School of Graduate and Professional Studies
Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies
ARC-PA Accreditation Status
North Central College's Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program is in development and has applied to the ARC-PA for Accreditation-Provisional. The program will have its Accreditation-Provisional site visit in October 2020 and its status will be voted upon by the ARC-PA at the March 2021 meeting. Since the accreditation decision is expected to occur within the 2020-2021 CASPA cycle, the program may participate as a developing program. All CASPA applicants to the North Central College's developing MSPAS program will be notified within 48 hours of the ARC-PA decision as to whether Accreditation-Provisional is granted.
If provisional accreditation is not granted, the program will not commence in August 2021 and all seat deposits for conditional admissions will be returned.
Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of the proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.
Watch our Webinar to Learn More
The North Central College MSPAS program will prepare our diverse students to become competent medical providers who deliver humane, patient and relationship-centered primary care in collaboration with health professionals while developing future leaders committed to community service, life-long learning and advancement of the PA profession. The Program’s Five Foundational Pillars of Excellence are as follows: Humanism, Scholarship, Innovation, Leadership, and Community.
The North Central College MSPAS program will prepare our diverse students to become competent medical providers who deliver patient-centered primary care in collaboration with health professionals while developing future leaders committed to community service, life-long learning and advancement of the PA profession.
The mission of the program aligns with both the North Central College and School of Education and Health Science missions: to provide students the opportunities to advance in their chosen professions and develop strong communication, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills, while staying rooted in the liberal arts foundation.
The North Central College MSPAS program will deliver an exemplary relationship-centered medical curriculum using a competency-based approach.
Recruit and retain diverse and highly qualified students.
Prepare graduates in the therapeutic use of lifestyle changes to prevent and treat disease.
Educate graduates who possess the competence required of contemporary health care practice, including the economics of medical care.
Develop future PA leaders and interprofessional team members.
Engage students in community service and prepare them to be self-directed scholars.
The North Central College MSPAS program will publish first-time pass rates for each graduating class beginning in 2023 using the NCCPA PANCE Rate Summary Report.
The program will provide accurate evidence of its effectiveness in meeting its goals.
MSPAS Program News and Announcements
5.20.20 Telemundo Chicago with Dr. Ashwani Garg, Medical Director speaking. Exigen Más Protecciones Para Trabajadores de Procesadoras de Carne https://www.telemundochicago.com/noticias/local/profesionales-de-la-salud-exigen-mas-protecciones-para-trabajadores-de-procesadoras-de-carne/2091273/
5.15.20 Dr. Thomas Meersman, Invited Speaker AAPA National Conference
Broadening the 'Spectrum' of Our Care: Key Evidence Based Pearls to Ease the Examination of Patients with Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disorder. Nashville TN (AAPA's in-person/traditional conference is cancelled. An on demand/virtual option was researched, but not offered: https://www.aapa.org/conference/cancellation-faqs/.)
3.20.20 The New York Times quoting Dr. Ashwani Garg, Medical Director. A Dilemma for Some: Should You Still Hire a Cleaner? https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/us/coronavirus-house-cleaner.html
3.11.20 US News and World Report quoting Dr. Mary Groll, Program Director. How to Handle Colds and Flu at Work https://money.usnews.com/careers/company-culture/articles/how-to-handle-colds-and-flu-at-work
3.5.20 Ericka Stoor-Burning PA-C, MS
"Maximizing the Impact of Medical Mission Trips"
Platform Presentation, Global Association for Clinical Officers and Physician Associates Kigali, Rwanda.
1.21.20 Naperville Sun North Central to Build Graduate Health Sciences Center on Land Across from Wentz Hall https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/ct-nvs-north-central-health-sciences-building-st-0122-20200122-n646j6oqnzh3fje6r4s5cbwrxq-story.html
5.17.19 Dr. Thomas Meersman, Invited Speaker AAPA National Conference
Broadening the 'Spectrum' of Our Care: Key Evidence Based Pearls to Ease the Examination of Patients with Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disorders. Denver, CO.
