Program History

Milestones

  • 1972 PA Program (PAP), affiliated with the UF College of Medicine (COM), was established as an Associate of Science degree program at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville. First class begins.
  • 1974 First class graduates.
  • 1977 PAP moves to UF COM as a Bachelor of Science degree program.
  • 1983 PAP moves to UF College of Allied Health Professions with pledged resources and support from UF COM.
  • 1993 PAP returns to COM with the Department of Medicine as its academic home.
  • 1994 PAP doubles enrollment from classes of 30 to classes of 60 in response to legislative mandate.
  • 1996 PAP changes to a graduate level degree program offering the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree.
  • 2009 PAP becomes the School of Physician Assistant Studies (SPAS) and moves to department-level within the College of Medicine.
  • 2015 Through the generosity of one of its graduates, SPAS offices moved into the Randolph S. Mahoney, PA, School of Physician Assistant Studies Suite in the newly constructed Harrell Medical Education Building. The move signifies a first that UF’s medicine and physician assistant schools are housed exclusively together.

Institutional and Degree History

The current School of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Florida had its inception as the Physician Assistant Program at the local community college, Santa Fe Community College, in 1972, where it remained for five years, awarding the Associate of Science degree upon successful completion of the program. In 1977, the program moved to the College of Medicine at the University of Florida and began to confer the Bachelor of Science degree upon its graduates. The program moved to the College of Allied Health Professions in 1983, where it was housed for 10 years. In 1993, the program made its final move to the College of Medicine, where it has permanently remained.

In 1994, enrollment doubled from 30 students per class to 60 students per class, and in 1996, the program was upgraded to a graduate-level program with graduates receiving the Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree upon successful completion of the program.

In 2009, the Board of Trustees granted the status of “School” to the program, and the School of Physician Assistant Studies now holds a department-level status equivalent to all other departments within the College of Medicine.

Accreditation

Every Physician Assistant Program must be accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and must continue to renew its accreditation at intervals determined by ARC-PA in order to remain in operation. The current University of Florida School of Physician Assistant Studies was first accredited in 1973 as an Associate-level program at Santa Fe Community College. Since the school’s inception, its accreditation has consistently been renewed. The school is presently accredited until September 2027.

In order to ensure continued adherence to its own standards of excellence as well as to the Essentials of an Accredited Physician Assistant Program as established by the accrediting body, the University of Florida School of Physician Assistant Studies conducts an annual self-study and prepares an internal Self-Study Report that defines program goals and objectives deemed essential for carrying out its mission. This report facilitates both the internal evaluation of the school by PA administration as well as the external review by ARC-PA.

The next site visit associated with the school’s re-accreditation process will occur in 2027.

http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-university-of-florida/