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  • June 18, 2019

    Le Moyne’s Physician Assistant Program Receives $1.5 Million Grant for Primary Care Training and Enhancement

    Only Six Schools Nationwide to Receive Award

    Le Moyne College’s Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in order to promote primary care practice in rural and/or underserved areas among its graduates over a five-year period.

    With the grant, the College plans to expand its existing efforts to recruit more students from rural and/or underserved communities, since these students will often return to these areas after graduating to provide healthcare. The New York State Area Health Education Center (NYS AHEC) System is partnering with Le Moyne in its efforts to address workforce shortages and connect more healthcare professionals to locations where they are most needed.

    “Many rural New York communities are in desperate need of health care resources,” said Mary Springston PA-C, director of Le Moyne’s Physician Assistant Studies Program. “With this funding, the College has the opportunity to provide even more skilled, educated, and compassionate health care to those who need it the most.”

    Le Moyne is one of only six schools nationwide to be awarded the grant. Other schools to receive this funding include Christian Brothers University, Colorado Mesa University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Le Moyne College is the only school in the Northeast to be awarded the grant. According to the Commonwealth Fund’s 2019 Scorecard on State Health System Performance, deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drug overdose are on the rise nationally, but not all states are affected equally. In particular, states in New England and the Mid-Atlantic are especially impacted by the opioid crisis.

    Le Moyne’s PA Program aims to confront this epidemic in New York State by implementing evidence-based approaches to opioid and substance use disorders. Upon graduating, students will enter the workforce immediately prepared to address the opioid crisis, having received instruction in Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT) and completed clinical rotations with MAT-trained preceptors, who supervise and mentor students. The grant also allows the PA Program to tackle the issue of healthcare burnout by enhancing training for students, providers, and faculty members about the topic.

    “As a Jesuit institution, we are thrilled for the opportunity to give back to a community that has done so much for so many,” said Margaret Wells, Ph.D., dean of the Purcell School of Professional Studies, which contains Le Moyne’s PA Program. “Our students and faculty in the PA Program are empathetic individuals who are highly motivated to enact positive change in their field, and this grant provides them with the opportunity to expand our outreach.”

    Springston will serve as project director, working closely with Elizabeth Mercer PA-C, MPAS, an instructor and professor of practice who will serve as grant coordinator in order to oversee all grant activities. In an effort to model collaboration and interprofessional education, the PA Program will be partnering with Le Moyne’s Nursing Program and Occupational Therapy Program in its endeavors to address some of the most pressing issues facing healthcare today.

    “This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D57HP32745 entitled, Physician Assistant Training in Primary Care ($1,500,000, 0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.”
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