U Physician Assistant Program will Use PA Foundation Grant for International Training in Thailand

U Physician Assistant Program will Use PA Foundation Grant for International Training in Thailand

Aug 19, 2004 6:00 PM

The University of Utah Physician Assistant Program (UPAP) has received one of the first international program grants from the national Physician Assistant (PA) Foundation. The $4,500 grant will support UPAP's International Curriculum Development and student exchange project and help establish an international health curriculum and training site in Thailand.

The grant is part of the PA Foundation's Global Outreach Program, which provides support to organizations and individuals improving the quality of life in underserved areas of the United States and developing countries by creating sustainable improvement in health care or health education.

The grant is UPAP's first step in establishing an international training site in Thailand. Earlier this year, Donald Pedersen, Ph.D., professor and UPAP chair, led a U contingent to Thailand and met with educators from Thai universities. An international health curriculum has been finalized, and lecturers and clinical sites have been identified. Eventually, training partnerships and student exchanges will be formalized.

"American PAs who wish to embark on an overseas career should have, as part of their PA education, a professionally prepared curriculum drawn from long and relevant experience by the authors of their international health training program," said Douglas Barker, PA, international medicine coordinator at UPAP. "The curriculum UPAP will produce will provide an exceptional learning experience for our students. It may, in addition, provide a starting point for other PA programs, a new perspective, or a change in direction."

The grant will be used to write a curriculum for teaching a one-month PA elective in international health. Along with preparation of the curriculum, plans will be made for integrating the curriculum into teaching and partnership resources in Thailand to create an exemplary international medicine experience. The funding also will provide partial travel assistance for PA students.

Physician assistants are licensed health professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physicians. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in rural and urban settings. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and prescribe medications.

UPAP is ranked fifth in the nation in the "America's Best Graduate Schools 2004" edition of U.S. News & World Report. The program was established in 1971 as part of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. To date, the program has some 700 alumni.

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