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Health professions program will expand to Traverse City

Posted on November 03, 2014

Grand Valley will expand its Master's in Physician Assistant Studies program by opening a satellite location in Traverse City.

Grand Valley administrators and faculty members will celebrate this addition during a ribbon-cutting ceremony November 11 at the Traverse City Regional Center.

It is the first physician assistant studies program in Michigan that has been accredited to offer a satellite program.

Roy Olsson, dean of the College of Health Professions, and faculty members Andrew Booth and Theresa Bacon-Baguley will join Timothy Nelson, president of Northwestern Michigan College, and Dr. Rob Smith, medical director of Munson Medical Center’s Emergency Department, at the event.

The satellite program will open in the 2015 fall semester. Booth, chair of the MPAS department, said 12 students will be admitted in a cohort. Students in the Traverse City program in will interact daily with their counterparts at Grand Valley’s Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences in Grand Rapids through the use of ITV, a remote site classroom video system.

Olsson said adding the satellite program allows Grand Valley to enroll more students in the program overall, as students in Traverse City will spend their clinical year in northern Michigan health care facilities.

“One of our goals with this satellite program was to place more physician assistant graduates in jobs in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula,” Olsson said. “Educating students who complete their education and clinical experiences in northern Michigan should lead to more graduates staying in that area.”

Jean Nagelkerk, vice provost for Health, said expanding the university’s collaborative partnerships meets the needs of area residents. “We are delighted to participate in the development of a health care workforce with expertise in population health, team-based care, and primary health care,” Nagelkerk said.

The MPAS program has a proven track record; 100 percent of students in the last three cohorts to take the national licensure exam have passed on their first attempt, and the program has an overall first time pass rate of 98.6 percent since its inception in 1995.