Curriculum

The MSPAS Program curriculum is 28 months divided into three phases over seven consecutive semesters.

Phase I — Didactic (15  months) on campus
Phase II — Clinical (~12 months / 48 weeks) at sites throughout CA and surrounding states
Phase III –– Summative Session  (~1 month)

Academic Catalog 2018- 2019

Please note:  Students are strongly encouraged not to work while enrolled in the program.  Any student who chooses to work is required to attend all program-related activities and will not be granted an excused absence for work obligations.

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 Phase I — Didactic (15 months)

The didactic curriculum is organized into blocks to allow for a comprehensive and integrated approach to learning medicine by organ system. Each clinical medicine system block contains anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, clinical skills, laboratory studies, study of disease states, pharmacology, behavioral medicine, preventive medicine, and evidence based healthcare. The classes are a combination of traditional lectures, web-based learning modules and active learning through cases, clinical skills development, role playing, simulation, and team-based problem solving. All students must earn a 75 percent or higher to pass each system block. There is a comprehensive assessment every 2 to 3 weeks. Students take an individual exam for each system. If a student does not pass the first individual assessment, there is one opportunity to further learn the medical information and retest. Every student graduating from the program will have met the minimum competency of 3.0 GPA following the completion of each semester, module, and/or rotation in order to progress in the program.­

Fall Semester (16 weeks)

  • Current Topics in the PA Profession  
  • Clinical Assessment Lecture/Lab 
  • Foundations of Clinical Medicine 
  • Medical Ethics and Professionalism 
  • Introduction to Pharmacology and Infectious Disease Principles 
  • Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine and Health Policy

Spring Semester (16 weeks)

  • CM Dermatology/Eyes/ENT 
  • CM Pulmonology
  • CM Cardiology/ECG
  • CM Gastroenterology 
  • CM Neurology 
  • CM Hematology/Oncology 
  • Behavioral/Psychiatric Medicine 
  • CM Whole Patient Integration I – Continuity Clinic 4 hours/week 

Summer Semester (12 weeks)

  • CM Endocrinology 
  • CM Urology/Nephrology 
  • CM Musculoskeletal 
  • CM Women's Health / Men's Health 
  • CM Pediatric Medicine 
  • CM Whole Patient Integration II - Continuity Clinic 4 hours/week 

Fall Semester (16 weeks)

  • CM Geriatrics 
  • CM Emergency Medicine Lecture/Lab 
  • CM Surgery, Hospital Care Lecture/Lab 
  • Professional Practice Seminar/Interprofessional Competency in Practice 
  • CM Current Topics in Infectious Diseases 
  • CM Whole Patient Integration III - Continuity Clinic 4 hours/week 

Phase II - Clinical

  • Rotation #1 – 5-week Rotation* 

 Call Back Week #1 


Winter Break


Phase II — Clinical con't. (43 weeks)

  • Rotation #2 | 5-week Rotation* 
  • Rotation #3 | 5-week Rotation* 
  • Rotation #4 | 5-week Rotation* 

Call Back Week #2 

  • Rotation #5 | 5-week Rotation* 
  • Rotation #6 | 5-week Rotation* 

Call Back Week # 3 

  • Rotation #7 | 5-week Rotation* 
  • Rotation #8 | 5-week Rotation* 
  • Rotation #9 | 5-week Rotation* 

*Required clinical rotation for all students  

Over the ~11 months the student will participate in the following 9 clinical rotations, 5 weeks in length. These courses (as follows) do not have to be taken in any certain order. Students will participate but will not be responsible for determining their clinical sites and internship experiences. Internships must be coordinated with the Program Director and Clinical Coordinator. Students may not initiate their own clinical internships.

  • Primary Care (4 rotations) Includes: OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Behavioral Medicine & Internal Medicine
  • Inpatient Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Elective
  • Elective

Phase III - Summative Course (~1 month)

  • Summative Course/Simulation Lab – Skills Training and Assessment (4 semester units)
  • Clinical Graduate Project (Capstone)

Course Descriptions

All physician assistant courses require admission to the School of Health and Natural Sciences in the Master of Science Physician Assistant Studies Program.

