Physician Assistant — M.P.A.

Loma Linda University offers a professional course of study leading to the Master of Physician Assistant (M.P.A.) degree. This degree prepares students for medical work as midlevel health-care professionals.

The program consists of didactic and clinical phases that run concurrently for eight quarters over a 24-month period. A new class is accepted annually. Students are selected from a variety of clinical backgrounds. Each applicant is evaluated based on the following: experience in patient care, duration of experience, level of patient contact, and degree of responsibility.

Mission statement

Loma Linda University Department of Physician Assistant (PA) Sciences educates primary care physician assistants who will provide health care in collaboration with physicians as active members of a professional health-care team. We are committed to excellence and compassion for the whole person and quality health care for under-served communities locally and globally, in accordance with the mission of Loma Linda University and the School of Allied Health Professions.

Vision

Graduates of the Loma Linda University Master of Physician Assistant Program will be recognized for professional excellence, integrity, empathy, teamwork, and advocating lifestyle changes to promote wholeness.

Program learning outcomes

In addition to the stated institutional learning outcomes, at the end of this program, the graduate should be able to:

  1. Apply the basic sciences to physician assistant sciences;

  2. Demonstrate clinical skills in patient care settings;

  3. Demonstrate critical-thinking skills in physician assistant sciences and practice;

  4. Exhibit professionalism appropriate for physician assistants;

  5. Provide culturally proficient, whole person care to individuals and communities;

  6. Demonstrate a commitment to the promotion of the physician assistant profession.

Goals

  1. To provide a curriculum whose required academic content and clinical experience equips graduates to provide competent medical care that will enhance the services of the medical profession.

  2. To graduate PAs who enhance the services of supervising physicians as part of the physician-PA team and collaborate with other members of an interdisciplinary health-care team to provide quality patient care.

  3. To graduate PAs who will utilize their education and training to make significant contributions to the health of the community.

  4. To graduate PAs who improve access to medical services by providing whole person care to those living in underserved communities.

  5. To graduate PAs who are culturally competent and able to care for diverse populations with compassion and excellence.

  6. To graduate PAs who will provide care with the highest ethical standards.

  7. To graduate PAs who will be life-long learners and actively engaged in the PA profession.

Housing

On-campus housing is available for men and women. For information on the men's dormitory (Daniells' Residence), call 909/558-4561. For information on the women's dormitory (Lindsay Hall), call 909/558-4561.

Financial assistance

For information regarding funding opportunities, see Student Aid in the financial polices section of this CATALOG.

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the Loma Linda University Physician Assistant program sponsored by Loma Linda 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 March 2027. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Applications are accepted between May 1 and October 1, 11:59 pm EST. Applications must be made through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants. This service is available at <caspaonline.org>. In addition, completion of a secondary application from Loma Linda University is required. Completed applications and all supporting documents must be received by the Department of Physician Assistant Sciences no later than December 15, 11:59 pm PST. Required interviews are granted to qualified applicants upon invitation by the admissions committee. The applicant must also complete the following requirements:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, completed by December 31 of the year of application.
  • An overall G.P.A. of at least 3.0 or higher and a science G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. 
  • Three letters of recommendation, one from a practicing M.D., D.O., or P.A. (not from shadowing, friend, or relative) with whom the applicant has worked in a paid patient care role.
  • Documented paid patient-care experience of 2,000 hours minimum by August 30th of the year of matriculation. It is preferred that this requirement be completed by the time the application is submitted. Student clinical, externship, internship, foreign medical hours, shadowing, and volunteer experience are not acceptable. Direct patient-care experiences are those professions which provide patient assessment, treatment, patient-care plans, and/or diagnostic testing. Preferred applicants will have direct patient-care experience working in clinical settings that involve a range of patient responsibility and a high level of critical thinking.
  • All prerequisite coursework completed at an accredited college before being admitted to a program in the School of Allied Health Professions. Note: Grades below C are not accepted as prerequisites.
  • A minimum score of 550 (paper based) or 80 (Internet based) from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must be submitted for any applicant whose native language is not English or whose secondary education has been given outside the United States. Any student with a score on the TOEFL writing test (TWE) of less than 5 will be required to do remedial work during the program and retake the TOEFL. TOEFL scores are valid for two years.
  • Prerequisites:
    • Only two prerequisite courses can be outstanding at the time of submission of the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants application (one science, one non-science), even if the course will be completed prior to the applicant submitting their supplemental application.
    • Science prerequisites must include an on-campus laboratory component.
    • All prerequisite course work must be taken at an institution accredited in the United States.

