An affiliation agreement was signed December 28 between the Primary Care
Physician Assistant Program at Western University of Health Sciences
(WesternU) in Pomona, Calif., and Southwest Medical Associates in Las
Vegas. Earlier last month agreements were finalized between WesternU and
two other Las Vegas medical organizations: Pulmonary Associates and
Community Health Centers of Southern Nevada.
The three companies join several other Nevada health care organizations
partnering with the University, including University Medical Center, St.
Rose Dominican Hospital, Clark County Health District, Canyon Orthopedic
and New Life Cardiology; as well as more than 35 primary care and
specialty physicians in the Las Vegas area. The affiliation agreements
will allow WesternU to incorporate a new Southern Nevada Clinical Rotation
Track into its clinical rotation program for physician assistant students.
Currently, most of WesternU’s PA students stay in California to complete
the hands-on portion of their studies. The Las Vegas affiliations will
allow them to expand and specialize their experiences, especially as
University Medical Center is the only Level 1 trauma center in southern
Nevada and Southwest Medical Associates is Nevada’s largest multi-
specialty group practice.
“”It is very advantageous for students to have the opportunity to do
rotations in Nevada because laws governing PAs differ slightly from state
to state,”” said Roy Guizado, PA-C, chair of the department of physician
assistant education at WesternU. “”Southern Nevada has had a significant
influx in their population, and it’s WesternU’s goal to be able to select
students from the Nevada area and train them to provide health care in
Nevada’s primary care setting.””
WesternU currently offers a two-year physician assistant certificate
program, which will change to a master’s degree level beginning with the
fall 2000 entering class. The curriculum is designed so that students
learn important medical skills in a classroom setting during their first
year, and then spend their second year completing a series of clinical
rotations in various medical settings to apply what they’ve learned. The
Southern Nevada Clinical Rotation Track will be made available to a
portion of the school’s second-year students in the fall.
WesternU opened a regional office in Las Vegas in 1998 to explore
expansion of the clinical portion of the school’s PA program into Nevada.
The past year has been dedicated to laying the groundwork to establish
medical center affiliations to aid the University’s second-year PA
students in clinical rotations.
Although it is fairly common for PA programs to offer out-of-state
clinical rotations to students, it is rare for a health professions
university to establish an out-of-state rotational site as WesternU has.
“”Because of the growing residential population in southern Nevada, there’s
a real need in the community for more physician assistants to staff
clinics and emergency rooms,”” said Janet Wheble, the Las Vegas clinical
coordinator for WesternU’s Primary Care Physician Assistant Program. “”If
we can help place more students in Las Vegas rotations it will help fill
the need for quality health care providers in southern Nevada.””
For more information on the PA program at WesternU, contact (909) 469-5378.