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School of
Medicine

Physician Assistant Program

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

PAST/ANAT 410 Anatomy (6 cr.)

Human Anatomy will provide students with a sound understanding of the normal human body as a foundation for subsequent pursuing biomedical careers. A combination of daily lectures and laboratories integrates cadaver dissection-based gross anatomy with the associated histology, embryology, neuroanatomy and basic physiology and clinical correlates.

PAST 477 Human Physiology (4 cr.)

This lecture/seminar course takes a systems approach to the physiologic and biochemical functions of the human body, including relevant anatomical correlations. The goal is to enhance the student’s fundamental knowledge in human physiology with an emphasis on physiologic concepts in relationship to health, disease and illnesses. The course will provide students with an understanding of the function, regulation and integration of the major organ systems. Small group seminars emphasize clinical application to systemic function. Every Year, Fall.

PAST 401 Foundations of Clinical Medicine - Principles of Interviewing (3 cr.)

This course, which is designed as small, group seminars, explores the various methods of approaching and interviewing patients focusing on the establishment of a relationship, effects of cultural backgrounds, gender and age on giving and receiving of information in order to obtain an accurate medical history. The general purpose of this course is to teach the physician assistant student the skills necessary to conduct a clinical/medical interview with a patient and to be able to present the information to other health care professionals in both an oral and written form. Instructional techniques will include role-playing, small group discussion, and observation and critique by instructors, other students and simulated patient models. Every Year, Summer

PAST 402 Foundations of Clinical Medicine - Physical Diagnosis (4 cr.)

This lecture/laboratory course presents and explores the techniques for performing a complete and competent physical examination, understanding the pathophysiology presented by the patient, and organizing and reporting the findings in both written and oral format. Students are introduced to the organization and techniques for performing the physical examination including use of equipment, written and oral presentations. Special techniques and maneuvers are covered as part of the focused physical examination. Using a systems-based approach, lab sessions provide students with practical experience performing the complete physical examination on the adult patient. Specialty workshops in orthopedics, the exam of the infant and child as well as the male and female genitalia provide students with practical experience in these areas prior to their first interaction with patients. Every Year, Fall

PAST 403 Diagnostic Methods – Clinical Lab I (1 cr.)

This lecture course is designed to introduce the student to clinical laboratory medicine. Lectures are designed to review the various types of laboratory tests, normal values, acquisition and handling of specimens as well as interpretation of results and how to relate these test to clinical conditions through clinical correlations. Every Year, Summer

PAST 404 Clinical Correlations (1 cr.)

This seminar course places emphasis on internal organs with clinical correlation to anatomic conditions. Content will include basis concepts of embryology, the comparison of normal and abnormal structural relationships and the demonstration of how these things relate to health and disease. Students will review on-line embryology learning modules and meet in small seminar groups to review anatomical clinical correlates. Every Year, Summer

PAST 405 Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (2 cr.)

This detailed study of microorganisms and the diseases they cause in man includes consideration of infectious disease microorganisms including their biochemical, serological and virulence characteristics, and clinical manifestations. An organ system approach is used to examine the fundamentals of pathogenicity, host response, epidemiological aspects of infectious disease, as well as clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment of infections. There will be an emphasis on the interpretation of the results and correlation with clinical conditions. Every Year, Fall

PAST 406 Ethics in Health Care Delivery (1 cr.)

This course is an overview of the discipline of medical ethics presenting the study and application of relevant principles, insights, and understandings of modern medical practice. This course provides an opportunity for identifying, analyzing and resolving ethical dilemmas that will be encountered in clinical rotations and in professional practice. Issues are examined using the basic principles of biomedical ethics that include respect for persons, truth telling, justice, beneficence and integrity. A framework of ethical decision making is introduced and practiced using realistic medical cases via a Medical Ethics Committee. Every Year, Spring

PAST 407 Clinical Procedures (4 cr.)

The purpose is to prepare these future clinicians for clinical management of health and disease by preparing them for common clinical procedures. These will include basic and advanced surgical skills, basic laboratory skills, common out-patient procedures, common emergency procedures, and interpretation of electrocardiographs and common radiologic tests.

