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Didactic Curriculum

The fifteen-month didactic phase is designed to introduce learners to concepts of basic and clinical
sciences, principles of human behavior, and research methodology. Educational highlights and innovations during the didactic phase include:

  • Anatomy dissection lab
  • Apple iPad integration enhances the educational experience
  • Small-group, team-based learning seminar sessions
  • Bedside ultrasound skills using Butterfly iQ+™ portable ultrasound technology
  • Canvas LMS course delivery
  • 1:6 faculty to learner ratio
  • Interprofessional activities with medical, pharmacy, and nursing students
  • Professional development and simulation centers with high fidelity models and simulated patient actors
During the didactic phase, learners develop their observational acumen and interpersonal skills for history-taking and physical examination and fine-tune their psychomotor, spatial, and critical-thinking skills. Learners complete 60 weeks of didactic instruction and earn 88 credits during the didactic phase of the program.

Total Didactic Curriculum

88

Summer Quarter (12 weeks)

Credits

PAE 200 Arrive & Thrive 0
PAE 210 Professional Practice I 1
PAE 211 The Physician Assistant Profession 1
PAE 212 The Physical Exam 3
PAE 213 Human Anatomy 3
PAE 214 Human Physiology & Pathophysiology I 4
PAE 215 The Medical Interview 3
PAE 216 Evidence-based Medicine in Practice 1

Total

16

Fall Quarter (12 weeks)

Credits

PAE 220 Professional Practice II 1
PAE 221 Clinical Medicine I 6
PAE 222 Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics I 2
PAE 223 Human Physiology & Pathophysiology II 4
PAE 224 Patient Education 2
PAE 225 Clinical Reasoning I 2
PAE 226 Diagnostic Studies I 3

Total

20

Winter Quarter (12 weeks)

Credits

PAE 230 Professional Practice III 1
PAE 231 Clinical Medicine II 6
PAE 232 Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics II 2
PAE 233 Perioperative Medicine 1
PAE 234 Clinical Reasoning II 2
PAE 235 Diagnostic Studies II 3
PAE 236 The Pediatric Patient 2

Total

17

Spring Quarter (12 weeks)

Credits

PAE 240 Professional Practice IV 1
PAE 241 Technical Skills & Procedures I 2
PAE 242 Clinical Medicine III 6
PAE 243 Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics III 2
PAE 244 Behavioral and Mental Healthcare 4
PAE 245 Clinical Reasoning III 2
PAE 246 Rehabilitative Medicine & Palliative Care 1

Total

18

Summer Quarter (12 weeks)

Credits

PAE 250 Technical Skills & Procedures II 2
PAE 251 Concepts in Emergency Medicine 2
PAE 252 Clinical Medicine IV 6
PAE 253 Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics IV 2
PAE 254 Clinical Inquiry & Research Design 1
PAE 255 Clinical Reasoning IV 2
PAE 256 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention 1
PAE 290 Didactic Capstone 1

Total

17

Course Descriptions

PAE 200

Arrive & Thrive

This required, non-credit seminar course is designed to increase learners’ persistence and success in physician assistant education by providing them with the academic, professional, and personal/life management tools needed to function effectively and complete their course of study. The week-long seminar will cover topics that revolve around three major issues: academic success, accessing available resources, and program policy.

PAE 210

Professional Practice I

The first in a series of four lecture-based courses dedicated to defining professionalism for healthcare providers. Lectures, readings, and discussion topics focus on academic integrity, medical ethics, and self-care strategies proven to promote wellness and prevent burnout.

PAE 211

The Physician Assistant Profession

This lecture-based course explores the historical development of the Physician Assistant (PA) profession, current policy and regulations that impact PA practice, and the state and national level organizations advocating for the growth and development of the profession. 

PAE 212

The Physical Exam

This lecture and lab-based course provides learners with a comprehensive study of physical assessment and diagnosis including the clinical and technical skills required to successfully elicit, interpret, and document findings. Lab sessions provide learners an opportunity to practice new skills. 

PAE 213

Human Anatomy

This lecture and lab-based course provides learners with advanced knowledge of human body organ structures and their organization into functional systems. Clinical application is emphasized. Lab sessions will include human donor dissections. 

PAE 214

Human Physiology & Pathophysiology I

This is the first in a series of two lecture-based courses that offer a comprehensive overview of normal human organ function, alterations in normal function, and the interaction of organ systems in states of health and disease.

PAE 215

The Medical Interview

This course will equip learners with the knowledge and skills required to perform a patient-centered medical interview, obtain a medical history, respect the values and preferences of persons seeking healthcare, and efficiently document essential information.

PAE 216

Evidence-Based Medicine in Practice

This course prepares learners to apply evidence-based medicine skills and concepts in clinical practice. Skills include framing research questions, retrieving high-quality evidence, interpreting basic statistical data, and understanding the limits of medical research.

PAE 220

Professional Practice II

The second in a series of four lecture-based courses dedicated to defining professionalism for healthcare providers. Lectures, readings, and discussion topics focus on patient- and family-centered care, understanding patients as people, working in interdisciplinary teams, and responding to adverse events.

PAE 221

Clinical Medicine I

The first in a series of four lecture-based courses studying the clinical presentation, diagnosis, evaluation, and management of patients seeking care for common medical conditions in primary and specialty care settings.

PAE 222

Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics I

The first in a series of four lecture-based courses that explores the knowledge and concepts required to safely prescribe and monitor medications used to diagnose and treat common medical conditions in primary care and emergency department settings.

PAE 223

Human Physiology & Pathophysiology II

This is the second in a series of two lecture-based courses that offer a comprehensive overview of normal human organ function, alterations in normal function, and the interaction of organ systems in states of health and disease.

