Program Overview

Thinking of attending the UNM PA Program? Please check out our mission and goals to see if we might be a fit for you!

General Information

Degree Information

Degree: Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS)

Program Length: 27 months, full-time

Class Size: 17

Start Date: Mid-June

Coursework Information

  • No part-time or off-site distance-learning option.
  • No advanced placement is awarded or granted for experiential learning or previous education.
  • Due to the fast-paced nature of the program, students are highly discouraged from engaging in paid employment while enrolled in the program.

Problem-based Learning

A large part of the PA professional curriculum is based on the principle of small group, problem-based learning tutorials. Generally six hours a week is devoted to the tutorial. Through this method of learning, the student is exposed to pathophysiology, behavioral medicine and population health. Learn more about Problem-Based Learning here.

Housing and Travel

Clinical rotations are located throughout New Mexico.  Housing and travel are the responsibility of the student.

UNM Physician Assistant Program Mission Statement

The mission of the University of New Mexico Physician Assistant Program is to educate Physician Assistant students to be competent providers of primary care medicine with a special focus on the medically underserved and rural populations of New Mexico.

Rationale

In New Mexico, there is a need for primary care providers in the rural and under-served areas. New Mexico is the fifth largest state, yet within such a large region New Mexico has a population of approximately 2,091,432 million people with approximately 695,104 living in rural areas. Only nine (9) New Mexico cities have populations in excess of 30,000. Sixteen of New Mexico's 33 counties are classified as rural and 15 are classified as frontier (defined as less than 6 people/square mile). Thirty-two (32) out of 33 counties are classified as fully or partially medically underserved.

Our communities are primarily small, rural, and diverse. There are language, cultural and access barriers that reflect the need for competent, equitable, accessible and evenly distributed health care that reflects the culture and demographics of the state.

New Mexico Selected Statistics (2012)

The UNM PA Program's mission is integrated and congruent with the mission of our sponsoring institution. The UNM Health Science Center’s mission is to provide an opportunity for all New Mexicans to obtain an excellent education in the health sciences. “We will advance health sciences in the most important areas of human health with a focus on the priority health needs of our communities. As a majority-minority state, our mission will ensure that all populations in New Mexico have access to the highest quality health care.”

The UNM Physician Assistant Program, in partnership with the UNM School of Medicine and the Department of Family and Community Medicine, seeks to graduate students who are competent and caring members of the PA/Physician Primary Care team.

In keeping with the program’s mission, much of the curriculum is devoted to preparing the student for eventual service in the under-served and rural areas of New Mexico. Many of the clinical clerkships are in rural communities and require students to be away from metropolitan areas for as much as half of their clinical time.

We Are Meeting Our Mission

The UNM PA Program provides students with the resources and support necessary to attain the knowledge, skills and ability to become competent physician assistants as evidenced by our success rates. The curriculum is designed to comply with the national standards for PA education as described in the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc.

Current Data (as of July 2016) - Based on 1st Practice Location

Goal Actual Percent Key Indicator
237 Total graduates (first class graduated August 1999)
75% 187 78% Practicing in New Mexico (all fields)
>50% 102 55% Practicing primary care in NM
>50% 76 41% Practicing other specialties in NM
>30% 59 31% Practicing in NM in HPSA, MUA or gov't MUP areas
<25% 40 21% Practicing out of state
<10% 10 4% Working in non-PA field (MD, Health Education, etc.) not certified and/or unemployed

Program Goals

In order to accomplish our mission, the UNM PA Program provides a supportive educational environment that assures each student the opportunity to acquire and demonstrate competency in the following goals:

Goal #1 – In support of our mission, recruit and educate a competent, diverse student body

To help achieve our program mission, we are committed to selecting a student body that represents the rich diversity of New Mexico’s population. Our students are culturally aware and recognize the need to care for the underserved patients in our state.

The Physician Assistant students at the University of New Mexico are integrated with the UNM School of Medicine students for the first year and a half of their didactic training. The coursework is challenging and our students’ success is based on recruiting and attracting highly qualified applicants, both academically and clinically, who will be able to handle the rigor of the program.

The UNM PA Program has received on average 16 applicants for every seat available. This provides a strong pool of candidates that are selected for an interview. Each year, we receive an average of 380 applications and interview 53 applicants for the 17 available seats. Our data, along with our graduation and PANCE pass rates indicate that we recruit highly qualified applicants.

PA Graduating Class of Gender Age Range at Matriculation Race/Ethnicity Veteran-Military Service New Mexico Resident
2015

Female: 76%

Male: 24%

24 - 46

White: 53%

Hispanic: 23%

American Indian: 12%

Asian: 12%

1 of 17 94%
2016

Female: 53%

Male: 47%

25 - 43

White: 53%

Hispanic: 29%

Asian: 12%

Not Reported: 6%

3 of 17 88%



PA Graduating Class of Average Math & Science GPA Average Overall GPA

GREs

Verb/Quant/Analyt

Average HCE Average Community Service Hours
2015 3.75 3.68 152/149/3.9 4,858 368
2016 3.72 3.69 154/153/4.0 6,991 701

Goal #2: Maintain a level of PANCE pass rate above the national average

The UNM PA Program is committed to providing a training that will prepare our students to become competent providers.  This is reflected in our students’ exceptional PANCE pass rates.  In the past five years, 94.8% of our first time takers have passed.  All of our PANCE candidates have ultimately passed. 

