Advice and Insights from a Developing Program
Anyone who has worked at a developing PA program can attest to the challenges that come with establishing a new program. In my experience, a strong partnership between PA program faculty and staff and university administrators has been instrumental to our success.
This relationship is especially helpful in the accreditation process, when it is essential to help staff understand the unique requirements of PA program accreditation. Experience working for numerous academic medical centers has taught me that although there are some similarities to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accreditation process, there are also some very big differences to how the PA accreditation process is structured. Understanding the differences in requirements, and therefore explaining the rationale behind your asks, is vital to securing the necessary support from your institution.
I encourage faculty and staff at developing programs to leverage PAEA resources throughout your journey to accreditation. For example, PAEA’s research surveys and reports offer data and insights to bolster your requests from administrators. At my program, we compared data collected internally to data from PAEA Student Reports and Faculty & Program Director Reports to give context to our decisions (for example, planning for the number of program faculty and staff that we would need to recruit) and ensure we are setting ourselves up for success.
Using data to help our institution’s administration understand the ‘why’ behind certain processes in developing our PA program has been priceless. The data helped everyone involved in developing our program come to a shared understanding of the process despite differing levels of experience with PA education. Once we were aligned, it made how we engaged with our institution’s administration easier.