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Lipscomb launches School of Physician Assistant Studies

Lacey Klotz  | 

University provides new academic program in health care field with high job satisfaction: physician assistance

Click here to see the faculty heading up Lipscomb's new PA school

Lipscomb University's College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences recently announced the establishment of the second physician assistant program in Middle Tennessee. 

Pending accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Lipscomb’s 27-month program plans to admit 35 students in its first cohort that will begin October 2018 and will admit a second cohort of 43 students in January 2019. The application process began Sept. 1 and since then, Lipscomb has held monthly open house sessions for potential students.

Lipscomb's Master of Physician Assistant Studies will offer students an inter-professional education, extensive hands-on clinical opportunities and exposure to modern technology, all of which are crucial to becoming an integral part of the health care team, said Dr. Stephen Heffington, who serves as the program director for the PA school and has more than 20 years of experience in surgical practice and health care administration.

“The Lipscomb University School of Physician Assistant Studies is focused on educating students to provide excellent service to their community,” said Heffington. “The program is built on a framework of Christian ethics rooted in faith and is committed to producing knowledgeable and compassionate health care providers of the highest quality. Our graduates will be servant leaders in medicine that work to improve patients’ health across the lifespan.”
Students will engage in seven semesters of study, which are broken into a 15-month didactic phase and a 12-month clinical phase.

“During the didactic phase, students will enroll in basic medical science and clinical medicine courses as well as engage in industry training through eight six-week clinical rotations in pediatrics, behavioral and mental health, women’s health, emergency medicine, surgery, internal medicine, family medicine as well as a clinical elective of their choice,” Heffington said.

Since 2009, Lipscomb has recognized the value of inter-professional education and has since created a course structure that encourages team building among all health science students. Students in the new PA program will be immersed in other health care disciplines at Lipscomb including: nursing, pharmacy, dietetics, exercise science and nutrition.

With local partnerships including Vanderbilt Medical Center, Meharry Medical College, Heritage Medical Associates, HCA and Sarah Cannon, Lipscomb’s PA program will not only prepare students for a number of career areas that best match their professional calling, its rigorous curriculum, faith integration and small class sizes will set them apart from the rest, said Heffington.

“PAs have a very high job satisfaction rate due to time spent in direct patient care versus spending time in the hassle of administrative paperwork and non-clinical aspects of health care. In addition, the flexibility of being able to change areas of specialty without having to return to school or residency improves job satisfaction. PAs can also choose to work in a part-time or ‘shift-work’ situation for those who want to spend more time with family or in areas of volunteerism,” said Heffington.

“At Lipscomb, we are providing access to quality education via modern technology, extensive hands-on experiences, progressive curriculum, innovative faculty, small class sizes and a faith-integrated program,” he said.

Want to learn more about Lipscomb’s School of Physician Assistant Studies? Visit

To learn more about the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences click here.