Class Class Graduation Year Number of First Time Takers Program First Time Taker Pass Rate National First Time Taker Pass Rate for the Class Graduation Year % of Candidates Who Ultimately Passed
Class of 2016 2016 16 100% 96% 100%
Class of 2015 2015 17 88% 96% 100%

Class of 2014

2014 17 94% 95% 100%
Class of 2013 2013 15 100% 94% 100%
Class of 2012 2012 16 100% 93% 100%

Goal #3: Upon graduation, over 40% of our students will provide health care in primary care, rural or underserved areas of New Mexico

This goal supports our mission, “to educate Physician Assistant students to be competent providers of primary care medicine with a special focus on the medically underserved and rural populations in New Mexico.”  All UNM PA Program students are exposed to primary care and rural and underserved areas of New Mexico during their clinical rotations.  Approximately half of every graduating class is moved by our mission and choose to provide healthcare in primary care, rural or underserved areas.


ClassGraduates in Class

Graduates in Primary

Care, Rural or

Underserved Areas

Percentage in Primary Care, Rural

or Underserved Area

Class of 2016 17 8 47%
Class of 2015 17 10 58%

Goal #4: UNM PA Program will maintain a 98% or better graduation rate.

Our high graduation rates can be attributed to our 17:5 student-faculty ratio per cohort.  We invest in our students’ futures and help in any way we can.


ClassEntering Class SizeTotal AttritionGraduatesGraduation Rate
Class of 2016 17 1* 16 94%
Class of 2015 17 0 17 100%
Class of 2014 17 0 17 100%
Class of 2013 17 0 17 100%
*Student graduated one year late, with the Class of 2017


Health Professional Shortage Areas

Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), 2012 View 50-State Comparison


NM US
Total Primary Care HPSA Designations 94 5,796
Population Living in a Primary Care HPSA 833,456 59,069,750
Population Living in a Primary Care HPSA as % of State Population 40.5% 19.1%
Estimated Underserved Population 546,976 35,057,608
Estimated Underserved Population as % of State Population 26.6% 11.4%
Practitioners Needed to Remove HPSA Designation 125 7,067
Practitioners Needed to Achieve Target Population-to-Practitioner Ratio 254 16,030
 



Curriculum

PA Curriculum Course Grids

Credit Breakdown

Summer

SUMMER – 7 credits

  • PAST 501 FMS I Population Health
  • PAST 502 FMS I Foundations of Research Methodology
  • PAST 535 Clinical Seminar I
  • PAST 540 ICM I Dermatology
  • PAST 541 ICM I Orthopedics

Fall

FALL – 17 credits

  • PAST 510 FMS I Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine I
  • PAST 515 FMS I Adult &Geriatric Medicine I
  • PAST 520 FMS I Pharmacology I
  • PAST 530 FMS I Clinical Skills I
  • PAST 536 Clinical Seminar II
  • PAST 542 ICM I Human Structure, Function & Development
  • PAST 543 ICM I Mechanisms of Disease Genetics & Neoplasia
  • PAST 546 ICM I Immunology

Spring

SPRING – 16 credits

  • PAST 531 FMS II Clinical Skills II
  • PAST 513 FMS II Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine II
  • PAST 518 FMS II Adult & Geriatric Medicine II
  • PAST 523 FMS II Pharmacology II
  • PAST 514 FMS III Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine III
  • PAST 519 FMS III Adult & Geriatric Medicine III
  • PAST 524 FMS III Pharmacology III
  • PAST 537 Clinical Seminar III
  • PAST 545 ICM II Neurosciences
  • PAST 547 ICM II CV-Pulmonary-Renal

Summer

SUMMER – 6 credits

  • PAST 560 Clerkship Family Medicine
  • PAST 562 Clerkship Pediatrics

Fall

FALL – 17 credits

  • PAST 525 FMS IV Emergency Medicine
  • PAST 527 FMS IV Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine IV
  • PAST 529 FMS IV Adult & Geriatric Medicine IV
  • PAST 533 FMS IV Pharmacology IV
  • PAST 532 FMS III Clinical Skills III
  • PAST 550 ICM III GI-Nutrition-Metabolism
  • PAST 548 ICM III Infectious Disease
  • PAST 549 ICM III Sexuality & Reproduction
  • PAST 551 ICM III Endocrinology

Spring

SPRING – 15 credits

  • PAST 564 Clerkship Emergency Medicine
  • PAST 561 Clerkship Women’s Health & Prenatal Care
  • PAST 563 Clerkship Behavioral Medicine-Psychiatry
  • PAST 565 Clerkship General Internal Medicine
  • PAST 566 Clerkship Elective
  • PAST 600 Program to Practice

Summer

SUMMER – 8 credits

  • PAST 568 Clerkship Surgery
  • PAST 575 Clerkship Primary Care
  • PAST 610 Independent Study 1-14 possible credits

Professional curriculum credits 59

Clerkship credits 27

Total semester credits 86

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the University of New Mexico Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the University of New Mexico. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2024. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy.

Specific questions regarding the program and its plans should be directed to the program director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).

Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), 2012 View 50-State Comparison


NM US
Total Primary Care HPSA Designations 94 5,796
Population Living in a Primary Care HPSA 833,456 59,069,750
Population Living in a Primary Care HPSA as % of State Population 40.5% 19.1%
Estimated Underserved Population 546,976 35,057,608
Estimated Underserved Population as % of State Population 26.6% 11.4%
Practitioners Needed to Remove HPSA Designation 125 7,067
Practitioners Needed to Achieve Target Population-to-Practitioner Ratio 254 16,030

 




Physician Assistant Program
MSC 09 5040
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Surge Building 251

Phone: (505) 272-9864
Fax: (505) 272-9828
paprogram@salud.unm.edu

Application Deadline: August 1
to start the following summer
(no rolling admissions)