family practice. She is devoted to her patients as she serves in the same family practice location for 11 years. She currently serves on a leadership committee focused on clinical operations, technology and innovation. She represents and leads the family practice subcommittee representing Texas in a wider enterprise endeavor focused on electronic medical record system improvement. Recently she has been added to the clinician recruitment team. Moreover, Dr. Solano currently teaches mathematics remotely in a technology school for adults. She has been an active preceptor for doctoral nurse practitioners and physician associates at the University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Wesleyan University, and the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC). Furthermore, she is a member of the Society of Physician Assistants in Genetics and Genomics (SPAGG). She is interested in genetics in light of the relevance of genetic conditions as they pertain to the practice of medicine. She has vast experience with genetic syndromes during her clinical experience of treating pediatric and adult patients for over a decade.

Dr. Solano enjoys writing and has a publication in the Journal of American Academy of PAs (JAAPA) on the topic of continuous glucose meters. She has other articles pending publication and others pending a decision. Dr. Solano obtained her master's degree from UNTHSC and a Doctoral degree from A.T. Still University where she studied education technology, curriculum design, and other topics focused on adult learning.

She is an active clinician and enjoys serving in family medicine. She is a happy wife and a mother of two girls and twin boys. Dr. Solano enjoys music and plays guitar, keys, and drums. She is passionate about education and believes that anything can be learned with the right instructor.

Developing & Teaching: MSBS 5550: Genetics

Ann Lee Burch, PT, MPH, EdD
Ann Lee Burch, PT, MPH, EdD
Dean
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Ann Lee Burch, PT, MPH, EdD LinkedIn

Dr. Ann Lee Burch is the dean of A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS). Dr. Burch received her doctor of education from Columbia University, Teachers College in 2005. She received her masters of public health from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health in 2002 and her masters of physical therapy from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1989. She was a postdoctoral fellow with the Research Group on Health Disparities at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her BA is in psychology from the University of Rochester.

Prior to her appointment as dean, Dr. Burch served as vice dean for ATSU-ASHS. She served as the chair of the Physical Therapy Department from 2008-January 2012. Prior to ATSU, Dr. Burch was the director of physical therapy at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has held administrative and/or faculty positions at the International Center for the Disabled in NY, NY, Mercy College in NY, and Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY.

Dr. Burch’s area of scholarly interest and application of that interest is in knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy of health care providers and healthcare professional students towards underrepresented patient/client groups.

Dr. Burch is the author of a Guide to Physical Therapy (Vault Publishers) which was written to increase information access about physical therapy to both high school graduates and re-entry adults. She was a co-investigator on an NIH grant at the University of Puerto Rico exploring the feasibility of an exercise program for breast cancer survivors living in San Juan. Dr. Burch has lived in Symi, Greece, Taipei, Taiwan, Ahmdebad, India and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is committed to research, teaching and service that further the understanding of the impact of socioeconomic and cultural variables on health.

 

She was a member of the class of 2014 cohort of Women in Educational Leadership at Harvard Graduate School of Education. In 2017 she was the co-PI on a Centers for Disease Control, Association for Prevention and Teaching grant exploring a population health case study format for teaching and communicating the impact of social determinants of health on health disparities. She was recently appointed a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.

Marlene Salas-Provance, PhD, MHA, CCC-SLP
Marlene Salas-Provance, PhD, MHA, CCC-SLP
Vice Dean
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Dr. Salas-Provance, is professor and vice dean of A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS). Dr. Salas-Provance received her doctorate in speech science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She received her masters of health administration from the University of Missouri School of Medicine-Columbia. She holds both a bachelors and masters in Speech Pathology from New Mexico State University.

Prior to her appointment as vice dean, Dr. Salas-Provance served as associate dean of academic and student affairs for the School of Health Professions at the University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston. She served as assistant dean and chair in the College of Education, Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico and department chair in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Montevallo (AL). She held faculty positions at Fontbonne College and St. Louis University, in St. Louis, MO.

