2016-17 General Bulletin

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Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Cynthia Booth Lord, MHS, PA-C
PA Program Director

David Shafran, MD, MA
Director of Admissions

PAProgram@case.edu or 216.368.0575
https://case.edu/medicine/physician-assistant/

CWRU PA Program Curriculum Overview

The Case Western Reserve University PA program is a 102 credit-hour professional degree program that spans the course of 27 months.  The program is a generalist program preparing learners to be leaders in PA practice in a variety of clinical settings.  This intensive full-time graduate curriculum awards a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (M.Sc. in Physician Assistant Studies) from the School of Medicine upon completion.  The curriculum, which must be successfully completed in order to meet program requirements for graduation, enables graduates to sit for the PA National Certifying Examination (administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants) and obtain a state license. 

The educational philosophy of the PA program emphasizes the practice of evidence-based, patient-centered medical care as well as accountability to patients, society and the profession through experiential learning and active community involvement.  The first 15 months of the program are didactic in nature, divided into four semesters.  This is followed by 12 months of clinical instruction comprised of twelve, four-week clinical rotations.  Early clinical exposure is accomplished through pre-clinical clerkships in the first year.  The PA program begins each year in May and ends in August.  Students are recruited from the CASPA system. 

The program design utilizes a hybrid blend of learning methodologies and styles including:

  • Asynchronous learning
  • Clinical simulations
  • Case-based learning and clinical correlations
  • Experiential learning in the community-the community is the “learning lab” of the PA program.  Wellness, prevention, professionalism, communication skills and philanthropy are best taught directly in the community with patients in their own environment.
  • Early clinical exposure/Pre-clinical clerkships-by the beginning of November of their first year, PA students are placed in clinical sites in the community for one half day a week to practice their clinical skills and begin to acculturate to the clinical environment and learn how to function on a team.  The focus of this experience is to hone the students’ clinical skills in history, physical exam, oral presentation, medical documentation, communication skills and professionalism.  It also serves as an early critical-thinking activity.
  • Medical writing across the curriculum (MWAC) is introduced in the didactic phase through student reflections and progress in the clinical phase to scientific poster, hot topic and oral case presentations.

Organization and sequencing of coursework is both horizontally and vertically integrated facilitating a connected flow of systems and conditions, creating a curricular thread intended to enhance the development of critical thinking and problem solving.  Planned redundancies help build a strong pre-clinical knowledge base.  Through demonstrations, case discussions and simulation activities, students learn critical thinking and how to synthesize information to formulate and implement a patient management plan.  Simulation activities allow the students to participate in scenarios that closely approximate real life patient encounters and, through a team based approach (small group), create their care plans.  Hands on activities enhance the student’s ability to develop their critical thinking and technical skills.  Experiential learning through community engagement introduces students to some of the concepts of team-based care and population health.

Courses

PAST 401. Foundations of Clinical Medicine-Principles of Interviewing. 3 Units.

The general purpose of this course is to teach the physician assistant student the skills necessary to conduct a clinical/medical interview with a patient and to be able to present the information to other health care professionals in both an oral and written form. This course, which is designed as small, group seminars, will focus on the skills necessary to question patients in a directed fashion and to listen to the patient with concern and empathy. Instruction will emphasize what data is needed in a complete medical history as well as the focused interview, the proper technique for gathering information, and the format for presentation of the data. Instructional techniques will include role-playing, small group discussion, and observation and critique by instructors, other students and simulated patient models. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 402. Physical Diagnosis. 4 Units.

This lecture/discussion/laboratory course presents and explores the techniques for performing a complete and competent physical examination, understanding the pathophysiology presented by the patient, and organizing and reporting the findings in both written and oral format. Synthesis of historical and physical presentations for an accurate evaluation of the patient will be emphasized. The problem-oriented physical examination and special examination tools and techniques will be presented. Instructional techniques will include small group discussion, practical experience with other students and faculty, and the observation and critique of physical examination skills by faculty. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 403. Diagnostic Methods-Clinical Lab. 1 Unit.

This course is designed to introduce the student to clinical laboratory medicine. Lectures are designed to review the various types of laboratory tests, acquisition and handling of specimens, normal values as well as interpretation of results and correlation with clinical conditions. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 404. Clinical Correlations. 1 Unit.