The developing MSPAS program at North Central warmly welcomes your questions and comments. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
- Admissions: Associate Dean Wendy Pochocki, firstname.lastname@example.org
- PA Program Coordinator: Ms. Becky Mitchell, email@example.com
- PA Program Director: Dr. Mary Groll, firstname.lastname@example.org
The NC MSPAS program will provide a curriculum that allows for its students to meet the new graduate core competencies suggested for optimal team practice within the six domains described and outlined below, with cross-cutting influences of cultural humility and on-going self-assessment. Students will progress towards achievement of these competencies through a step-wise course progression, wherein they master individual course goals and learning objectives that align with ARC-PA Standards. All courses have been designed to progress the student through deliberately mapped, assessed and tracked pedagogical practice to meet the program competency goals.
PAEA’s six domains of new graduate core competencies highlight evidence-based practice, culture humility and ongoing self-assessment. The NCC MSPAS student will show specific skills, knowledge and abilities in the following domains upon graduation:
- Patient-centered practice knowledge
- Society and population health
- Health literacy and communication
- Interprofessional collaboration practice and leadership
- Professional and legal aspects of health care
- Health care finance and systems
Many assessments will be done over the 24 months of the program both by student and faculty to self-assess and formally assess the competency level expected of new graduates in the aforementioned domains. Specific to our program, longitudinal assessments will be occurring throughout the two years to make sure the student is able to join an interprofessional team upon graduation. These very specific assessments represent our Program Learning Outcomes or PLOs. Each PLO represents several of the competency domains. In sum, we believe the 13 PLOs represent a snapshot of the concrete skills, knowledge and abilities new employers seek. The program aims to instruct, observe and coach their students in the development of these activities through both self, peer and faculty assessment. Our students will grow in these activities from beginner, novice, and then competent during the 24 months of the program.
|PLO 1||Develop rapport and an atmosphere of inclusivity with patients from any backgrounds through communication and intrapersonal skills|
|PLO 2||Elicit preventive screening and problem-based health history and perform physical examination across the lifespan|
|PLO 3||Synthesize a problem list collected from patient data pertinent to the identification of health-related concerns|
|PLO 4||Recommend and interpret common diagnostic tests|
|PLO 5||Obtain inform consent for tests and/or procedures|
|PLO 6||Perform general procedures of a new PA graduate|
|PLO 7||Provide an oral presentation of a clinical encounter|
|PLO 8||Form a clinical question and retrieve evidence to advance patient care|
|PLO 9||Document a clinical encounter in the patient record with knowledge of basic billing and coding|
|PLO 10||Collaborate as a member of an interprofessional team|
|PLO 11||Recognize and evaluate a patient requiring urgent/emergent care|
|PLO 12||Promote a culture of safety and identify system failure|
|PLO 13||Recognize at-risk health behaviors, invite discussion and counsel a patient regarding preventive health initiatives|
Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program is a continuous, 24-month program beginning in the fall semester. The program requires the completion of 123 credit hours.
The curriculum is delivered as a combination of didactic, laboratory, and clinical coursework. Didactic and laboratory courses will be delivered by North Central College faculty in a traditional format. Case-based and problem-based learning models will be emphasized in order to prepare students for independent learning at the clinical sites and in future practice. Didactic courses may be offered in an online or blended format. Supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs) will be implemented at approved clinical affiliates with North Central College oversight of student learning.
