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About Us

About the Program

Established in 2024, the Atkinson Physician Assistant Education Program was made possible by a generous bequest from former UC San Diego Chancellor, UC President Richard C. Atkinson, and the late Rita Atkinson. The program is housed within the UC San Diego School of Medicine, established in 1968, and is the region’s only medical school. The School of Medicine is closely tied to the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and UC San Diego Health, which includes the UC San Diego Medical Center, Jacobs Medical Center, Moores Cancer Center, Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Longevity Sciences, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, Shiley Eye Institute, and many other centers, clinics, and affiliates throughout Southern California.

Every year in June, the program admits a new cohort of students. It will attract a broad array of applicants and recruit extensively from areas in the southern half of the State that currently lack adequate health care providers. While in the program, learners will gain rich and diverse didactic and clinical experiences through clinical rotations at regional clinics and hospitals, honing the clinical skills acquired during their didactic training. The local and national need for additional qualified medical practitioners who practice as part of a medical team is well recognized, and ours would be the second PA program in the University of California system, complementing that of UC Davis. Our program is committed to educating learners from a diverse array of backgrounds, settings, and geographies to address the health care needs of the state of California. Our goal is to train outstanding practitioners who strive for excellence, collaborate effectively, recognize the needs of diverse populations, and embrace innovation and scientific discovery.