About the Rutgers-UMDNJ Integration
The School of Health Related Professions was integrated to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, effective July 1, 2013. All programs will be continuing at current locations. Learn more about the Rutgers-UMDNJ Integration.
Physician Assistant Program
The Rutgers University Physician Assistant Program, located on the campus of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, confers a Master of Science degree upon completion of three years of didactic and clinical education.
There are two routes of entry into this program. Most students are admitted directly into the professional program after earning a baccalaureate degree and completing the required prerequisite courses. Another route of entry is for students who have not yet earned a baccalaureate degree. These students may be admitted into the articulated BA/MS program through one of our affiliated universities.
During the didactic phase of the Program, students study the basic sciences (anatomy, physiology, pathology, etc.) which provide a foundation for the clinical sciences (clinical medicine, physical diagnosis, etc.) During the clinical phase, we offer extensive training, including rotations in inpatient medicine, ambulatory care, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, emergency medicine, psychiatry, intensive care medicine, and a medical sub-specialty (cardiology, gastroenterology, HIV/AIDS, or geriatrics). During the final semester, students may choose an elective rotation from a wide variety of disciplines such as cardiology, infectious disease, dermatology, gastroenterology, and surgical subspecialties or arrange a rotation at a site of their choosing either within the US or abroad.
We believe our three-year curriculum affords the best opportunity for educating a physician assistant. Our graduates consistently achieve high pass rates on the PA National Certifying Examination (PANCE) with scores that place them in or above the 97th percentile nationwide.
The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Rutgers University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Rutgers University. 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remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards.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 2016. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.
Graduate Performance on the PANCE
The NCCPA PANCE Pass Rate Summary Report, as provided by the NCCPA through its program portal.
Program Mission Statement
The mission of the Rutgers University PA Program is to prepare primary care physician assistants who will provide health care under the supervision of a physician in a variety of settings in order to meet the needs of the community.
- To prepare graduates to assume the expanding roles and responsibilities expected of PAs in clinical practice
- To assure that graduates understand the role and limitations of PA practice
- To prepare graduates to provide humanistic health care with an emphasis on beneficence
- To enable graduates to enhance their personal and professional growth by continuing their education through formal offerings and voluntary independent study
- To foster the concept of a team approach to the practice of medicine
In January of 1975, the first class of physician assistant students entered the program which was founded by the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Rutgers Medical School and Rutgers University-School of Arts and Sciences. The program was developed by individuals from both institutions as a result of information gathered from local physicians in NJ regarding their interest in hiring a PA. At that time PAs were not authorized to practice, but it was believed by the time the first class graduated in May of 1977, legislation would be enacted. No one knew that it would be 15 years before this would be true.
In the meantime, the School of Health Related Professions (SHRP) in Newark had opened its doors in 1976 and assumed responsibility for the PA program. However, the program remained in Piscataway because of its affiliation with the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School faculty who teach many of the first year basic science courses. The College of Medicine and Dentistry became the University of Medicine and Dentistry and the UMDNJ – SHRP PA Program was named for its school affiliations.
In 1978, Ruth Fixelle, a graduate of the class of that same year joined the faculty as clinical supervisor and in 1981 she assumed the role of Program Director. She remained Program Director until her retirement in 2014. In 2014, Jill Reichman became the Program’s Director.
Under the leadership of Ruth Fixelle and Jill Reichman, who joined the faculty in 1981, improvements in the program began. These included the expansion of Histology and Cell Biology and Neuroanatomy to full semesters and the addition of other courses including Nutrition, Health Maintenance and Human Development, ECG Interpretation, Biochemistry, Problem Based Learning, Case Based Learning, and Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Until 1992 graduates of the Program found jobs outside of NJ. But in 1992, after years of lobbying by the program faculty and other members of the New Jersey State Society of Physician Assistants, legislation was passed allowing for PA practice in New Jersey.
In 1997, the Program awarded its first Master’s degrees to its graduates with the degree conferred by Rutgers-SHRP. Prior to that point, students were awarded a Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a Certificate of Completion from UMDNJ.
The first articulated BA/MS Program was founded with Rutgers University in 1996. This program was instituted to provide students with an alternate way of entering the profession and earning a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in six (6) years. The first individuals to complete this articulated program graduated in May, 1999. Today, the Program also has articulated BA/MS Programs with several other colleges and universities in New Jersey.
The Program began offering a dual MS/MPH degree in 2004. This offering allows students to complete their PA Master’s degree along with an MPH from the Rutgers School of Public Health within 4 years of full-time study. In July of 2013, UMDNJ merged with Rutgers University and the Program was renamed Rutgers University PA Program.
Over the years, the Program has continued to grow with a current class size of 50, a core faculty of 15, and a staff of five. The program continuously revises and updates its curriculum to meet the demands of the profession. Recent enhancements include such things as a curricular revision of the preclinical course work to a systems-based modular design and the introduction of iPads for students in the didactic phase of the program.
Please address comments or suggestions about this website to the MSPA-Piscataway webmaster or contact us by mail or phone:
Rutgers University Physician Assistant Program
675 Hoes Lane West
Piscataway, NJ 08854