Prerequisite courses

College-level prerequisite courses include the following:

Human anatomy and physiology with an on-campus laboratory component, complete sequence OR separate courses in human anatomy with an on-campus laboratory component and human physiology with an on-campus laboratory component. Must cover all organ systems. (Introductory, X or XL courses not accepted)

General chemistry, one-year sequence with an on-campus laboratory component OR a sequence in inorganic, organic, AND biochemistry with an on-campus laboratory component. (three quarters or two semesters; inorganic can be introduction to chemistry or general chemistry I only. Organic and biochemistry cannot be introductory; X or XL courses are not accepted)

General microbiology with with an on-campus laboratory component. Must cover the four medically important areas: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. (Introductory, X or XL courses are not accepted)

General psychology (general psychology, introduction to psychology, human growth and development or developmental psychology)

General sociology (general sociology, introduction to sociology, principles of sociology or medical sociology)
or
Cultural anthropology (cultural anthropology  or introduction to cultural anthropology)

College-level algebra (college algebra, AP calculus, pre-calculus, calculus or trigonometry)

English composition, one year sequence (language courses not accepted; coursework must come from an accredited U.S. institution)

Recommended 

Statistics (will not satisfy the algebra prerequisite)
Medical terminology
Conversational Spanish

Preference given to

Seventh-day Adventists

Graduates of Loma Linda University

Applicants from underrepresented populations

Applicants with a history of meaningful, continuous involvement in community service consistent with the mission and values of Loma Linda University

Applicants with documented military service

First YearUnits
PAST 501Anatomy for Physician Assistants I2
PAST 502Anatomy for Physician Assistants II2
PAST 503Anatomy for Physician Assistants III2
PAST 504Primary Care Pediatrics2
PAST 505Women's Health Care2
PAST 511Pharmacology for Physician Assistants I2
PAST 512Pharmacology for Physician Assistants II2
PAST 513Pharmacology for Physician Assistants III2
PAST 530Diagnostic Techniques for Physician Assistants I1
PAST 531Diagnostic Techniques for Physician Assistants II1
PAST 532Diagnostic Techniques for Physician Assistants III1
PAST 533Diagnostic Techniques for Physician Assistants IV1
PAST 547Basic Medical Science3
PAST 551Normal and Pathologic Physiology for Physician Assistants I2
PAST 552Normal and Pathologic Physiology for Physician Assistants II2
PAST 553Normal and Pathologic Physiology for Physician Assistants III2
PAST 554Clinical Skills for Physician Assistants5
PAST 556Preventive Medicine and Health Promotion2
PAST 558Psychiatry for Physician Assistants3
PAST 571Multicultural Competencies for Physician Assistants3
PAST 572Culture and Community for Physician Assistants3
PAST 575Clinical Correlation for Physician Assistants I1
PAST 576Clinical Correlation for Physician Assistants II1
PAST 577Clinical Correlation for Physician Assistants III1
PAST 578Clinical Correlation for Physician Assistants IV1
PAST 581Physical Diagnosis for Physician Assistants I2
PAST 582Physical Diagnosis for Physician Assistants II3
PAST 583Physical Diagnosis for Physician Assistants III2
PAST 584Physical Diagnosis for Physician Assistants IV2
PAST 591Clinical Medicine for Physician Assistants I3
PAST 592Clinical Medicine for Physician Assistants II3
PAST 593Clinical Medicine for Physician Assistants III3
PAST 594Clinical Medicine for Physician Assistants IV2
PAST 601Evidence-Based Medicine for Physician Assistants I2
PAST 602Evidence-Based Medicine for Physician Assistants II2
RELE 505Clinical Ethics3
Second Year
PAST 516APhysician Assistant Professional Issues1
PAST 516BPhysician Assistant Professional Issues1
PAST 603ACapstone1
PAST 603BCapstone1
PAST 701Rotation I6
PAST 702Rotation II6
PAST 703Rotation III6
PAST 704Rotation IV6
PAST 705Rotation V6
PAST 706Rotation VI6
PAST 707Rotation VII6
PAST 708Rotation VIII6
 Total Units: 128

Eight six-week clinical rotations, including: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, general surgery, emergency medicine, behavioral medicine, and one elective are required.

Normal time to complete the program

2.33 years (eight [8] academic quarters) — full-time enrollment required

Courses

PAST 501. Anatomy for Physician Assistants I. 2 Units.

