Grand Valley State Universitys College of Health Professions is located in a very unique setting within West Michigan. Situated on what is known as Health Hill in Grand Rapids, the Physician Assistant Studies program is ideally located steps away from Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus and the Van Andel Research Institute. The university is an integral partner with multiple healthcare systems, agencies, and institutions of higher education in the region. Housed along with the Kirkhof College of Nursing in a new, state-of-the-art facility, the Physician Assistant Studies program emphasizes active scholarship, innovation, and outreach, and a philosophy that values liberal education and interdisciplinary collaborations. Along with these collaborations are extensive discussions about opportunities to address the national and statewide physician shortages, with the role of post-graduate PA residency training as one such opportunity.
According to the Association of Post-Graduate Physician Assistant Program, Employment opportunities and roles for PA's are rapidly expanding to include a high proportion of specialty areas. The PAEA Annual Report reports the following distribution of PA's by specialty as:
% of PA's employed in specialty area
Family / General Medicine 36% General Surgery & Surgical Subspecialties 20% Internal Medicine and IM subspecialties 17% Emergency Medicine 10% Pediatrics 4% OB/GYN 3% Other 10%
% of PA's employed in work settings
Hospital 37% Group Practice 27% Ambulatory Care 11% Solo MD Practice 10% Other Settings 10% HMO/Managed Care 4%
Because of this diversity and specialization, formal postgraduate training is assuming a greater importance as an adjunct to PA primary care education. Postgraduate curriculums are designed to build upon the knowledge and experience acquired in PA school enabling the PA to competently assume a role as physician assistant on a specialty health care team. Many postgraduate programs have pioneered the role of the PA in these specialty areas and offer experienced role models as well as formalized instruction.
Information about postgraduate PA educational opportunities is available to students and graduate PA's interested in the medical specialties at the Association of Post-Graduate Physician Assistant Programs website. Applications and further information may be obtained by contacting individual postgraduate programs.