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Release: Immediate

Asprey named permanent director of UI Physician Assistant Program

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- David Asprey recently was named director of the University of Iowa Physician Assistant (PA) Program, effective Oct. 8. The PA program is one of the health professions education programs in the UI College of Medicine.

Asprey earned a bachelor's of arts degree in biology in 1984 from Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn., and received a bachelor's of science degree in 1987 from the UI PA program. In 1993 he completed a master's degree in instructional design and technology from the UI College of Education. Asprey is in the final stage of completing a doctorate in higher education at the UI.

Asprey had served as the program's interim director since July 1997. In addition, he has previous experience in PA education as the program's director of clinical education, assistant director and associate director. Asprey's clinical experience as a PA includes his practice at the UI Hospitals and Clinics' department of pediatrics, division of pediatric cardiology.

PAs are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. They must graduate from an accredited PA educational program and/or receive certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Within the physician/PA relationship, PAs exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. They take medical histories, perform physical examinations and order tests. PAs often may serve as health care providers in smaller or rural communities that do not have physicians.

The UI PA Program at the UI is viewed as one of the nation's best. It ranks near the top of its peer group in national surveys and its graduates consistently score very high on their certifying exams. Since the program's inception, the pass rate for UI graduates on the exam is 99 percent as compared to a national average of 84 percent during the same time period. Performance reports released last January by the NCCPA, which administers the exam, placed the UI program between the 96th and 100th percentile compared to all other PA programs in the United States.