First of three courses in anatomy for physician assistants. Study of the anatomical structure of the human body by organ system. Includes dissection of cadavers and preserved specimens; and, histology, anatomic relations, and the anatomical basis for disease, injury and dysfunction.

PAST 502. Anatomy for Physician Assistants II. 2 Units.

Second of three courses in anatomy for physician assistants. Study of the anatomical structure of the human body by organ system. Includes dissection of cadavers and preserved specimens; and, histology, anatomic relations, and the anatomical basis for disease, injury and dysfunction.
Prerequisite: PAST 501.

PAST 503. Anatomy for Physician Assistants III. 2 Units.

Third of three courses in anatomy for physician assistants. Study of the anatomical structure of the human body by organ system. Includes dissection of cadavers and preserved specimens; and, histology, anatomic relations, and the anatomical basis for disease, injury and dysfunction.
Prerequisite: PAST 501, PAST 502.

PAST 504. Primary Care Pediatrics. 2 Units.

Introduces common medical and surgical disorders encountered in pediatric medicine. Emphasizes primary care concepts in the care of children. Introduces rare disorders that the physician assistant may encounter in primary care. Presentation of disease processes mirrors adult medicine by discussing etiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnostic work-up, and management.

PAST 505. Women's Health Care. 2 Units.

Common problems encountered in caring for women; management of these problems. Etiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and diagnostic work-up.

PAST 511. Pharmacology for Physician Assistants I. 2 Units.

The first of three parts of a continuum of courses that study the basic concepts of pharmaceuticals used in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases—including a systematic presentation of pharmacology and the therapeutic value of the drugs used in medicine. Related topics include drug legislation, routes of administration, adverse effects, drug interactions, and drug toxicity, with special consideration to pediatric and geriatric pharmacology.

PAST 512. Pharmacology for Physician Assistants II. 2 Units.

The second of three parts of a continuum of courses that studies the basic concepts of pharmaceuticals used in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases--including a systematic presentation of pharmacology, and the therapeutic value of the drugs used in medicine. Related topics include drug legislation, routes of administration, adverse effects, drug interactions, and drug toxicity, with special consideration to pediatric and geriatric pharmacology.
Prerequisite: PAST 511.

PAST 513. Pharmacology for Physician Assistants III. 2 Units.

The third of three parts of a continuum of courses that studies the basic concepts of pharmaceuticals used in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases—including a systematic presentation of pharmacology and the therapeutic value of the drugs used in medicine. Related topics include drug legislation, routes of administration, adverse effects, drug interactions, and drug toxicity, with special consideration of pediatric and geriatric pharmacology.
Prerequisite: PAST 511, PAST 512.

PAST 516A. Physician Assistant Professional Issues. 1 Unit.

A history of the physician assistant (PA) profession and current trends and issues. Includes the PA's role in health-care delivery, political, legal, and intraprofessional factors that affect PA practice, and the PA's role in relation to physicians and other health-care providers. Addresses professional responsibility and biomedical ethics, professional organizations, program accreditation, graduate certification and recertification, employment consideration.

PAST 516B. Physician Assistant Professional Issues. 1 Unit.

Continues PAST 516A.
Prerequisite: PAST 516A.

PAST 530. Diagnostic Techniques for Physician Assistants I. 1 Unit.

Introduces laboratory investigations and imaging techniques used to confirm or exclude probable diagnoses. Acquire and apply knowledge, skills and medical reasoning required to select both screening and confirmatory tests in a medically sound, cost-effective manner.

PAST 531. Diagnostic Techniques for Physician Assistants II. 1 Unit.

Introduces and applies laboratory investigations and imaging techniques used to confirm or exclude probable diagnoses. Acquire and apply knowledge, skills and medical reasoning required to select both screening and confirmatory tests in a medically sound, cost-effective manner.
Prerequisite: PAST 530.

PAST 532. Diagnostic Techniques for Physician Assistants III. 1 Unit.

Introduces and applies laboratory investigations and imaging techniques used to confirm or exclude probable diagnoses. Acquire and apply knowledge, skills and medical reasoning required to select both screening and confirmatory tests in a medically sound, cost-effective manner.
Prerequisite: PAST 530, PAST 531.

PAST 533. Diagnostic Techniques for Physician Assistants IV. 1 Unit.

Introduces and applies laboratory investigations and imaging techniques used to confirm or exclude probable diagnoses. Acquire and apply knowledge, skills and medical reasoning required to select both screening and confirmatory tests in a medically sound, cost-effective manner.
Prerequisite: PAST 530, PAST 531, PAST 532.