PAST 411 Professional Issues for PAs I - History, Roles and Responsibilities of the PA Profession (1 cr.)

This lecture course explores through lecture and discussion the factors affecting the development of the profession and role socialization with emphasis on policies, regulations and organizations governing PA practice. An overview of clinical responsibilities, team-based practice, quality assurance standards and credentialing practice will be presented and discussed. Every Year, Summer

PAST 412 Professional Issues for PAs II (2 cr.)

In this three course series students will explore factors affecting the development of the profession, the status of the PA in the U.S. healthcare system and current issues in clinical practice including practice-based improvement and systems-based practice.  Through lecture and discussion, this series prepares the student for the transition from classroom to clinical training and clinical practice.  Emphasis is given to the responsibilities that come with being a professional, professionalism and practicing quality improvement.

PAST 413 Professional Issues for PAs III (2 cr.)

In this three course series students will explore factors affecting the development of the profession, the status of the PA in the U.S. healthcare system and current issues in clinical practice including practice-based improvement and systems-based practice.  Through lecture and discussion, this series prepares the student for the transition from classroom to clinical training and clinical practice.  Emphasis is given to the responsibilities that come with being a professional, professionalism and practicing quality improvement.

PAST 420 Pharmacology I (2 cr.)

This lecture course is a basic introduction to the principles of pharmacology and to drug classes of particular relevance to the physician assistant. The course will provide the physician assistant student with a fundamental knowledge of basic pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetic and pharmacogenomics principles, as well as the basic properties, mechanisms, uses, adverse effects and drug interaction mechanisms of those drugs most relevant to the physician assistant. Every Year, Fall

PAST 421 Pharmacology II (3 cr.)

In this two course series (PAST 420 Pharmacology), physician assistant students will be provided with foundational knowledge of the therapeutic uses and effects of drugs. The indications, contraindications and adverse effects of prototypical drugs are covered. Drug dependence and addiction are also discussed. This course also includes a problem-based learning component which will enhance students' teamwork and clinical reasoning skills by examining and analyzing case scenarios in small groups.

PAST 430 Principles of Internal Medicine (7 cr.)

This lecture/discussion course takes an organ system approach to disease. It provides students with a detailed study of the etiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnostic and therapeutic approach to various disorders encountered in internal medicine. A broad array of diseases in cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, gerontology, hepatology, hematology, oncology, ophthalmology, nephrology, neurology, pulmonology and rheumatology are explored. Every Year, Fall

PAST 431 Principles of Clinical Medicine - Surgery and Emergency Medicine (4 cr.)

This lecture course presents the fundamentals of surgical disease including the etiology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestations and appropriate management of major and minor surgical conditions and care of the acutely injured and critically ill patient encountered in surgical subspecialty and emergency medical settings. Topics are discussed with emphasis on clinical presentation and pre- and post-operative management. The course introduces the principles of life support technique and the initial management of acute medical and traumatic conditions. Every Year, Spring

PAST 432 Principles of Clinical Medicine - Obstetrics and Gynecology (3 cr.)

This lecture/case presentation course gives the student an overview of commonly encountered obstetric and gynecologic disorders. Anatomy and physiology of the human reproductive system are examined, including the changes in pregnancy, prenatal care, medical and surgical complications of pregnancy, pre- and postpartum care. Common gynecologic conditions, methods and effectiveness of contraception, cancer detection methods and the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections in the female are explored. Every Year, Spring

PAST 433 Principles of Clinical Medicine - Pediatrics (3 cr.)

This lecture course emphasizes aspects of general pediatrics and principles of health supervision and provides a foundation for those students who elect to further study the health care of infants, children and adolescents. The course examines the physical and psychological fundamentals of normal growth and development and addresses issues unique to childhood and adolescence by focusing on human developmental biology, and by emphasizing the impact of family, community, and society on child health and well-being. Focus is on the major pediatric illnesses and conditions, their clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment. Every Year, Spring

PAST 434 Principles of Clinical Medicine - Behavioral Medicine (2 cr.)

