Program History

History of Case Western Reserve University's PA Program

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) began its PA program planning process in the fall of 2012.  The process began at the level of the School of Medicine (SOM) administration and was led by Dean Pamela Davis.  Dean Davis attended medical school at Duke University in the early 1970’s, at a time when Dr. Eugene Stead could still be found rounding on the wards.  Dean Davis was struck by the education and training of this new group of non-physician providers and how quickly they could enter clinical practice and apprentice with the primary care physicians who hired them.

Case Western Reserve University views their PA program as an ideal way to expand healthcare workforce in Ohio and the United States.  Building on a medical school with a strong reputation in curricular innovation as well as an already existing interprofessional infrastructure, the PA program is poised to provide well educated, medical professionals to Ohio and the U.S.  Case’s PA trainees will assist in meeting the expanding population of patients accessing medical services as a result of an aging population and the projected shortage of physicians.

There are 59 counties in Ohio with Bureau of Health Professions designated health profession shortage areas (HPSA) in primary medical care (136 HPSAs).  Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland and CWRU are located, has 16 HPSAs, the largest number of HPSAs of any county in the State of Ohio.  All of these designated HPSAs are within 10 miles of CWRU.

The addition of the PA program capitalizes on the strengths of CWRU including, a talented, diverse and large faculty, a commitment to interdisciplinary team-based healthcare delivery and a partnership with Cleveland Clinic to build a new Health Education Campus (HEC) bringing together the University’s School of Medicine (including PA), School of Dental Medicine (SODM) and School of Nursing (SON) on one campus (opening in 2019).  Learning in a team-based approach with other healthcare professionals will contribute to the quality of care available to citizens of the State of Ohio.

The CWRU PA program faculty were hired and the curriculum was developed in 2015.  The founding director and faculty included:

  • Director - Cynthia Booth Lord, MHS PA-C
  • Medical Director - David Shafran, MD, MA
  • Director of Didactic Curriculum - Hilary Petersen, MPAS, PA-C
  • Director of Clinical Curriculum - Nancy Ivansek, MA, PA-C
  • Director of IPE, Simulation and Outcomes - Casey Schroeder-Jenkinson, PhD
  • Clinical Director of Professional Development - Josanne Pagel, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Karna RMT

The program matriculated its first class of 24 students in May 2016.