PAEA 50th Anniversary: Fast Facts About the South University Richmond PA Program

PAEA 50th Anniversary: Fast Facts About the South University Richmond PA Program

Courtesy of Shannon Schellenberg, MPA, PA-C, Program Director, South University Richmond PA Program

Program Name & Location: South University Richmond PA Program, Glen Allen, VA

Program Mission, Vision & Values: Awarding a Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) degree, the South University Richmond Physician Assistant program exists to educate a diverse student population as providers of high-quality, cost-efficient health care who will make a positive impact while practicing the art and science of medicine with physician collaboration.

Our program strives to provide educational experiences where faculty, staff, clinical instructors, students, and other health care providers work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect, cooperation, and commitment. The program’s primary focus is the development of physician assistants capable of expanding into clinical leadership roles by demonstrating proficiency in critical thinking and creative problem solving, as well as utilizing evidence-based skills gained through innovative approaches.

What year did your program welcome its first class of students? 2017

What are the key milestones in your program’s history? We welcomed our first cohort into the program in January 2017. Our first class of students graduated in March 2019. We recently matriculated our 6th cohort in January 2022 and our 4th cohort of students graduated in March 2022.

We successfully completed the provisional phase of accreditation with our final provisional site visit in November 2020 resulting in 0 citations. In Spring 2021, ARC-PA granted our program continued accreditation.

How many students have graduated from your program to date? 137

How has your program grown from the first class to today? Our program continues to grow and improve in all areas, including curriculum design, teaching methods, the admissions process, and more. It is wonderful that we now have alumni (Class of 2019 graduates) who are engaging with the program as clinicians!

How has your program contributed to creating a more diverse, just, and equitable profession? We have a D&I committee on South University Richmond campus, as well as a multi-campus, multi-program committee that strives to contribute to creating a more diverse, just, and equitable profession.

How do you envision the next 50 years of your program? I envision that we will continue to help shape the future of the PA profession through the education of our students!