This lecture course gives students an overview of some of the most important areas in behavioral psychiatry. Students will learn to understand the relationship (and inseparability) between physical health issues, psychological issues and well-being. The course is an overview of basic psychiatric concepts and focuses on assessing patients who manifest psychological symptoms. Topics include diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, common child and adolescent disorders, somatoform and factitious disorders, psychotic disorders, sleep disorders, adjustment and personality disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse and addresses forensic issues in behavioral health. Every Year, Spring

PAST 440 Pre-clinical Clerkships I (1 cr)

This course/clerkship provides the student with clinical experience at clinical sites in the didactic year utilizing what was learned in Foundations of Clinical Medicine (Interviewing and Physical Diagnosis class/lab). During the pre-clinical time at program designated sites, students will continue to develop and apply their history and physical exam skills, interpersonal skills, oral presentation and medical documentation skills. For expanding skills and creating relationships within the community, this course also encompasses community service, experiential learning and interprofessional education activities. This course/clerkship will help to better prepare students to gain experience and develop confidence in approaching patients prior to entering the clinical year. 

PAST 441 Pre-clinical Clerkships II (1 cr)

This course/clerkship provides the student with clinical experience at clinical sites in the didactic year utilizing what was learned in Foundations of Clinical Medicine (Interviewing and Physical Diagnosis class/lab). During the pre-clinical time at program designated sites, students will continue to develop and apply their history and physical exam skills, interpersonal skills, oral presentation and medical documentation skills. For expanding skills and creating relationships within the community, this course also encompasses community service, experiential learning and interprofessional education activities.  This course/clerkship will help to better prepare students to gain experience and develop confidence in approaching patients prior to entering the clinical year.

PAST 450 Culture and Health (2 cr.)

This seminar course uses a biopsychosocial model of health to explore the impact of culture, beliefs and values on health, wellness, disease and prevention on individuals, patients, families and communities. Students will also become familiarized with the biological and psychological attributes contributing to sexual expression as well as societal values that shape perception and expression. Factors associated with communicating with and caring for individuals from different cultures, opposite genders or differing sexual preference are explored. Every Year, Spring

PAST 451 Introduction to Public Health (1 cr.)

This course will introduce students to concepts of public health and provide experience in public health by completion of a mentored project with a local health department. The course will enhance the student’s knowledge of the history and philosophy of public health, the Healthy People 2020 initiatives and the social determinants of health and how they can be impacted. Teaching methodologies will include online modules from the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research and discussion along with the mentored public health project. Every Year, Summer

PAST 452 Introduction to Evidence Based Medicine (2 cr.)

This course is intended to provide learners with a basic understanding of the principles of epidemiology, biostatistics and evidence-based medicine. The course involves analysis of prospective and retrospective studies, cross-sectional studies and experimental epidemiology. It will focus on epidemiological scenarios that relate to both infectious disease and chronic disease.

In addition, the course will provide the student with a basic understanding of the application of statistical techniques to the biological and health sciences and to demonstrate their areas of application. Emphasis will be placed on probability laws, sampling and parameter estimation, test of hypothesis, correlation, regression and analysis of variance. Finally, utilizing on-line modules, students will be introduced to the basic concepts of evidence-based medicine, information mastery, and critical appraisal of the medical literature. Every Year, Summer

PAST 453 Medical Spanish Elective (1 cr.)

Currently the United States constitutes of more than 40 million Spanish speakers. With over 40% of the population growth being among Hispanics, the future is set for an increase in Spanish usage in the United States, especially in the medical field and health sciences. This course will teach students the basics of Spanish as it applies to the medical field such as physical examinations, emergencies, common diseases within the Latino population, and specializations. By familiarizing students with conversational Spanish and medical Spanish, this course will enable students to apply their learning to real-world situations, to assist in communications, and ultimately to break down the barrier between doctors and patients. Every Year, Summer

PAST 454 Research Methods Elective (1 cr.)

