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CMU Physician Assistant Program Achieves Accreditation-Continued Status in Tandem with Student Accolades

In addition to earning final accreditation, CMU PA students win prestigious 2024 CAPA awards

Kicking off 2024, students and faculty housed in the St. Mary’s Medical Education Center have much to celebrate. Colorado Mesa University’s competitive Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) Program has reached an important milestone by receiving its Accreditation-Continued status from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA). Simultaneously, three MPAS students are recipients of the 2024 Colorado Academy of Physician Assistants awards.

In order to receive accreditation-continued status, the program underwent a comprehensive review which included a site visit and deep dive into the accreditation history going back to when it was first accredited in September of 2018. It’s a tremendous attainment that speaks to the quality of education at CMU and the work that’s being done both in the classroom and with preceptors during clinical rotations.

“Receiving accreditation for our physician assistant program marks a significant milestone in our university's commitment to providing exceptional healthcare education. This achievement not only reflects the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff but also reaffirms our promise to equip our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their future careers. We are proud to contribute to the healthcare community by preparing competent and compassionate healthcare professionals ready to meet the challenges of today's dynamic healthcare environment,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Cher Hendricks, PhD.

This recognition is a testament to the program's commitment to meeting the highest standards in physician assistant education and to serving a region that desperately needs knowledgeable, caring healthcare professionals.

“Receiving this accreditation status is a testament to the quality of the program and the skilled faculty that dedicate their time to educate the next generation of physician assistants. Incredible accomplishments are coming out of this program, the winners of the Colorado Academy of Physician Assistants awards being a great example,” said Department Head of Kinesiology Jeremy Hawkins, PhD. 

The program, which has a maximum class size of 28, recently received word that three of their students were nominated and won the Colorado Academy of Physician Assistants PA Student of the Year and PA Student Scholarship awards.

CMU’s Sarah Kay Pollock is the CAPA 2024 Student of the year. This award recognizes a PA student’s dedication to the profession and is awarded based on the PA student's character, leadership qualities and dedication to fostering the purpose of the profession. CMU students Rachel Greene and Taylor Teske both received $500 each for winning the Student Scholarship award. They were selected for the award based on their community service involvement, leadership skills, academic achievement and goals as a future PA.

CAPA is a chapter of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Its purpose is to promote the PA profession to Colorado's community, provide community health education projects, offer continued education and ensure proper use of PAs in the State of Colorado. 

CMU’s PA program is 27 months and consists of didactic and clinical academic work. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for physician assistants through the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and can then apply for licensure through the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners.

Faculty support students through the program’s mission by providing a learner-centered environment that educates competent and compassionate PAs, who are committed to leading through service in their career and communities.


The program’s next review is tentatively scheduled for September 2033.  


Written by Kelsey Coleman