PAE 224

Patient Education

This course explores the effects of health literacy, patient education, and shared decision-making on patient care outcomes. Lab sessions will utilize clinical scenarios, case studies, and simulations that allow learners to practice new skills.  

PAE 225

Clinical Reasoning

The first in a series of four lecture- and lab-based courses designed to engage learners in team-based activities that require them to integrate newly acquired knowledge and skill to develop and strengthen their clinical reasoning ability.

PAE 226

Diagnostic Studies I

The first of a two-part series designed to provide learners with an overview of common medical lab science assays utilized for the purposes of patient evaluation, diagnosis, and monitoring. Assay selection, interpretation, and value-based care concepts are emphasized. 

PAE 230

Professional Practice III

The third in a series of four lecture-based courses dedicated to defining professionalism for healthcare providers. Lectures, readings, and discussion topics focus on building effective interdisciplinary healthcare teams and the science of quality improvement.  

PAE 231

Clinical Medicine II

The second in a series of four lecture-based courses studying the clinical presentation, diagnosis, evaluation, and management of patients seeking care for common medical conditions in primary and specialty care settings.

PAE 232

Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics II

The second in a series of four lecture-based courses that explores the knowledge and concepts required to safely prescribe and monitor medications used to diagnose and treat common medical conditions in primary care and emergency department settings.

PAE 233

Perioperative Medicine

This lab-based course introduces learners to the roles and responsibilities of the perioperative healthcare team, and the unique needs of patients preparing for, undergoing, and recuperating from surgery. Demonstrating the knowledge and ability to perform perioperative technical skills is required.

PAE 234

Clinical Reasoning II

The second in a series of four lecture- and lab-based courses designed to engage learners in team-based activities that require them to integrate of newly acquired knowledge and skill to develop and strengthen their clinical reasoning ability.

PAE 235

Diagnostic Studies II

The second of a two-part series designed to provide learners with an overview of common diagnostic tests utilized during patient evaluation, diagnosis, and monitoring. Clinical indications for and accurate interpretation of electrocardiography, x-rays, computed tomography, MRI, and ultrasound are included.

PAE 236

The Pediatric Patient

This course will equip learners with the knowledge and skills required to evaluate and manage infants, children, adolescents, and their families in primary care settings. Topics include age-related considerations during the history and physical exam and recognizing/reporting abuse or neglect. 

PAE 240

Professional Practice IV

The final in a series of four lecture-based courses dedicated to defining professionalism for healthcare providers. Lectures, readings, and discussion topics focus on social determinants, healthcare disparities, and the triple aim of healthcare for individuals and populations.

PAE 241

Technical Skills & Procedures I

The first in a series of two stand-alone courses designed to introduce learners to the   indications, contraindications, step-by-step procedures, and complications of technical skills commonly performed by physician assistants. Simulation activities during lab sessions allow   learners to practice skills.

PAE 242

Clinical Medicine III

The third in a series of four lecture-based courses studying the clinical presentation, diagnosis, evaluation, and management of patients seeking care for common medical conditions in primary and specialty care settings.

PAE 243

Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics III

The third in a series of four lecture-based courses that explores the knowledge and concepts required to safely prescribe and monitor medications used to diagnose and treat common medical conditions in primary care and emergency department settings.

PAE 244

Behavioral and Mental Healthcare

This lecture-based course introduces learners to the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of patients who present with behavioral or mental health concerns in primary care and emergency department settings. Clinical interventions including pharmacotherapeutic options will be discussed.

PAE 245

Clinical Reasoning III

The third in a series of four lecture- and lab-based courses designed to engage learners in team-based activities that require them to integrate newly acquired knowledge and skill to develop and strengthen their clinical reasoning ability.

PAE 246

Rehabilitative Medicine and Palliative Care

This lecture-based course will introduce learners to current concepts in the evaluation and management of patients and families requiring rehabilitative and/or palliative care. Evidence-based interventions aimed at maintaining function and quality of life are key concepts.  

PAE 250

Technical Skills & Procedures II

The second in a series of two stand-alone courses designed to introduce learners to the indications, contraindications, step-by-step procedures, and complications of technical skills commonly performed by physician assistants. Simulation activities during lab sessions allow   learners to practice skills.

PAE 251

Concepts in Emergency Medicine

This lecture-based course will prepare learners to efficiently evaluate and manage patients seeking care in the emergency department setting. Topics include focused, evidence-based assessment and triage of common urgent and emergent conditions, medical stabilization, disposition planning, and resource stewardship.

PAE 252

Clinical Medicine IV

The final of this four-part series of lecture-based courses studying the clinical presentation, diagnosis, evaluation, and management of patients seeking care for common medical conditions in primary and specialty care settings.

PAE 253

Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics IV

The final in this four-part series of lecture-based courses that explores the knowledge and concepts required to safely prescribe and monitor medications used to diagnose and treat common medical conditions in primary care and emergency department settings.

PAE 254

Clinical Inquiry & Research Design

This lecture-based course builds upon foundational knowledge learned in the evidence-based medicine course with greater emphasis on researching clinical questions, analyzing available evidence, utilizing common research methods, and developing the skills to prepare a capstone project prior to graduation.

PAE 255

Clinical Reasoning IV

The final course in this four-part series of lecture- and lab-based courses designed to engage learners in team-based activities that require them to integrate newly acquired knowledge and skill to develop and strengthen their clinical reasoning ability.

PAE 256

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

This lecture-based course focuses on the utilization and efficacy of public health interventions. Topics include disease surveillance and reporting, population health, patient advocacy, and health maintenance. Case discussions will allow learners to apply concepts.  

PAE 200

Special Topics

Independent Study reserved for didactic phase learners enrolled in the Physician Assistant Education program who require extra time to complete their training due to factors such as hardship, leave of absence, remediation, or deceleration.