This lecture course introduces students to research design and scientific inquiry and provides them with the skills necessary for interpretation and critical evaluation of the medical literature. It includes a brief review of important statistical principles and methods and their application to problems in medicine and health. Every Year, Summer

PAST 500 Clinical Residency – Emergency Medicine (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week Emergency Medicine clinical rotation offers the physician assistant learner clinical experience in the care of the urgent and emergent patient. In emergency room settings, learners will provide urgent care, working with patients across the age span, with a variety of undifferentiated presentations. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 501 Clinical Residency – Family Medicine (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week Family Medicine clinical rotation provides the physician assistant learner the opportunity to work with patients across the life span. Acute, chronic, and preventive care will be an integrated part of the care of continuity patients. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 502 Clinical Residency – Geriatrics (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week Geriatrics clinical rotation provides the physician assistant learner experiences with geriatric patients. These patients will afford the opportunity to provide acute, chronic, and preventive care. Learners will deal with injuries of the older adult, falls and disease prevention, in the context of the aging process. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 503 Clinical Residency – Internal Medicine (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week Internal Medicine clinical rotation offers the physician assistant learner clinical experience in the care of the adult patient. In both hospital and office settings, learners will provide acute, chronic, and preventive care, working with physicians who subspecialize in components of Internal Medicine. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 504 Clinical Residency – Obstetrics & Gynecology (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week Obstetrics and Gynecology clinical rotation offers the physician assistant learner clinical experience in the medical and surgical care of the female patient. In both hospital and office settings, learners will provide acute, chronic, and preventive care, working with physicians who subspecialize in components of Obstetrics and Gynecology, with focus on delivery, postpartum and gynecological surgical care. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 505 Clinical Residency – Pediatrics (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week Pediatrics clinical rotation offers the physician assistant learner clinical experience in the care of the infant, toddler, child, and adolescent patient. In both hospital and office settings, learners will provide acute, chronic, and preventive care, working with physicians who subspecialize in components of Pediatrics. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 506 Clinical Residency – Behavioral and Mental Health (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week clinical rotation offers the physician assistant learner a four week clinical experience in behavioral health in adolescent and adult patients. While there will be both hospital and office settings, learners will provide acute, chronic, and preventive care primarily in community settings. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 507 Clinical Residency – Surgery (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week Surgery clinical rotation offers the physician assistant learner clinical experience in the preoperative and postoperative care of the patient. In both hospital and office settings, learners will provide surgical care, working with physicians who subspecialize in components of Surgery. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 508 Clinical Residency – Primary Care Elective (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week elective clinical rotation in general internal medicine, general pediatrics or family medicine offers the physician assistant learner additional clinical experience in continuity management of patients that interest them the most. In ambulatory settings, learners will provide care in a longitudinal fashion to develop their preparation for a career of interest. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 509 Clinical Residency - Inpatient Medicine Elective (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week elective clinical rotation offers the physician assistant learner clinical experience in inpatient hospital setting in the specialty of their choice. Inpatient settings provide learners with the care of both medical and surgical patients, working with physicians who care for patients in and inpatient setting. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer.

PAST 510 Clinical Residency – Elective (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week elective clinical rotation offers the physician assistant learner clinical experience in the specialty of their choice. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 511 Clinical Residency – Elective (3 cr.)

Upon successful completion of the didactic phase of the program, the PA student undertakes an intensive course of study requiring the application of skills and concepts acquired during the earlier course work. This four week elective clinical rotation offers the physician assistant learner clinical experience in the specialty of their choice. Every Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

PAST 600 Capstone Quality Improvement Project & Comprehensive Examination (3 cr.)

The purpose of the capstone course is twofold. First, to ascertain if the student has both the broad and specific knowledge expected of someone holding a master’s degree. Second, to determine whether the student has been able to integrate knowledge obtained from individual courses into unified concepts that link the student’s own specialization to other fields of study.

This longitudinal capstone course focuses on health care value and quality improvement and is required as a culminating experience in the PA program. The on-line course, with milestones throughout the year will ensure that students are successfully progressing in the course. Students will work in teams to complete a project in patient safety high-value care or quality/performance improvement over the course of the clinical year. Students will be required to submit a written synthesis of their project. In addition to the quality/performance improvement project, PA students in the program will need to successfully pass a three-part Comprehensive Examination (written, oral and OSCE) as part of the capstone course. Every Year, Summer