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  • Physician Assistant Studies

    Physician Assistant Studies

    About the Program
    Graduates of Le Moyne’s Master of Science program in physician assistant studies are competent, caring and ethical primary health care providers committed to their patients and their communities. A unique focus of the Le Moyne program is on cultural competence and the delivery of health care to diverse populations. In accordance with the College’s Jesuit mission, students learn to care for patients in underserved areas from downtown Syracuse to rural Wyoming.

    Le Moyne is one of only a handful of PA programs that presents medical humanities courses as an integral part of training. In conjunction with evidence-based medicine skill acquisition, self-directed learning, and resource utilization, the Le Moyne graduate focuses on a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach in order to care for the whole person.

    If you would like to learn more about the courses offered within the Physician Assistant Studies Program, please visit the Le Moyne College catalog. 


    Program Accreditation
    The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Le Moyne College. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards. 

    Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2018. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

    Graduate performance on certification exam. 

    Goal #1: The development of a strong, broad biomedical and psychosocial knowledge base.


    • Preceptor evaluations measure our students’ success as they rotate through 8 clinical sites.
    • 100% of our graduates have passed competency based examinations that demonstrate that they have the skills to care for patients in primary care settings.
    • Students have 2 opportunities to take the PACKRAT examination; a standardized, clinical knowledge rating tool. 
    • Students are successful on the National Certifying examination

    • Problem Based Learning (PBL) is designed to help students understand their knowledge limitations and to fill in these gaps in a self-directed manner.
    • Service Learning connects students to the greater Syracuse community.
    • De-briefing after a high fidelity simulation case is an excellent way for the learner to evaluate their skills in a safe environment prior to entering the clinical phase of their training.
    • A professional portfolio is created during the student’s clinical training to document competencies in certain clinical skills, certifications and other materials that may be required by future employers.  All portfolios include reflections and self-evaluation assignments. 

    • A total of 198 students over the last 5 years have conducted 49 original group research projects.  Many student/faculty research teams have gone on to present these projects at State and National professional conferences.
    •  Instruction in evidence based medicine is incorporated into our research course.
    •  In Problem Based Learning students have the opportunity to sort through the medical literature to develop an appropriate evidence based treatment plan for their patient.
    • Students present to their peers and faculty in the clinical year journal club presentations.

    • The 6 credit hours of Medical Humanities coursework brings patients into the classroom to discuss their medical experiences in the community. Guest speakers from the arts, social sciences and humanities complement the student’s bio-psychosocial, spiritual education.
    • Students work one on one with faculty members on medical interviewing skills during their didactic training.
    • Service learning allows students to put into practice skills related to interpersonal communication and health literacy.
    • Students are members of State and National Physician Assistant organizations.  The Physician Assistant Student Society provides opportunities for personal and professional development. 
    • Our faculty embraces diversity and reflects dedicated, accomplished medical educators and clinicians.  The core faculty health care providers have broad experience in medicine, surgery and psychiatry and in total comprise nearly 170 years of clinical expertise.  Cooperative teamwork is role-modeled to our students.
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    Mary Springston

    Program Director View Bio
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    Bill Holmes

    Associate Professor View Bio
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    Rebecca Brown

    Assistant Coordinator View Bio

    Le Moyne's physician assistant studies program is where care meets compassion. Students benefit from a strong curriculum during the first year, known as the didactic year, and outstanding clinical experiences during the second year.

    Didactic year: The didactic curriculum reflects the overarching philosophy of the entire program, is the bio-psycho-social approach to patient care. Case review and analysis sharpens clinical skills in a safe learning environment. Lectures, seminars, and discussion groups are blended with laboratory exercises and “hands-on” physical examination skills, to round out the first year experience. 

    Le Moyne is one of only a handful of PA Programs that also presents Medical Humanities Courses as an integral part of training. In conjunction with Evidence-Based Medicine skill acquisition, self-directed learning and resource utilization, the Le Moyne graduate learns to care for the whole person. Community Service Learning moves the student from the classroom to the neighborhoods, to facilitate an even greater, deeper understanding of the human condition in the “real world.”

    Clinical year:

    Multiple sites are utilized and multiple specialties are represented. Each rotation examines the concepts of “health and wellness” in various settings, and in ways uniquely sensitive to the prevailing cultural climate. 

    The clinical curriculum is comprised of eight rotations: internal medicine and adult primary care; pediatrics; geriatrics; women’s health; surgery; emergency medicine; behavioral health; and the surgical/medical subspecialty electives.

    The 12-month clinical curriculum is comprised of eight rotations that include experiences in: internal medicine and adult primary care, pediatrics, geriatrics, women's health care, surgery,emergency medicine, behavioral medicine, surgical and medical subspecialty electives, outpatient setting, inpatient setting, and long-term care setting.

    Our program prepares students to become life-long learners, and helps promote a more just society.


    We Are Leaders In ...

    Primary Care Training

    1) This year the Department of Physician Assistant Studies was awarded the Primary Care Enhancement Initiative Grant of $1.25 million. Only 32 such grants were awarded in the United States and only five were awarded in New York. The goal of this project is to expand the breadth and depth of PA training in primary care, to improve patient access to care, and to address the Healthy People 2020 goal of reducing health disparities among multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multi linguistic populations. This grant will enable the Department of Physician Assistant Studies to develop academic training and financial incentives to both expand and retain the number of successful training sites and preceptors in medically underserved, rural, and primary care venues, as well as to develop a bridge program for veterans wishing to become physician assistants. 

