VA, UF to collaborate on new physician assistant pilot program

The Department of Veterans Affairs has approved a new Physician Assistant Residency Pilot Program in Primary Care at the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System. It is one of six in the country.

The program, which is a collaboration between the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System and the University Of Florida College of Medicine School of Physician Assistant Studies, was approved in November and is expected to begin July 1, 2012.

“We are pleased to continue the tradition of the VA collaborating with the University of Florida on the education of health care trainees,” said Bradley Bender, M.D., North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System chief of staff. “As health care becomes more complex, we will see even more of these programs. The Physician Assistant Residency Program joins other joint postgraduate training programs that we offer in numerous medical and surgical specialties: pharmacy, dentistry, clinical psychology and nursing.”

The program will create two residency positions, both of which will be funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It will advance the mission of the College of Medicine to provide better patient-centered medical care,” said Ralph Rice, D.H.Sc, P.A.-C, director of the School of Physician Assistant Studies.

The program will be developed during the current academic year. The details of the curriculum, educational program and evaluation plan will be finished by the start of the training program.

“This P.A. residency program will fill an important and currently missing educational need in the training of physician assistants. The UF School of Physician Assistant Studies in the College of Medicine thanks the VA for this unique opportunity,” said Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the UF College of Medicine.