PAEA 50th Anniversary: Fast Facts About the University of Arizona PA Program

Courtesy of Kevin Lohenry, PhD, PA-C, Clinical Professor & Assistant Vice-President,
Interprofessional Education; Director

Program name & location: University of Arizona PA Program, Tucson, Arizona

Program mission, vision & values: The University of Arizona Physician Assistant Program will prepare graduates to provide care for the medically underserved of southern Arizona with an emphasis on primary care, mental health, and indigenous and rural health communities.

Key milestones in your program’s history: The Arizona Board of Regents approved the inception of the program in March of 2022

How has your program contributed to creating a more diverse, just, and equitable profession? The program’s focus on serving indigenous and rural communities of southern Arizona will provide a more diverse and inclusive workforce for the State of Arizona and their 22 federally recognized tribes.

How have your faculty or students advocated for the PA profession? Our director has advocated for the PA profession through the PA Path Podcast. The podcast, supported by the University of Arizona, seeks to level the playing field for all pre-PA applicants while amplifying the great work of PA students, faculty, staff, and graduates across the world.

How do you envision the next 50 years of your program? We are excited to develop this new program in southern Arizona with an emphasis on building collaborative partnerships with the indigenous and rural communities. Fifty years from now, we hope to have built a strong path from those communities to the PA profession while contributing to removing health disparities.

Have current or former students, faculty, or staff volunteered with PAEA? The program director is a past president for PAEA and was chair for the Leadership Mission Advancement Commission.

How has your program impacted the PA profession at large? The podcast continues to shine a light on programs and PAs throughout the world.

Are you a developing program? If so, tell us about your plans: We are a developing program. We are in the process of receiving state and institutional approval before submitting our application to the ARC-PA. We hope to become a strong partner with our southern Arizona communities focusing on indigenous and rural health challenges for medically underserved communities.