This seminar course places emphasis on internal organs with clinical correlation to anatomic conditions. Content will include basis concepts of genetics, embryology, the comparison of normal and abnormal structural relationships and the demonstration of how these things relate to health and disease. Students will review on-line genetics learning modules and meet in small seminar groups to review anatomical clinical correlates. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 405. Medical Microbiology & Infectious Disease. 2 Units.

This course is the study of microorganisms and the diseases they cause in man. It includes consideration of infectious disease microorganisms including their biochemical, serological and virulence characteristics, and clinical manifestations. An organ system approach is used to examine the fundamentals of pathogenicity, host response, epidemiological aspects of infectious disease, as well as clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment of infections with clinical correlations. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 406. Ethics in Healthcare Delivery. 1 Unit.

This course is an overview of the discipline of medical ethics presenting the study and application of relevant principles, insights, and understandings of modern medical practice. The course includes a brief overview of ethical theories which lay the foundation for subsequent investigation into specific ethical problems found in medical science and technology. The purpose of the course is to provide a framework which enables the student to reason clearly and effectively about the ethics involved in medical science and technology. The course assumes no prior knowledge of philosophical ethics or medical science. A framework of ethical decision making is introduced and practiced using realistic medical cases via a Medical Ethics Committee. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 407. Clinical Procedures. 4 Units.

The purpose is to prepare these future clinicians for clinical management of health and disease by preparing them for basic clinical procedures. These will include basic surgical skills, basic laboratory skills, common emergency procedures, and demonstration and interpretation of ECG, pulmonary function testing, common radiologic tests, and basic microscopy. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 411. Professional Issues for PA's-History & Roles of the PA I. 1 Unit.

This one semester course explores through lecture and discussion the factors affecting the development of the profession and role socialization with emphasis on history, regulations and organizations governing PA practice. An overview of clinical responsibilities, team based practice, population health and the PAs role, licensing and credentialing practices will be presented and discussed. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 412. Professional Issues for Physician Assistants II. 2 Units.

In this two course series students will explore the status of the PA in the U.S. healthcare system and current issues in clinical practice including practice-based improvement and systems-based practice. Through lecture and discussion, this series prepares the student for the transition from classroom to clinical training and clinical practice. Emphasis is given to the responsibilities that come with being a professional, professionalism and practicing in a high quality manner. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 413. Professional Issues for Physician Assistants III. 2 Units.

In this two course series students will explore the status of the PA in the U.S. healthcare system and current issues in clinical practice including practice-based improvement and systems-based practice. Through lecture and discussion, this series prepares the student for the transition from classroom to clinical training and clinical practice. Emphasis is given to the responsibilities that come with being a professional, professionalism and practicing in a high quality manner. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 420. Pharmacology I. 2 Units.

In this two course series, (PAST 421 Pharmacology II) students will be provided with a basic introduction to the principles of pharmacology and to drug classes of particular relevance to the physician assistant. Information concerning drug doses and calculations used in determining doses will be included in this course and PAST 421 Pharmacology. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 421. Pharmacology II. 3 Units.

In this two course series (PAST 420 Pharmacology), physician assistant students will be provided with foundational knowledge of the therapeutic uses and effects of drugs. The indications, contraindications and adverse effects of prototypical drugs are covered. Drug dependence and addiction are also discussed. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 430. Principles of Internal Medicine. 7 Units.

This one semester lecture/discussion course provides students with a detailed study of the etiology, pathophysiology, signs, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of various disorders encountered in internal medicine. A broad array of diseases in cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, gerontology, hepatology, hematology, oncology, ophthalmology, nephrology, neurology, pulmonology and rheumatology are explored. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 431. Principles of Clinical Medicine-Surgery & Emergency Medicine. 4 Units.

This one semester lecture course presents the fundamentals of surgical disease and care of the acutely injured and ill patients. The purpose is to familiarize the student with the etiology, anatomy, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations and appropriate diagnosis and treatment of selected surgical conditions and conditions encountered in the surgical subspecialty and emergency medical settings. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 432. Principles of Clinical Medicine-OB/GYN. 3 Units.