    2) In 2012, Le Moyne College was awarded a $650,000 Health Resources and Services Administration Health Professions (HRSA) grant designed to help health profession training programs address some of the most pressing needs across the U.S. health care workforce Among the aims of the grant are to encourage clinicians to practice in underserved areas and care for underserved populations and to increase the number of racial and ethnic minority clinicians to mirror the U.S. population. The faculty of the Le Moyne College P.A. program has chosen to meet these goals by taking a close look at our first-year curriculum; enhancing lectures, presentations and student experiences to support primary care training initiatives; and emphasizing care of the whole person and inter-professional training. Faculty members are also focusing on health literacy awareness and training during both the first and second year of training and primary care clinical training site development.  

    3) In 2011, the College was awarded a HRSA grant to expand the number of Physician Assistants to practice in primary care. The Department of Physician Assistant Studies designed a very competitive scholarship opportunity for new students The scholarship recipients were chosen based on their desire to practice in rural, underserved communities in primary care upon graduation as well as their backgrounds prior to entering the physician assistant studies program. Over the past five years, 30 students have received this award.  To date, about 50 percent of graduates who received this award are practicing in primary care settings.

     4) Mary Springston, PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, was awarded a sabbatical for the fall of 2015. Springston will spend that time working on a project is to develop culturally competent primary care PAs who will work in underserved communities after they graduate from Le Moyne College. The project's overarching theme will be to develop domestic and global/and mission-based clinical site rotations for P.A. students while simultaneously developing interdisciplinary opportunities for the College at large.

    Professional Achievement

     1) Mary Springston, PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, was nominated to serve as present elect of the New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA).  The NSYSSPA has represented and served the PA profession for over 35 years. The Department of Physician Assistant Studies has received the President's Commendation Award since 2010 for 100 percent membership in NYSSPA, which demonstrates exemplary support for the PA profession.  


    1) William Holmes, Ph.D., research coordinator and associate professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, recently wrote a 17-chapter introductory textbook titled Statistical Literacy for Clinical Practitioners along with William C Rinaman, Ph.D. The book reviews basic research designs and statistics employed in clinical research. Using data sets from actual studies, the book also explains how to use statistical software (SPSS) to analyze data. It includes in-chapter questions and end-of-chapter exercises, and a solutions manual. Statistical Literacy for Clinical Practitioners is assigned reading for Le Moyne PA students working on their master’s projects.

    2) Every second-year PA student must work as part of a team on a master’s project. Working with a faculty advisor and the research coordinator, each team designs, executes and reports an empirical study of a topic relevant to physician assistant. Topics typically concern issues is public health, PA education and training, or clinical practice. Each team documents its findings by submitting a written report to the department, and by presenting a poster to the College community.

    ·       Across the graduating classes of 2007 through 2015, 88 master’s projects have been completed.

    ·       About 20 percent of the projects have been presented at national and regional conferences (American Academy of Physician Assistants, Physician Assistant Education Association, and the New York State Society of Physician Assistants).

    Social Justice

     1) The Physician Assistant Student Society at Le Moyne lives the mission of both the college as well as the program. The student society encourages and supports academic achievement, clinical excellence and community engagement. Members volunteer in many community organizations and raise funds for organizations that support health and wellness in our community. This year they put together personal care packages for the homeless in Syracuse, and raised money to help support the efforts of Ophelia’s Place, an organization that helps individuals and families impacted by eating disorders, disordered eating and body dissatisfaction.  The students also hosted an American Red Cross Blood Drive, they collect food and clothing for local organizations to support people in the community. During the winter of 2015, the Department of Physician Assistant Studies and the Department of Nursing hosted a foot care clinic for the underserved in the city of Syracuse. They provided basic foot care, socks, shoes and comfort to people in need.  

     2) Anthony Vinciquerra, M.D., the Inaugural Julia and Thomas Lanigan Distinguished Chair in Medicine and Ethics for Le Moyne College, has developed projects that engage P.A. students through research, experiential learning, and special lectures presented by invited scholars from around the country annually.

    For example, when the historic Main Street of Dubois, Wyo, (host to  many Le Moyne PA students’ pioneer medicine rotations) caught fire with many landmark buildings completely destroyed, the PA class held a fundraiser for the “Needs of Dubois” 501c 3 organization, and raised $960.00 through a pancake breakfast and T-shirt sale. The monies raised helped displaced shop owners and their families cope with the tragedy in the small, Western town on the Wind River Range.

     Other examples of Dr Vinciquerra’s initiatives include the “Wyoming Project” which places select second-year PA students in rural clinics out West. One of the clinics is located on the Eastern Shoshone/Northern Arapaho Reservation. His approach engages PA students in an immersion experience that takes place over 5,000 square miles. Poverty and social disenfranchisement are common; health care providers, scarce.

    3) Lynn-Beth Satterly, M.D., associate director and professor of practice in the department of physician assistant studies, is the founding medical director for Amaus Health Services, facility in Syracuse that provides care for persons who are without insurance. 






    Get in Touch

    Contact the Department Chair:

    Mary Springston


    (315) 445-4745


    Contact the Department:

    Third Floor, Science Center Addition
    Le Moyne College
    1419 Salt Springs Road,
    Syracuse, NY 13214


    (315) 445-4745


    Admission Requirements and Application Process

    Office of Graduate Admission
    Grewen Hall Room 322

    Phone (315) 445-5444
    Fax (315) 445-6092
    Apply now

    PA Info Session Join us for an information session on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 101 of the science addition. Call 315-445-5444 or email with questions. Admission Requirements