 


 

Current Topics in the PA Profession 
This course will provide an introduction to and an overview of the PA profession.  It will trace the development of the PA profession and explore its current status in-depth.  Discussions will focus on the ethical, educational, legislative, and economic forces that are shaping the PA profession, and online modules will introduce important concepts pertaining to patient safety and medical errors.  Fall Phase I 

Clinical Assessment
Development of patient interviewing, documentation, and physical examination skills. The medical record as a legal document will be discussed. Review of patient confidentiality will be emphasized. Fall Phase I 

Clinical Assessment Lab  Fall Phase I

Foundations of Clinical Medicine
The Foundations of Clinical Medicine course is designed to provide the first year physician assistant student with a baseline level of knowledge of the basic sciences (anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, genetics, introduction to laboratory medicine, introduction to pharmacology) and to the study of health and disease upon which studies in medicine will further build. Fall Phase I 

Medical Ethics and Professionalism
This course explores medical ethics and clinical decision making, including the bioethics concepts of autonomy, beneficence/nonmaleficence, and justice. Issues around end of life, disabilities, healthcare disparity and every day ethical decision-making are discussed. Professionalism, physician/PA relationships, cultural competency, and health literacy are introduced. Fall Phase I 

Introduction to Pharmacology and Infectious Disease Principles
Fall Phase I 

Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine and Health Policy
Introduction to research including methodology, statistical analyses, formulation of research questions, and evaluation of research designs with an emphasis on studies assessing therapeutic interventions, diagnostic testing, and prognostic indicators of health and disease as part of evidence-based clinical practice. Fall Phase I 

 


The Clinical Medicine (CM) module series is a comprehensive and integrated approach to learning medicine by organ systems. There is a strong emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, case-based learning, and evidence-based clinical practice. Clinical medicine modules will include:

  • Advanced study of human anatomy with laboratory sessions on the Anatomage Table
  • Advanced study of human physiology with clinical applications
  • Study of the etiology and pathophysiology of disease states
  • Performance of history and physical examinations with attention to charting and developing a differential diagnosis. Practice on other students and participation at local clinics
  • Overview of the selection, use, and interpretation of results of laboratory and diagnostic studies
  • Study of disease states including the epidemiology, history, physical examination, diagnostic evaluation, differential diagnosis, management, and prognosis
  • Recognition of behavioral medicine issues on disease states commonly seen in the medical setting
  • Pharmacological principles of routes of administration, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and toxicology, drug classes, disease management, use in patient types
  • Identification and initiation of treatment for emergencies
  • Comparison of the clinical presentation and management of disease states in the pediatric and geriatric population vs. the general adult population
  • Preventive health care, patient education, and health maintenance recommendations
  • Application of the principles of evidence-based clinical practice
  • Objective evaluation of interviewing and history-taking skills utilizing the Leicester Assessment Package (LAP)

CM Dermatology, Eye, ENT
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning dermatology, ophthalmology, and otolaryngology. Spring Phase I 

CM Pulmonology
A comprehensive and integrated approach to pulmonary medicine. Spring Phase I 

CM Cardiology and ECG
A comprehensive and integrated approach to cardiology and electrocardiogram. Spring Phase I

CM Gastroenterology
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning gastroenterology. Spring Phase I 

CM Neurology
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning neurology. Spring Phase I 

CM Hematology/Oncology
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning hematology and oncology. Spring Phase I 

CM Behavioral/Psychiatric Medicine
Psychological conditions, counseling and communication skills, substance abuse, culture, ethnicity, and health-related behavior with an emphasis on creating a competency in the diagnosis, treatment, management, and referral of psychiatric conditions. Spring Phase I 

CM Whole Patient Integration I – Continuity Clinic
A comprehensive and integrated approach to the whole patient in a clinical setting. Case-based clinical skill session on patient interviewing and physical exam skills. Sessions will include clinical site orientation for continuity clinic sessions and clinical rotations. Spring Phase I 

CM Endocrinology
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning endocrinology. Summer Phase I 

CM Urology & Nephrology
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning urology and nephrology. Summer Phase I 

CM Musculoskeletal
A comprehensive and integrated approach to orthopedics and rheumatology. Clinical skill sessions on splinting. Summer Phase I 

CM Women’s Health/Men’s Health
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning women’s health and men’s health. Summer Phase I 

CM Pediatric Medicine
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning pediatric medicine. Summer Phase I 

CM Whole Patient Integration II – Continuity Clinic
A comprehensive and integrated approach to the whole patient in a clinical setting. Case-based clinical skill session on patient interviewing and physical exam skills. Sessions will include clinical site orientation for continuity clinic sessions and clinical rotations. Summer Phase I 

CM Geriatrics
Study of the unique physiologic, emotional and social aspects of the aging patient. Fall Phase I 