She has made extensive professional contributions to the American, Speech, Language & Hearing Association (ASHA), serving on the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council, member of the Financial Planning Board, and the Multicultural Issues Board. She served as coordinator of ASHA’s Special Interest Group (SIG) 14, Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse populations and was a founding member and coordinator of SIG 17, Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is an ASHA Fellow and received ASHA’s highest awards for “Special Recognition in Multicultural Affairs” and “Outstanding Contributions in International Achievement.”

Dr.Salas-Provance has served as a clinical educator throughout her academic career, especially related to children with cleft lip and palate. She is a member of an international medical team with Rotaplast International and has traveled worldwide for over 15 years to provide clinical services to children with cleft palate. She implemented a program for graduate students in speech pathology to provide clinical services in Spanish to children with cleft palate in Lima, Peru. In addition to Lima, Peru she has provided clinical services in China, Bangladesh, Philippines, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Venezuela.

Dr. Salas-Provance is coauthor of the textbook Culturally Responsive Practices in Speech-Language and Hearing Science (Plural Publishing, 2019) which meets the needs for training students in healthcare professions regarding practice with individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Her research is focused on attitudes towards disability by diverse populations and addressing the use of language interpreters during healthcare and educational encounters.

Over the past ten years she has lectured extensively to international audiences, both in English and Spanish, including as invited speaker for the Congreso Internacional en Trastornos de la Comunicacion at Escuela de Fonoaudiologia (Speech Language Pathology / Audiology) de la Universidad de Talca, Chile and for the Department of Otolaryngology, Hospital Nacional Arzobispo Loayza, Lima, Peru, Endoscopic Evaluation of Velopharyngeal Dysfunction. She was invited keynote speaker for the First International Congress in Speech-Language Pathology and Orthodontics in the area of cleft lip and palate in Lima, Peru.

Dr. Salas-Provance was selected for the American Council on Education (ACE) Women’s Leadership Program and attended the National Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington DC (2017) for advancing female executives in higher education.

Michael G. DePalma, DMSc, MHS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Michael G. DePalma, DMSc, MHS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Associate Professor and Director, Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Program
Read Bio
+

Dr. DePalma is an Associate Professor and the director of the Master of Science of the Biomedical Science (MSBMS) program.

Since graduating from the Lock Haven University Physician Assistant (PA) program in 2003, he has distinguished himself as a clinician, PA educator, PA leader, and published author. Dr. DePalma received his BS in Microbiology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1993, his Master of Health Science from Lock Haven University in 2003, and Doctor of Medical Science with a concentration in education from A.T. Still University in 2021. He has almost 20 years of clinical practice in orthopedic surgery, emergency medicine, and family medicine, and has been in PA education for the past five years. Prior to becoming a PA, Dr. DePalma was a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy and worked as a microbiologist for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

He is a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Physician Associates, has served on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants, and held several PA leadership and advocacy positions. Dr. DePalma has served on hospital medical executive committees, credentialing committees, and was the Assessment Coordinator for the LHU PA program.

Contact me at michaeldepalma@atsu.edu or (480) 265-8065.

Sara Amini-Rad, MPH, CHES
Sara Amini-Rad, MPH, CHES
Program Manager
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Sara Amini-Rad graduated top of her class from A.T. Still University’s College of Graduate Health Studies with a Masters in Public Health. In addition she is certified as a Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

Ms. Amini-Rad has worked for A.T. Still University for six years, has ten years of traditional and social media marketing experience, and has 20+ years of experience in community service and community program planning and implementation. Medical education is a true passion and the field in which Ms. Amini-Rad enjoys working most; with an emphasis on ensuring that students understand the important roles Social Determinants of Health, Patient Advocacy, Health Literacy, Mental Health and, Person-Centered Whole-Person care play in the outcomes of their future patients.

Personal Teaching Philosophy: Doing the best I can to create a learning environment in which students can be successful.

Contact me at saraaminirad@atsu.edu or (623) 251-4714.

