Physician Assistant pathway: HU, Mercy College ink partnership

Nearly a quarter of the students entering Heidelberg this fall expressed interest in a health profession. While the university offers a series of 10 pre-professional health programs, a new partnership with Mercy College of Ohio (MCOH) will allow the most serious students to take their career aspirations to the next level.
Heidelberg and MCOH recently entered a partnership that paves the way for ’Berg students to pursue their Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree at Mercy. Physician assistants examine, diagnose and treat patients under the supervision of a physician. They typically work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics and other healthcare settings.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our students who want to be able to work directly with patients but who may not want to do a full run to medical school,” said Dr. Courtney DeMayo Pugno, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Executive Director of the Owen Center for Teaching and Learning. “It’s an opportunity for them to have an impact by helping people lead better lives.

Eligibility requirements

Entry into Physician Assistant Programs can be highly competitive, with students often wait-listed, deferred or outright turned down. Through the new partnership, MCOH will guarantee direct entry into its PA program for qualifying HU students.
“This agreement streamlines the process for our students,” said Dr. Ryan Musgrave, Assistant Professor of Athletic Training. “It’s a defined pathway for our students. If they hit the marks with prerequisites and GPA, and meet Mercy College’s admission requirements, they have goalposts set for them. They know what their targets are and they know what they have to do to meet them.”
Heidelberg students who meet MCOH’s PA Program prerequisites – a series of courses in math, psychology, health science, biology, chemistry and biochemistry – can be guaranteed an admissions interview with MCOH’s PA Program. According to the agreement, students will have to have earned a 3.5 overall GPA at Heidelberg and a 3.5 GPA in the prerequisite courses.
MCOH will guarantee three seats as direct entry into its PA program for qualifying HU students in each cohort.
Ryan added that students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry or Health Science could transition easily into the PA program.

More about Mercy College’s PA Program

MCOH, located in Toledo, launched its PA Program with a cohort of 20 students in May 2021. The 118-credit-hour program provides a graduate-level learning experience that produces PA graduates “who can provide competent, patient-centered medical care for diverse populations in a variety of clinical settings while also embracing service, scholarship and leadership,” according to the college’s website.
The seven-semester curriculum is divided into four didactic and three clinical semesters. Students will have seven required supervised clinical practical experiences along with electives.

PA job outlook

The future looks extremely bright for the PA profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to grow by 27% by 2032. In 2022, the median pay for physician assistants was $126,010.

Additional info

The current admission requirements for Mercy College’s PA Program and additional information is available here.

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