This lecture/case presentation course gives the student an overview of commonly encountered obstetric and gynecologic disorders. Anatomy and physiology of the human reproduction system are examined, including the changes in pregnancy, prenatal care, medical and surgical complications of pregnancy, pre- and postpartum care. Common gynecologic conditions, methods and effectiveness of contraception, cancer detection methods and the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections in the female are explored. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 433. Principles of Clinical Medicine-Pediatrics. 3 Units.

This course introduces the student to a unique, complex and challenging field of pediatrics. It emphasizes aspects of general pediatrics and provides a foundation for those students who elect to further study the health care of infants, children and adolescents. This course addresses issues unique to childhood and adolescence by focusing on human developmental biology, and by emphasizing the impact of family, community, and society on child health and well-being. Additionally, it focuses on the impact of disease and its treatment on the developing human, and emphasizes growth and development, principles of health supervision, and recognition of common health problems. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 434. Principles of Clinical Medicine-Behavioral Medicine. 2 Units.

This one semester course gives students an overview of some of the most important areas in behavioral psychiatry. This course is an overview of basic psychiatric concepts and focuses on assessing patients who manifest psychological symptoms. Topics include diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, common child and adolescent disorders, somatoform and factitious disorders, psychotic disorders, sleep disorders, adjustment and personality disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse and addresses forensic issues in behavioral health. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 440. Pre-Clinical Clerkships I. 1 Unit.

This course/clerkship provides the student with clinical experience at clinical sites in the didactic year utilizing what was learned in Foundations of Clinical Medicine (Interviewing and Physical Diagnosis class/lab). During the pre-clinical time at program designated sites students will continue to develop and apply their history and physical exam skills, interpersonal skills, oral presentation and medical documentation skills. This course/clerkship will help to better prepare students to gain experience and develop confidence in approaching patients prior to entering the clinical year. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 441. Pre-Clinical Clerkships II. 1 Unit.

This course/clerkship provides the student with clinical experience at clinical sites in the didactic year utilizing what was learned in Foundations of Clinical Medicine (Interviewing and Physical Diagnosis class/lab). During the pre-clinical time at program designated sites students will continue to develop and apply their history and physical exam skills, interpersonal skills, oral presentation and medical documentation skills. This course/clerkship will help to better prepare students to gain experience and develop confidence in approaching patients prior to entering the clinical year. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 450. Culture and Health. 2 Units.

This lecture/discussion course provides students with a detailed understanding of the societal and individual prejudices, preconceptions, and biases that enter into the clinical interaction and how to develop appropriate responses and coping strategies. This course provides the student with common psychosocial problems encountered by health professionals today. Students explore issues related to sexuality, cultural competency, multicultural health, cross-cultural communication, and healthcare disparities. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 451. Introduction to Public Health. 1 Unit.

This course will introduce students to concepts of public health and provide experience in public health by completion of a mentored project with a local health department. The course will enhance the student's knowledge of the history and philosophy of public health, the Healthy People 2020 initiatives and the social determinants of health and how they can be impacted. Teaching methodologies will include online modules from the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research and discussion along with the mentored public health project. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 452. Introduction to Epidemiology, Biostats & Evidence-Based Medicine. 2 Units.

This course is intended to provide learners with a basic understanding of the principles of epidemiology, biostatistics and evidence-based medicine. The course involves analysis of prospective and retrospective studies, cross-sectional studies and experimental epidemiology. It will focus on epidemiological scenarios that relate to both infectious disease and chronic disease. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 453. Medical Spanish Elective. 1 Unit.

This course will teach students the basics of Spanish as it applies to the medical field such as physical examinations, emergencies, common diseases within the Latino population, and specializations. By familiarizing students with conversational Spanish and medical Spanish, this course will enable students to apply their learning to real-world situations, to assist in communications, and ultimately to break down the barrier between doctors and patients. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 454. Research Methods Elective. 1 Unit.

This lecture course introduces students to research design and scientific inquiry and provides them with the skills necessary for interpretation and critical evaluation of the medical literature. It includes a brief review of important statistical principles and methods and their application to problems in medicine and health. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.

PAST 477. Human Physiology. 4 Units.

This lecture/seminar experience is meant to enhance the students fundamental knowledge in human physiology with an emphasis on physiologic concepts in relationship to health, disease and illnesses. The course will provide students with an understanding of the function, regulation and integration of the major organ systems. Offered as PAST 477 and PHOL 477. Prereq: Students must be in Physician Assistant Program.