Karina Whetstine, MAEd
Karina Whetstine, MAEd
Instructional Designer
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*16 years of instructional design experience in higher education

*Seven years of adjunct faculty experience teaching online

*Five years of Instructional Design Project Manager experience on two Department of Labor multi-million-dollar grants (TAACCCT and First in the World) purposed to design programs of study to help learners gain industry-ready skills.

*Master of Arts in Education/Training and Learning Technologies with a focus on instructional design and program evaluation from the University of New Mexico

University Catalog

University Catalog Program guideReview the University Catalog to learn more about the program and university. Read detailed course descriptions and obtain answers to many of your questions regarding application and tuition.

Accreditation

A.T. Still University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

230 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500,
Chicago, IL 60604

Phone: 800.621.7440 | Fax: 312.263.7462
Email: info@hlcommission.org

hlcommission.org


Leadership and biomedical science faculty

ATSU's Arizona School of Health Sciences, Department of Physician Assistant Studies has a robust, time-proven curriculum for both residential and online programs with a strong faculty experienced in the online delivery of instruction. The department currently employs doctorly trained faculty who have received graduate degrees through online education, and have taught online courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level.
Michael G. DePalma, DMSc, MHS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Associate Professor and Director
Ann Lee Burch, PT, MPH, EdD
Dean, ATSU-ASHS
Craig Phelps, DO, FAOASM
President, ATSU
Clinton Normore, MBA
VP of Diversity & Inclusion

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I complete my ATSU-ASHS Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree while working full-time?

    • Yes, you can! The online format of ATSU-ASHS’s MSBMS program provides students with the flexibility to learn and complete coursework at their convenience. Although, be prepared to balance a rigorous and fast-paced curriculum with potential employment opportunities. Employment in healthcare-related fields can improve your PA school applications and demonstrating success in the MSBMS program can improve your chances of securing an interview and potential acceptance to a PA program.

  • Am I guaranteed a seat in the ATSU-ASHS PA program if I complete the ATSU-ASHS Master of Science
    in Biomedical Sciences program?

    • Students who complete the ATSU-ASHS MSBMS program with a GPA of 3.5 or higher and meet the prerequisite requirements of ATSU-ASHS’s PA program will be granted an interview with the program. While a seat is not guaranteed, students who obtain a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree will enhance their academic record, knowledge, writing skills, critical thinking, and demonstrate an ability to succeed in a rigorous curriculum—all of which are qualities that can improve chances of acceptance to a PA program.

  • How are students assessed?

    • Courses will consist of a combination of written assignments, discussion boards, and at home quizzes and examinations as methods of assessment. Group discussions and case-based scenarios, individual and group projects, and community service activities, as available, will also serve to develop and assess interactive experiences.

  • How does the ATSU-ASHS MSBMS program help students prepare for success in PA school?

    • The Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program curriculum is designed to offer students the opportunity to demonstrate success early in the program. This experience provides the opportunity to begin the CASPA application process while completing the degree and show academic progress. Many of the courses in the MSBMS program are taught by experienced PAs. The curriculum is designed to expand your knowledge of advanced sciences from the perspective of a future PA student.

  • Why should I complete a gap year bridge program?

    • A gap year, or taking a year off between undergraduate and graduate education, is a growing trend in medical education. There are several advantages to taking a gap year and many factors to consider if this program is right for you. The Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program is designed to help boost low GPAs with science-based master’s curriculum, allow for further research and understanding of the PA profession, and improve your chances of reaching your goals of becoming a PA. Completing the program results in a productive and results-driven gap year for motivated students.

  • What is the main focus of the ATSU-ASHS Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program?

    • The ASHS-MSBMS program is a customized program for prospective PA students. The current curriculum is taught mostly by PAs and is specifically designed for acceptance and success in PA education. We understand educational goals are unique and prerequisite requirements in healthcare education vary greatly by profession. Applicants should understand that the focus of the ASHS-MSBMS program is on PA education.