HAMPTON, Va. - (July 8, 2020) – Hampton University is partnering with Penn State College of Medicine to provide undergraduate students early acceptance into Penn State’s Physician Assistant Program.
“We are very excited about this partnership with Penn State College of Medicine. The quality of our students at Hampton University will not only improve the nation’s health care system, but also bring diversity into the workforce. We hope to continue partnering with Penn State and expand to other areas of study that may interest our graduates,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
Through the partnership, Hampton University students can apply early, during their junior year in undergraduate studies, to the Physician Assistant program at Penn State College of Medicine. Hampton students do not need to have a particular major, but they do need to be a member of the Pre-Health Program and interested in attending medical school. The Pre-Health Program provides a variety of medical education activities, including a pre-professional timeline, medical school application advice and support to Hampton premedical students pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry and the allied health professions.
“I welcome the chance for our students to expand their opportunities for growth and development. By seeking a professional degree in health care, our students will be able to achieve their ultimate goals of becoming a physician or surgeon. Some of our students are interested in dentistry as well. This partnership with Penn State College of Medicine is a great way for our students to be identified early to increase the diversity and quality of students at Penn State,” said Michael Druitt, Hampton University Pre-Health Program Director.
The program at Penn State accepts 30 students each year, and since 2014, has graduated about 150 physician assistants. Each student spends two years in the program. The first year is classroom-based learning and the second year allows students to work directly with patients.
Lynette Chappell-Williams, Chief Diversity Officer at Penn State Health and Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at Penn State College of Medicine, said looking for opportunities to create diversity in the Physician Assistant Program at Penn State College of Medicine and elsewhere is critical. A national study found that many members of minority populations prefer to be seen by a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner rather than a Physician.
“We know the makeup of our country continues to shift, and Penn State College of Medicine is taking steps to meet the changing population by finding opportunities to increase the diversity of our students,” Chappell-Williams said.
Dr. Michelle Penn-Marshall, Hampton University Vice President for Research, Associate Provost and Dean, Graduate College, visited Penn State last year with Mr. Druitt to speak about the possible agreement. “I am elated that the partnership between Hampton University and the Penn State College of Medicine has come into fruition. I credit President William R. Harvey and alumnus Mr. Ron Cummins for their vision. It was obvious during our visit in June 2019, that Mr. Cummins, Dr. Lynette Chappell-Williams and their colleagues were serious about the partnership. It is wonderful that our talented Hampton students will have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of working in the Healthcare field,” said Dr. Penn-Marshall. “The union could not be more fitting. Penn State’s College of Medicine has a stellar reputation and Hampton is THE Standard of Excellence. We look forward to the success of this partnership and developing additional partnerships with Penn State’s College of Medicine.”
A Physician Assistant, under the supervision of a Physician, is able to perform most of the same patient care tasks as a Physician, including seeing their own patients, ordering and evaluating laboratory and diagnostic studies, and writing prescriptions. Penn State College of Medicine is also partnered with Lincoln University in Pennsylvania for this program. The first group of accepted students from the two universities will begin at Penn State College of Medicine in May 2022.