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UTHSC Physician Assistant Program Achieves 100% First-Time Board Pass Rate

The Physician Assistant Class of 2018 received a 100% first-time pass rate on the recent PANCE. (Photo by Allen Gillespie/UTHSC)

Graduates from the 2018 cohort of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Physician Assistant Program, which included 25 students, earned a 100% first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). The UTHSC PA Program was the only program that graduated students in 2018 with a 100% pass rate.

Issued by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, the Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) designates that practitioners have the knowledge and clinical skills needed for practice.

“The credit goes to all of our dedicated faculty and to the students who put in the effort to succeed,” said Stephanie A. Storgion, MD, FAAP, FCCM, chair and professor of the UTHSC PA Program.

Since 2015 when the program launched, it has logged a continuous increase in its first-time board pass rates. The Class of 2018’s achievement gives the program an overall 97% first-time exam pass rate since it began.

A majority of graduates from the program work in family medicine or internal medicine subspecialties, bridging the gap in two areas of primary care medicine with shortages in medical practitioners.

The mission of the UTHSC Physician Assistant program is to prepare a diverse group of highly skilled Physician Assistant practitioners who are dedicated to improving access and providing high-quality primary and/or specialty health care as part of interprofessional teams and who are committed to lifelong learning and increasing the knowledge base of the profession.

“This accomplishment means that our students get a comprehensive and quality education and gives us as educators the confidence that we are doing everything right to prepare these student to take the most important test of their life,” said Kristopher Maday, program director and associate professor in the UTHSC PA Program. “Part of our mission as a program is to not “teach to the boards,” meaning we don’t just provide our students with only what will be covered on the PANCE. We train them to be quality PAs and this means teaching material that might not be on the national board exam, but is extremely important as a practicing PA. The fact we can do this and have a 100% pass rate is a testament to our faculty and students that the UTHSC PA Program will not only prepare them to pass the test, but be well-trained physician assistants.”