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Physician Assistant Studies Department

Physician Assistant Studies Department

Physician assistants provide a variety of services including taking medical histories and performing physical examinations, ordering and interpreting lab tests, prescribing medications, assisting in surgery and counseling patients. Because of their close working relationship with physicians, physician assistants are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training. Upon graduation, physician assistants take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

The Department of Physician Assistant Studies at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) in Mesa, Ariz. prepares highly competent professionals in the art and science of medicine steeped in the osteopathic tradition of body-mind-spirit care for the whole person and service to underserved populations.

ATSU-ASHS offers three PA-specific degree programs, the entry-level Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program, which is on campus in Mesa, Ariz., the online Doctor of Medical Science program, and the online Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program. In addition, online post-professional certificates for PAs are available in both leadership and education.

From their first day, ATSU PA students are immersed in engaged scholarship threading the philosophy of whole person healthcare and serving the underserved through classes and activities. Award winning faculty, adjuncts, and instructors provide leadership, guidance, and supervision to PA students in all phases of their education with the time honored medical education traditions of mentored Experience, Example, and Excellence. Every PA student receives certification as a trainer and conducts the national award winning, evidence-based, falls prevention program, Still Standing: A Matter of Balance™, which is delivered in teams in a variety of community based settings throughout the Greater Phoenix area.

ATSU-ASHS’ physician assistant programs are always looking for new, highly qualified, high-quality training sites. If you know of a facility interested in providing rotation or internship positions for physician assistants, please contact the Director of Clinical Education, Kim DeVore, at 480.219.6142.


Residential degree programs

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program

The entry-level physician assistant master’s program in Mesa, Arizona is a 26-month course of study preparing students to serve their community as primary care providers. Faculty and staff work closely with students, helping them develop professional attributes and clinical problem-solving skills necessary for efficient and optimal patient care. During the clinical component of the program, students attend clinical rotations in several disciplines of medicine. See accreditation.

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Online degree programs

Doctor of Medical Science program

Doctor of Medical Science program

This leading post-professional PA-specific doctorate degree provides an in-depth understanding of the elements needed to address the challenges in the U.S. healthcare system today. ATSU’s DMS is an online, 36-credit hour course of study that leads to a doctoral degree upon successful completion. The program is designed for PAs who are currently, or have previously been, certified or licensed to practice as a PA. See accreditation.

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Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

The Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program provides an online learning opportunity for individuals aspiring to pursue enrollment in physician assistant school. The 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.

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Online certificate programs

Physician Assistant Post-Professional Certificate in Leadership

Physician Assistant Post-Professional Certificate in Leadership

This graduate certificate in leadership provides PAs with foundational leadership knowledge that focuses on healthcare administration, economics, and healthcare policies. Curriculum includes exploring the evolving role of PAs in healthcare, organizational improvement in healthcare settings, discussion on medical and ethical challenges faced in healthcare, human-subjects research, privacy rights, and more. See accreditation.

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Physician Assistant Post-Professional Certificate in Education

Physician Assistant Post-Professional Certificate in Education

This graduate certificate in education is designed for PAs who are currently teaching and want to advance their skills, as well as for PAs who are interested in developing teaching skills for clinical and academic environments. Curriculum includes adult learning theory, how to develop and design curriculum, cutting edge advances in educational technology, and understand educational assessments and evaluations. See accreditation.

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Physician assistant students and alumni

Tenneh Massaquoi | ASHS Student Testimonial

Jim Ali | ASHS Student Testimonial

Franchesca Giovannini Alexander | ASHS Student Testimonial

Kimberly Sapre | ASHS Student Testimonial

Physician assistant leadership

Dr. Randy Danielsen | Program Director

Albert Simon | Associate Director

Mary Laxon | Adjunct Assistant Professor, DMSc

Ann Lee Burch | Dean

Dr. Craig Phelps | President

Clinton Normore | VP of Diversity & Inclusion

Michael G. DePalma | Program Director

PAs in action

Curricula are meticulously constructed to address real-world conditions with the most current approaches available. Students grow into their profession in a learner-centered environment through face-to-face instruction, didactic clinical experiences, year-long clinical procedure laboratory, year-long history and physical exam laboratory, and regular Standardized Patient Exams (SPE) and Skills Performance Assessment Testing (SPAT) using standardized patient actors, all before their year of supervised clinical experiences in working clinics and hospitals. Other notable didactic training includes the inter-professional activities: Poverty Simulation and Stop the Bleed, a disaster simulation. Through a historic partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers (CHCs), ATSU-ASHS is training whole-person, community centered practitioners through clinical rotation experiences at a CHC.

ATSU students in the residential Master of Science In Physician Assistant Studies program are offered the opportunity to dually enroll during the clinical year in the Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) program at a reduced tuition.

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PA Whole Person Moments

PAs do it all. Browse stories from seasoned PAs and become inspired with examples of how advanced providers with a doctorate implement practical solutions to improve the delivery of interprofessional and holistic, whole person-centered care. Learn from PAs who are advancing the profession through improving clinical healthcare, PA education, and industry leadership. Find out why physician assistants love ATSU's DMSc program for their post-professional education. Browse PA Whole Person Moments.

Looking to inspire the next generation of students? Share your story.

Physician assistant outreach showcase

Because at ATSU social determinants are as central as physiology to each patient’s care, PA students are immersed in service-learning as an indispensable part of their whole person healthcare education. The Didactic Clinical Experience (DCE) program is unique among U.S. physician assistant programs and reinforces whole person care and ATSU’s body, mind, spirit philosophy through hands-on clinical mentorship in the first year.

Clinically engaged faculty guide participation in unique office-based and community-based clinical settings including medical examiner offices, primary care practices, surgeries, community clinics for the underinsured, medical triage for the nationally acclaimed Mission of Mercy dental event, the first ever medical university-delivered Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® program, school physical exams at a title I elementary school, Corbin's Legacy, and other community wellness clinics.

The event medical services team provides supervised emergency care for events like the USA Karate Olympic Qualifier and Special Olympics’ regional and state games.

Through our partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Hometown Scholars program, our aim is to train exceptional, competent and caring physician assistants and return them to work, live, and serve their community, shifting the distribution of providers to better reflect the needs of communities.

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PAHx associate seal

ATSU-ASHS is proud to be an associate of the PA History Society and support PAHx as a Historian. Together, we share the history of the development of the PA profession to inspire the next generation of PAs and the advancement of the profession through education.





Student accomplishments

PAs earning their DMSc from ATSU are scholar-practitioners advancing the profession through accomplishments, publications, presentations, research, and more!

Browse DMSc student and alumni accomplishments.

Physician assistant continuing education


Explore the following courses that keep you compliant and connected.

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A.T. Still University’s Continuing Education department provides support for the University’s schools, graduates and the professional community to fulfill their potential throughout their careers and ultimately impact patient care and well-being. The Continuing Education department serves to improve professional knowledge and skills; fosters a positive impact on patient outcomes; exposes clinicians to new information; and develops an interdisciplinary, healthcare team approach to treating patients and improving community/population health through the development and implementation of cost-effective, evidence-based education programs.

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