University of Southern California
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Department of Family Medicine

Primary Care Physician Assistant Program

1000 South Fremont Avenue
Unit 7
Building A6, Room 6429
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 457-4240
FAX: (626) 457-4245

Program Director: Theresa A. Woehrle, M.D.

Medical Director: Ignacio DeArtola, M.D.


Ricardo Hahn, M.D. Chair and Professor

Assistant Professors of Clinical Family Medicine: M. Blesofsky; R. Byous; I. DeArtola; J. Forman; L. Landry-Taylor; J. Mabee

Instructor of Clinical Family Medicine: M. Lucio

Clinical Instructors in Family Medicine: R. Bradley; L. Kirakosian; J. Tramel

The faculty listed are core faculty with the Primary Care Physician Assistant Program.

The Primary Care Physician Assistant Program prepares students to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. Students earn a Master of Physician Assistant Practice (MPAP) upon completion of the program.

Based in the Department of Family Medicine, classroom instruction is provided by physician assistant program faculty and faculty from other departments within the Keck School of Medicine, the USC School of Pharmacy, divisions within the Health Sciences campus, as well as clinicians from the surrounding communities. Emphasis is placed on primary care. Clinical training occurs at dozens of clinical sites throughout the greater Los Angeles region, including Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (San Bernardino County Medical Center), Ventura County Medical Center, and a range of private offices and managed care settings, community based clinics, VA facilities and specialty settings. Opportunities to train in selected off-site settings serving Native American populations in the Southwest are available to some students.

Students complete clerkships in emergency medicine and urgent care, family medicine, internal medicine/geriatrics, women's health, orthopaedics/occupational medicine, pediatrics and general surgery. Throughout these clerkships emphasis is placed on obtaining necessary clinical skills as well as learning to provide primary care services as part of a health care team. The physician assistant program is committed to recruiting disadvantaged applicants and to preparing graduates to practice in medically underserved areas.

The USC Primary Care Physician Assistant Program is accredited by the Accreditation Review Committee on Education for the Physician Assistant which is sponsored by seven medical national associations including the American Medical Association. The program is approved by the Physician Assistant Committee of the Medical Board of California. Graduates must pass a National Certifying Examination to qualify for licensure in California.

Master of Physician Assistant Practice

Admission Requirements and Procedures
Application to the Physician Assistant Program requires completion of a bachelor's degree (in any discipline) from an accredited four-year institution and completion of academic prerequisite requirements.

Admission to the program is for the fall semester only. Admission is granted by the physician assistant faculty after careful review of all applications. Selections are made on the basis of a formal interview (for competitive applicants) and consideration of a variety of factors which include: academic record, type and amount of clinical experience, multicultural sensitivity, community service experience and personal and professional experience.

Applicants are required to submit a main application through the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants as well as a USC Supplemental Application by December 1 of each year. Further details regarding admission procedures are provided in the program information packet.

Transfer Students
Transfer students from other U.S. accredited physician assistant programs or medical schools as well as from foreign medical schools are required to complete the full Master of Physician Assistant Practice curriculum in residence at USC. No waivers or substitutions are permitted.

Preparation in Education Program
The Preparation in Education Program (PEP) is designed to enhance the mission of the USC Physician Assistant Program by strengthening the application of students who are from educationally or economically disadvantaged backgrounds. For further information, contact the PEP coordinator at (626) 457-4247 or (626) 457-4272 (FAX).

Students receive information regarding registration procedures during an orientation program held the week before classes begin.

A monthly information session is available for prospective students who would like to receive more information in preparation for the program. Students who are interested in applying to the program are encouraged to visit the PA Program Web site at or call the PA Admission Office at (626) 457-4247.

Degree Prerequisites
A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and completion of all prerequisite course work are required for admission to the Physician Assistant Program.

Science Prerequisites
Six semester units or nine quarter units each: general biology with lab; general chemistry with lab.

Three semester units or four quarter units of each of the following: human anatomy with lab; physiology with lab; microbiology with lab; intermediate algebra; and elementary statistics.

Students are expected to have a strong competency in medical terminology.

Non-Science Prerequisites
Six semester units or eight quarter units each: English composition (6) or English composition (3) and critical thinking (3) or logic (3); social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology); humanities (e.g., art, music, philosophy, religion).

Three semester units or four quarter units each: general psychology (does not count toward six semester or eight quarter units of social sciences listed above); foreign language (Spanish is strongly recommended).

Students who intend to apply to the Physician Assistant Program should contact the admission office for evaluation of previous baccalaureate and/or post-baccalaureate course work.

Standardized Tests
The GRE (Aptitude) or the MCAT are required.

Clinical Experience Prerequisite
A minimum of 1,000 hours of "hands-on" patient care experience is required. Successful applicants often have worked as one of the following: emergency medical technician, licensed vocational nurse, medical technologist, military medical corpsman, paramedic, psychiatric technician, radiologic technician, respiratory therapist, registered nurse or medical assistant. Other health care experience is equally acceptable as long as the experience is "hands-on" in nature.

Community Service Prerequisite
Community service activities/projects are required of all applicants. Service which benefits medically underserved or disadvantaged groups is highly desirable.

Curriculum Requirements
The completion of a three-year professional curriculum is required to earn the Master of Physician Assistant Practice degree. Students do not have choices of courses to take nor are they permitted to drop any course or courses during the semester. Progress is permitted only when the prior semester is completed in full. Students should view the curriculum outlined here as advisory only and subject to modification.

Degree Requirements
All students in the Master of Physician Assistant Practice degree program must meet course and grade point average requirements. All course requirements must be completed with a grade of "B" or better. The degree will not be conferred until the student has successfully completed all degree requirements. Students are subject to the degree requirements in the catalogue current for the semester of their admission into the program.

Upper Division Requirements
Physician assistant students are enrolled in a standard curriculum during their three years in the program. The following courses must be successfully completed in order to earn the Master of Physician Assistant Practice. Only physician assistant students may enroll in these courses. Departmental clearance is required to enroll.

Year I, Fall Semesterunits
PCPA 503 Behavioral Sciences I 4
PCPA 523 Clinical Skills I4
PCPA 530Basic Medical Sciences6
PCPA 543 Topics in Medicine I4

Year I, Spring Semesterunits
PCPA 506 Behavioral Sciences II4
PCPA 526 Clinical Skills II6
PCPA 546 Topics in Medicine II6

Year II, Fall Semesterunits
PCPA 509 Behavioral Sciences III4
PCPA 529 Clinical Skills III6
PCPA 549 Topics in Medicine III6

Year II, Spring Semesterunits
PCPA 561Clinical Assignment I3.5
PCPA 562Clinical Assignment II3.5
PCPA 564aClinical Assignment IV3.5
PCPA 565aClinical Assignment V3.5

Year II, Summer Sessionunits
PCPA 564bClinical Assignment IV0
PCPA 565bClinical Assignment V0

Year III, Fall Semesterunits
PCPA 563Clinical Assignment III3.5
PCPA 566Clinical Assignment VI3.5
PCPA 567Clinical Assignment VII3.5
PCPA 568Clinical Assignment VIII3.5

Year III, Spring Semesterunits
PCPA 532Clinical Skills IV3
PCPA 583 Advanced Topics in PA Studies: Education4
PCPA 586 Advanced Topics in PA Studies: Research4
PCPA 589 Advanced Topics in PA Studies: Medical Care Organization4

Requests for further information may be addressed to: USC Physician Assistant Program, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1000 South Fremont Avenue, Unit 7, Building A6, Room 6429, Alhambra, CA 91803.