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Reliance Medical Group, Philadelphia University, The Richard Stockton College of NJ and City of Atlantic City Announce Plans for Physician Assistant Studies Master’s Program
Jul 08, 2014 | 261 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTIC CITY — Three years, two state departments of education and health, and four partners later, what was once just a vision for Reliance Medical Group President/CEO Dr. Jon Regis and Executive Vice President/COO Vince Papaccio officially became a reality yesterday. In a press conference held in Atlantic City Mayor Donald A. Guardian’s conference room, Reliance, Philadelphia University and The Richard Stockton College of NJ came together to announce an Atlantic City-based Physicians Assistant Studies Master’s Program.



The program, a 3+2 course structure that will see students attend Stockton the first three years and then transfer to Philadelphia University’s Atlantic City-based campus for their final two years, will welcome its first class in July of 2015. At its height, the Physician Assistant Studies Master’s Program will accommodate 80 students (roughly half from Stockton), who will do medical/clinical classroom work in year four and 10 rotations a Reliance Medical Offices, local hospitals and specialty practices on the way to receiving their M.A. From there, graduates can take their national boards and seek employment. Philadelphia University presently has a 100% post graduation employment rate in its current Physicians Assistant Studies Master’s Program.



“Reliance serves more than 30,000 patients throughout Atlantic City and Atlantic County and like other major medical practices we’ve come to understand the important role Physicians Assistants serve in providing primary healthcare to our population,” said Dr. Regis. “We already employ five Physicians Assistants and realize will we need many more if we are to continue our that quality healthcare is a right and not a privilege.”



While the partners and city have yet to finalize a location for the new program, Dr. Regis – himself an Atlantic City resident – yesterday promised that it would be housed within Atlantic City’s limits. In fact, plans call for a two-story facility that would house labs and classrooms on the second level and a Reliance primary care office on the first level.



We are extremely excited that Reliance, Philadelphia University and Stockton have decided to house their program in Atlantic City,” said Mayor Guardian. “While we all realize how good the casinos have been for Atlantic City, we have come to learn that we will need to diversify in the future if our revitalization plans are to be successful. Attracting higher education institutions, which will in turn provide educational opportunities for our citizens and youth, will help lift Atlantic City up and aid in our achieving our long term goals.”



Everyone who visits any type of family medical practice knows the important role Physician Assistants (PAs) have come to play in the world of modern-day health care. Physician Assistants provide high-quality medical care to patients. They practice and can prescribe medications in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The profession is starting to expand abroad. Many countries, including Canada, India, and the

Netherlands, have already started to incorporate PAs into the healthcare system. Great Britain and Australia are in the process of piloting PA programs.



In the United States, PAs practice in a wide range of medical settings including: hospitals, physician offices, urgent care centers, military and Veterans Administration installations, nursing homes, industrial health and correctional institutions. PAs always work in conjunction with a physician and have a wide array of responsibilities including: medical history taking; performing physical examinations; ordering or performing lab and other diagnostic tests; synthesizing data to make a proper diagnosis; developing a

treatment plan; performing health-related counseling; performing various procedures such as casting and suturing; and assisting in surgery.



Philadelphia University’s nationally recognized M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies Program has been ranked 18th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The new program site in Atlantic City will follow exactly the same curriculum as the one on Philadelphia University’s main campus.



In addition to the five-year accelerated option, students who have earned undergraduate degrees from other programs and other colleges and universities can apply directly to PhilaU’s two-year master’s PA program in Atlantic City.



“There is a big need for health care providers in New Jersey.” said Dr. Matt Baker, DHSC, PA-C, executive dean of Philadelphia University’s College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts and a physician assistant who previously was director of the University’s PA program and is a Stockton graduate. “Each year we receive 2,500 applications for some 50 spots, 20 percent of which come from New Jersey. Being able to provide Philadelphia University’s highly regarded Physician Assistant Studies program in Atlantic County, which has no current program, with superb partners who understand both the educational and medical needs of the region is a wonderful opportunity for all involved.”



The Richard Stockton College, ranked in the top tier of Best Regional Colleges and Universities of the North and “Up and Coming” by “U.S. News & World Report,” will also play an important role in the success of the endeavor. Stockton brings its reputation for educational excellence, its South Jersey location and local and regional civic connections to bear.



“The Richard Stockton College is a premier institution of higher education and, as such, we have a vested interest in bringing a program of this magnitude and popularity to the region,” said Dr. Kesselman. “Our administration, faculty, facilities and student body will play a vital role in helping build and successfully operate this program.”



“As a city, we are proud that this dynamic group of medical professional and educators have chosen to locate their program in Atlantic City,” said Mayor Guardian. “With the growing popularity of PA educational programs and Reliance, Philadelphia University and Richard Stockton College working together, I know this will be a great success and a major addition to Atlantic City.”
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