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Release: March 8, 2002

UI Physician Assistant Program's graduates excel on national certification exam

Continuing with the tradition of excellence established by their predecessors, the 23 graduates for the class of 2001 University of Iowa Physician Assistant (PA) Program passed and scored among the best in the country on the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination.

The 100 percent pass rate put the UI program at the 97th percentile among the 100 PA programs with more than five first-time exam takers. From 1974 to 2001, the UI first-time pass rate is greater than 99 percent. The national average during the same period was approximately 85 percent.

"We believe this level of achievement reflects the quality of education that the PA students receive from the College of Medicine," said David Asprey, Ph.D., director of the University's PA Program. "We are very proud of the tradition of excellence that our graduates have established. Our graduates are well prepared to enter the profession and provide high quality health care to the Iowans and the rest of the nation."

Iowa's 23 PA graduates took the exam last October. Passing the test is necessary for the PAs to obtain their licenses in all states.

Asprey attributed the UI's success to the program's curriculum, which is highly integrated into the medical school curriculum, and the caliber of its students. The curriculum for PA students at the UI is far more heavily integrated with that of the medical students than any other PA program in the country. More than 60 percent of the didactic curriculum completed by the PA students is taken with the second-year medical students. In addition, because of the program's reputation and curriculum, the program attracts exceptional students who are more apt to excel, Asprey said.

The UI program is one of 130 accredited PA programs in the country and one of the100 programs with more than five exam takers last year. The College of Medicine established the 25-month program in 1972. Since that time, the UI has graduated 557 PAs.

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