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PA program earns grant to help veterans get jobs as physician assistants

Story Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2012 09:30:00 CDT

The EVMS Physician Assistant Program has received an $823,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to help veterans of the US military get jobs as physician assistants.

Funded under the Physician Assistant Training in Primary Care Program, the 5-year grant aims to increase the number of physician assistant graduates who become primary care clinicians and teachers. EVMS was one of only 12 programs nationally to be awarded the grant. Funding priority was given to grantees with strong recruitment, retention, and education programs for veteran applicants and students, including academic recognition of medical training and experience gained during military service.

"This is an effort by the government to get veterans into sustainable careers, and in doing this to focus on the need of increasing access into the primary care fields of medicine," Daniel Thibodeau MHP, PA-C, Associate Professor, says. "The EVMS PA program will use the grant to entice veteran students to go into primary care by offering financial assistance. Plus it will enable us to create standardized patient cases in primary care for distribution to PA programs across the country."

The EVMS PA Class of 2014 currently includes 11 veterans.

"The HRSA grant to our outstanding Physician Assistant program both recognizes our work so far and provides important funding for us to help veterans become physician assistants to strengthen the primary care services available throughout the region," says C. Donald Combs, PhD, Vice President and Dean of the School of Health Professions. "This really is a gold star recognition of our PA program, of the value and experience that can be offered by veterans to the local health care system and of EVMS' commitment to serving its communities."