The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP) has welcomed the University of Maryland, Baltimore/Anne Arundel Community College (UMB/AACC) Physician Assistant (PA) Program to Pharmacy Hall as part of the program’s transition to the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB.)
The PA Program is a 27-year legacy program, first accredited with Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) in 1996 and graduating its first cohort in 1998. PA accreditation standards now require the sponsoring institution to award a master’s degree as the terminal degree of the profession. As a community college, AACC does not grant master’s degrees, so it partnered with the University of Maryland Graduate School to transition and ultimately shift the PA Program sponsorship to UMB.
The Graduate School assumed sponsorship of the program Jan. 1, 2020, while providing a “teach-out” of the last UMB/AACC dually enrolled PA students under a collaborative agreement. When this agreement ends June 30, 2022, the name of the program will change to the University of Maryland Graduate School Physician Assistant Program.
“In the fall of 2021, the PA Program began its transition to UMB and reached out to the School of Pharmacy leadership with space needs,” said UMSOP Dean Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP. “In Pharmacy Hall, the program is making use of classrooms, study and lounge space, lockers, and our Objective Structured Clinical Examination Suite. In addition, we will be sharing a director of simulation position, which will provide interprofessional education opportunities between PA and pharmacy students.”
The PA Program needed space to house its rigorous two-year professional program that would provide ample room for its current annual cohort size of 40, with room to grow to 60 students.
“We spent close to three years cultivating an interested partner who shared our vision for the physical space,” said Cherilyn Hendrix, DHEd, MSBME, PA-C, DFAAPA, assistant dean for physician assistant education, associate professor, and program director for the UMB/AACC Physician Assistant Program.
“The PA Program and Graduate School are immensely grateful for such a generous offering in Pharmacy Hall, one of the most beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities on campus,” Hendrix said. “The School of Pharmacy leadership, faculty, and staff have been so warm and inviting and have moved mountains to make this plan a reality.”
The PA Program is a 25-month, 116-credit master’s degree program. Students are eligible to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam upon completion of all required coursework. The program supports students in becoming competent, ethical, and compassionate health care providers who are ready to fulfill the roles and duties of primary care physician assistants.