Mount St. Joseph University announces it has hired Patrick Cafferty, an educator and experienced physician assistant, as chairperson of the new Department of Physician Assistant Studies. His first role is to lead the development of a Physician Assistant (PA) master’s program. The Mount has been approved to develop a PA master’s program with initial enrollment proposed to begin in 2017-2018.
“This is an exciting step for the Mount to develop a new graduate program for students interested in becoming physician assistants,” said Darla Vale, Ph.D., dean of the School of Health Sciences at the Mount. “The role of physician assistants will continue to grow with changes in health care. Patrick Cafferty has significant experience, in both PA education and clinical practice, to build a quality program.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physician assistants is expected to grow by 38% from 2012 to 2022. Physician assistants perform many of the same duties as physicians, and many work in clinical and hospital settings. Cafferty is an emergency medicine physician assistant in Mayfield, Ky., and was associate professor and clinical director of Bethel University Physician Assistant Program. He has been a practicing physician assistant for 30 years.
“There will be an increased need in health care professionals, such as physician assistants, with the expected shortage of primary care physicians in the coming years and the expansion of the medical services through the Affordable Care Act,” Cafferty said. “The Mount has a rich history in providing education to meet the needs of the community.”
The development of a new graduate program complements a new undergraduate major in biomedical sciences undergraduate program that began last August. The biomedical sciences degree prepares students for a career in the medical sciences. Students can choose from three tracks: the first track prepares students for post-graduate success in medical, dental, veterinary, optometry, or pharmacy school. A second track is for students interested in advancing to physician assistants, and a third track is for students interested in occupational or physical therapy careers.
Mount St. Joseph University is an undergraduate and graduate Catholic university that provides an interdisciplinary liberal arts and professional curriculum emphasizing values, service and social responsibility.