PAST 547. Basic Medical Science. 3 Units.

Provides an overview of scientific principles as they pertain to the practice of clinical medicine. Emphasizes microorganisms commonly encountered by physician assistants in clinical practice. Provides a foundation for principles of clinical medicine and pharmacology.

PAST 551. Normal and Pathologic Physiology for Physician Assistants I. 2 Units.

Exploration of normal physiological function from a systems-based medical perspective which serves as a foundation for understanding the process of disease. Includes etiology, pathogenesis, and clinical manifestations of medical disorders.

PAST 552. Normal and Pathologic Physiology for Physician Assistants II. 2 Units.

Exploration of normal physiological function from a systems-based medical perspective which serves as a foundation for understanding the process of disease. Includes etiology, pathogenesis, and clinical manifestations of medical disorders.
Prerequisite: PAST 551.

PAST 553. Normal and Pathologic Physiology for Physician Assistants III. 2 Units.

Exploration of normal physiological function from a systems-based medical perspective which serves as a foundation for understanding the process of disease. Includes etiology, pathogenesis, and clinical manifestations of medical disorders.
Prerequisite: PAST 551, PAST 552.

PAST 554. Clinical Skills for Physician Assistants. 5 Units.

Introduces the basic skills and knowledge needed to evaluate and treat common illnesses and injuries. Safety, aseptic technique, BLS, ACLS, wound care, local anesthesia, suturing, casting, splinting, use of various tubes and drains, and emergency medicine; and surgery for physician assistants. Includes participation in clinical simulations for enhanced skill development.

PAST 556. Preventive Medicine and Health Promotion. 2 Units.

Selected topics dealing with disease prevention. Includes relevance of statistics, epidemiology, research designs, and clinical trials; and, disease trends and lifestyle modification. Examines the roles of physical activity, nutrition, immunization, and public health as approaches in communicable disease prevention. Addresses clinical preventive services leading to tailored health maintenance plans for individual patients.

PAST 558. Psychiatry for Physician Assistants. 3 Units.

Focuses on diagnosis and treatment of major psychiatric and mental disorders. Topics include depression, anxiety, phobias, substance and eating disorders, somatoform, psychoses, neuroses, and personality disorders.

PAST 571. Multicultural Competencies for Physician Assistants. 3 Units.

Reviews and evaluates strategies for providing culturally and linguistically competent care in clinical practice. Emphasizes care of the Spanish-speaking patient.

PAST 572. Culture and Community for Physician Assistants. 3 Units.

Emphasizes health and medicine. Obtain cross-cultural experience while interacting with non-English-speaking patients, and gaining a greater understanding of patient culture. Requires completion of a community-based service project and immersion within local community.

PAST 575. Clinical Correlation for Physician Assistants I. 1 Unit.

Addresses critical thought process needed for diagnosis and management of clinical problems.

PAST 576. Clinical Correlation for Physician Assistants II. 1 Unit.

Teaches students to apply knowledge gained throughout the didactic curriculum via an interactive learning experience. Emphasizes the critical thought process needed for diagnosis and management of clinical problems.
Prerequisite: PAST 575.

PAST 577. Clinical Correlation for Physician Assistants III. 1 Unit.

Emphasizes critical thought process needed for diagnosis and management of clinical problems.
Prerequisite: PAST 575, PAST 576.

PAST 578. Clinical Correlation for Physician Assistants IV. 1 Unit.

Emphasizes the critical thought process needed for diagnosis and management of clinical problems.
Prerequisite: PAST 575, PAST 576, PAST 577.

PAST 581. Physical Diagnosis for Physician Assistants I. 2 Units.

Part one of a four-part sequence of lecture, demonstration, and practice in the art and science of obtaining a complete medical history and performing the physical examination.

PAST 582. Physical Diagnosis for Physician Assistants II. 3 Units.

Part two of a four-part sequence of lecture, demonstration, and practice in the art and science of obtaining a complete medical history and performing the physical examination.
Prerequisite: PAST 581.

PAST 583. Physical Diagnosis for Physician Assistants III. 2 Units.

Part three of a four-part sequence of lecture, demonstration, and practice in the art and science of obtaining a complete medical history and performing the physical examination.
Prerequisite: PAST 582.

PAST 584. Physical Diagnosis for Physician Assistants IV. 2 Units.

