AACC discontinues physician assistant program


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The college’s 26-year-old physician assistant program will end this summer.

Zack Buster, Associate Editor

AACC is discontinuing its physician assistant program after this semester.

Health and Sciences Dean Elizabeth Appel said AACC has partnered with University of Maryland Baltimore to offer a physician assistant program since 1996. That partnership is ending because new rules for physician assistant programs require all of the schools involved to offer master’s degrees.

AACC, like other community colleges, cannot offer master’s degrees.

The last cohort of physician assistant students at AACC will graduate in July, Appel said. 

As part of the partnership, physician assistant students took 86 credits–of the 116 required–at AACC from professors affiliated with UMB. During the same 25-month period, they took their remaining 30 credits at UMB.

Students in the program, who qualified for it only after earning their bachelor’s degrees, finish with an AACC certificate and a master’s degree from UMB.

Some physician assistant students said the change will not affect their plans.

“I’m kind of indifferent,” first-year student Kim Vuong said. “The facilities might change, but the teachers are still the same.”

She added: “But parking’s going to be worse” at UMB than at AACC.

Shant Jarian, also in his first year, agreed.

“I’m kind of indifferent too,” said Jarian, who added that the change was not unexpected. “They did tell us before that they’re starting to transition over to completely UMB.”

Cherilyn Hendrix, AACC’s assistant dean for physician assistant education, said she is sad to see the end of an era.

Hendrix said this semester is “kind of bittersweet” as the final students finish their time at AACC. “This program is very near and dear to my heart.”