CM Emergency Medicine
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning emergency medicine. Clinical skill sessions on suturing, IV's, and ACLS certification. Fall Phase I 

CM Emergency Medicine Lab Fall Phase I 

CM Surgery, Hospital Care
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning surgery and inpatient medicine. Clinical skill sessions on sterile technique and gowning/gloving/Simulation Lab.  Fall Phase I 

CM Surgery, Hospital Care Lab Fall Phase I 

Professional Practice Seminar/Interprofessional Competency in Practice 

This course provides active learning opportunities that simulate the diversity of health care disciplines and services encountered during clinical training. Through lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, and small group activities focused on scope of practice, roles and responsibilities, ethical decision-making, and clinical problem-solving, PA students will gain the necessary knowledge and skills that facilitate the transition from the academic to clinical environment and promote high quality clinical education experiences. Fall Phase I 

CM Current Topics in Infectious Diseases
A comprehensive and integrated approach to learning about the current infectious diseases. Fall Phase I 

CM Whole Patient Integration III – Continuity Clinic

A comprehensive and integrated approach to the whole patient in a clinical setting. Case-based clinical skill session on patient interviewing and physical exam skills. Sessions will include clinical site orientation for continuity clinic sessions and clinical rotations.

Primary Care Rotations #1 - 4
The Ambulatory Care Clinical Practicum is a 20 week (4 rotations), required clinical rotation for second-year PA students, which focuses on the role of the physician assistant in an ambulatory care setting (clinic or private practice). The PA student will be expected to see Family Medicine, Pediatric, Internal Medicine, Women’s Health, and Behavioral Medicine patient encounters during these rotations. The student will actively engage in applying the medical knowledge and clinical skills gained during the didactic year while continuing to develop clinical reasoning through an evidence-based approach to the evaluation and management of primary care problems encountered in ambulatory care settings. Students will also work to incorporate health promotion and disease prevention into patient care and advocate for healthy lifestyles. Phase II 

Inpatient Medicine Rotation
This is a five-week required clinical rotation for second year PA students, which focuses on the role of the physician assistant in a hospital based inpatient setting. The student will actively engage in applying the medical knowledge and clinical skills gained during the didactic year while continuing to develop clinical reasoning through an evidence-based approach to the evaluation and management of problems commonly encountered in inpatient settings. Students will also work to incorporate health promotion and disease prevention as well as advocacy for healthy lifestyles, preventive medicine practices, and patient support. Phase II 

Surgery Rotation
Clinical rotation for 5 weeks in a surgical setting with an emphasis on inpatient, outpatient, and the surgical arena. Phase II 

Emergency Medicine Rotation
This is a five-week required clinical practicum for second year PA students, which focuses on the role of the physician assistant in the emergency department setting. The student will actively engage in applying the medical knowledge and clinical skills gained during the didactic year while continuing to develop clinical reasoning through an evidence-based approach to the evaluation and management of common problems encountered in emergency medicine. Phase II

Elective: Specialty Practice Rotation or Primary Care
Clinical rotation for 5 weeks in a specialty practice (ENT, Dermatology, OB/Gyn, etc.,), another primary care setting, or a community medicine setting such as a prison, health department, family planning/STD clinic, community mental health, or other community-based locations. Phase II 

Elective: Specialty Practice Rotation or Primary Care
Clinical rotation for 5 weeks in a specialty practice (ENT, Dermatology, OB/Gyn, etc.,), another primary care setting, or a community medicine setting such as a prison, health department, family planning/STD clinic, or international setting, community mental health, or other community-based locations. Phase II

Call Back Weeks I, II, & III Professional Practice Seminars/Individual Clinical Assessments
One-week seminar course dealing with professional practice issues, clinical rotations discussion groups and presentations, introduction and preparation for the Capstone Project. PA faculty will be assigned to and assisting the students with the development of the clinical project proposal/capstone. Summative Clinical Assessments will be administered through high-fidelity simulations and standardized patients objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE). End of Rotation examinations.

Phase II 

Summative Course/Simulation Lab – Skills Training and Assessment
Three week course of a review of all areas of medicine covered in the didactic and clinical months.  Students will participate in interprofessional simulations managing patient care.  Additional specialized skills training will be completed and evaluated individually.  Final clinical summative assessments will occur in objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE). Phase III 

Clinical Graduate Project/Capstone
Student conducts a clinical project followed by on-site presentation of results to PA faculty and other PA students with a final written paper of publishable quality or poster presentation. Professional practice issues seminars. Phase III