Part four of a four-part sequence of lecture, demonstration, and practice in the art and science of obtaining a complete medical history and performing the physical examination. Requires satisfactory completion of the comprehensive physical examination and the didactic year objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).
Prerequisite: PAST 583.

PAST 591. Clinical Medicine for Physician Assistants I. 3 Units.

Introduction to common medical disorders encountered in primary care and management of these disorders. Includes, clinical presentation, etiology, pathophysiology, diagnostic work-up, and management of the conditions studied. Based upon NCCPA blueprint standards.

PAST 592. Clinical Medicine for Physician Assistants II. 3 Units.

Second of four courses that study common medical disorders encountered in primary care, as well as the management of these disorders. Includes the clinical presentation, etiology, pathophysiology, diagnostic work-up, and management of the conditions studied. Course objectives and specific learning objectives based on NCCPA blueprint.
Prerequisite: PAST 591.

PAST 593. Clinical Medicine for Physician Assistants III. 3 Units.

Third of four courses that study common medical disorders encountered in primary care, as well as the management of these disorders. Includes the clinical presentation, etiology, pathophysiology, diagnostic work-up, and management of the conditions studied. Course objectives and specific learning objectives based upon NCCPA blueprint.
Prerequisite: PAST 591, PAST 592.

PAST 594. Clinical Medicine for Physician Assistants IV. 2 Units.

Fourth of four courses that study common medical disorders encountered in primary care, as well as the management of these disorders. Includes the clinical presentation, etiology, pathophysiology, diagnostic work-up, and management of the conditions studied. Course objectives and specific learning objectives based upon NCCPA blueprint.
Prerequisite: PAST 591, PAST 592, PAST 593.

PAST 601. Evidence-Based Medicine for Physician Assistants I. 2 Units.

Introduces student to evidence-based practice, emphasizing the use of medical literature to evaluate and improve the practice of clinical medicine. Teaches student to assess medically oriented information online, as well as evidence-based medicine databases.

PAST 602. Evidence-Based Medicine for Physician Assistants II. 2 Units.

Application of evidence-based medicine to the development of a literature review on a selected topic in physician assistant practice. Begins in Winter Quarter with completion in the Summer Quarter. Preparation for the Capstone project.
Prerequisite: PAST 601.

PAST 603A. Capstone. 1 Unit.

Investigation of topic related to area of interest within primary care or PA profession using evidence-based approach. Includes completion of capstone project and personal portfolio reflective of university values.
Prerequisite: PAST 602.

PAST 603B. Capstone. 1 Unit.

Continues PAST 603A.
Prerequisite: PAST 603A.

PAST 701. Rotation I. 6 Units.

A required six-week rotation in outpatient and/or inpatient settings in any of the following areas of concentration: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, emergency medicine, psychiatry/behavioral medicine; and elective rotations through a medical or surgical service of choice.

PAST 702. Rotation II. 6 Units.

A required six-week rotation in outpatient and/or inpatient settings in any of the following areas of concentration: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, emergency medicine, psychiatry/behavioral medicine; and elective rotation through a medical or surgical service of choice.

PAST 703. Rotation III. 6 Units.

A required six-week rotation in outpatient and/or inpatient settings in any of the following areas of concentration: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, emergency medicine, psychiatry/behavioral medicine; and elective rotation through a medical or surgical service of choice.

PAST 704. Rotation IV. 6 Units.

A required six-week rotation in outpatient and/or inpatient settings in any of the following areas of concentration: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, emergency medicine, psychiatry/behavioral medicine; and elective rotation through a medical or surgical service of choice.

PAST 705. Rotation V. 6 Units.

A required six-week rotation in outpatient and/or inpatient settings in any of the following areas of concentration: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, emergency medicine, psychiatry/behavioral medicine; and elective rotation through a medical or surgical service of choice.

PAST 706. Rotation VI. 6 Units.

A required six-week rotation in outpatient and/or inpatient settings in any of the following areas of concentration: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, emergency medicine, psychiatry/behavioral medicine; and elective rotation through a medical or surgical service of choice.

PAST 707. Rotation VII. 6 Units.

A required six-week rotation in outpatient and/or inpatient settings in any of the following areas of concentration: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, emergency medicine, psychiatry/behavioral medicine; and elective rotation through a medical or surgical service of choice.

PAST 708. Rotation VIII. 6 Units.

A required six-week rotation in outpatient and/or inpatient settings in any of the following areas of concentration: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, emergency medicine, psychiatry/behavioral medicine; and elective rotation through a medical or surgical service of choice.