|Course||Title||Credit Hours||Number of Weeks|
|MPAS 501||Foundational Medical Science I||4||16|
|MPAS 505||Molecular Basis of Disease||3||16|
|MPAS 511||The PA, Patient & Society I||2||16|
|MPAS 515||Narrative Based Medicine & Communication||2||16|
|MPAS 521||Clinical Therapeutics I||3||16|
|MPAS 525||Evidence Based Medicine||2||16|
|MPAS 531||Clinical Medicine & Infectious Disease I||4||16|
|MPAS 541||Diagnostic Methods I||2||16|
|Course||Title||Credit Hours||Number of Weeks|
|MPAS 502||Foundational Medical Science II||2||16|
|MPAS 512||The PA, Patient & Society II||2||16|
|MPAS 522||Clinical Therapeutics II||3||16|
|MPAS 532||Clinical Medicine & Infectious Disease II||4||16|
|MPAS 533||Clinical Medicine & Infectious Disease III||4||8|
|MPAS 542||Diagnostic Methods II||2||16|
|MPAS 551||Clinical Decision Making||3||16|
|MPAS 561||Patient Evaluation & Counseling in Primary Care I||2||16|
|Course||Title||Credit Hours||Number of Weeks|
|MPAS 503||Foundational Medical Science III||2||16|
|MPAS 513||The PA, Patient & Society III||2||16|
|MPAS 523||Clinical Therapeutics III||3||16|
|MPAS 534||Clinical Medicine & Infectious Disease IV||4||8|
|MPAS 535||Clinical Medicine & Infectious Disease V||4||8|
|MPAS 543||Diagnostic Methods III||2||16|
|MPAS 552||Clinical Decision Making II||3||16|
|MPAS 562||Patient Evaluation & Counseling in Primary Care II||2||16|
|Course||Title||Credit Hours||Number of Weeks|
|MPAS 600||Bridge Course||3||4|
|MPAS 611||Medical Leadership I||1||16|
|MPAS 612||Medical Leadership II||1||16|
|MPAS 624||Clinical Therapeutics IV||1||4|
|MPAS 626||Evidence Based Medicine II & Applied Research||1||8|
|MPAS 627||Evidence Based Medicine II & Applied Research||1||8|
|MPAS 630||Emergency Medicine||6||6|
|MPAS 635||Internal Medicine||6||6|
|MPAS 640||Family Medicine||6||6|
|MPAS 645||Women's Health||6||6|
|MPAS 655||General Surgery||6||6|
|MPAS 660||Behavioral Health||6||6|
|MPAS 665||Elective I||4||4|
|MPAS 695||Summative Capstone Seminar||3||2|
The students will begin their clinical year with 4 weeks of intense, specialty specific preparatory work prior to initiating their core clinical rotations. This month will include the fourth offering of Clinical Therapeutics, clinical certifications such as BLS, ACLS and PALS, emergency medical Spanish, billing and coding, and a return to evidence-based medicine case studies and capstone preparation.
Supervised clinical practice experiences (SCPEs) will be implemented at approved clinical affiliates with North Central College oversight of student learning. There are 7 core clinical rotations which include: Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Women’s Health and Behavioral Health and one four-week primary care or surgical elective. The Medical Leadership courses will be delivered asynchronously during the clinical year. Students will have an intentional core-rotation specific asynchronous curriculum during their clinical rotations to help prepare them for return to campus day assessments. The return to campus day consists of two days at the end of each core-rotation where students are formally assessed, meet for classes and mentoring sessions with faculty advisors. The Summative Capstone course is where students will deliver their research project formally to their peers, including interprofessional colleagues in the School of Education and Health Sciences.
Program Facilities and Resources
The North Central College School of Education and Health Sciences has broken ground on a 40,000-square-foot building on campus, steps from beautiful downtown Naperville at 160 East Chicago Avenue. The future Health Sciences building will house the MSPAS Program, Master of Occupational Therapy, another upcoming health science program and an Engineering laboratory. Faculty and staff offices, skills lab and didactic PA classroom will be located on the first floor. The third floor will house our simulation center with 5 CAE high and low fidelity mannequins, an Interprofessional Education (IPE) classroom, clinical year PA classroom, 5 Problem Based Learning (PBL) break-out rooms and 5 fully functional outpatient clinic rooms with a dedicated Standardized Patient lounge. A large student lounge and kitchen, showers and a lactation room are available for faculty, staff and students as well. The Health Sciences Building will welcome engineering students in January 2021, and our inaugural PA cohort in August of 2021.
North Central Facilities and Community Resources
The North Central College Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) will hold virtual information sessions on the following dates:
- July 22, 2020: Click for registration information
How to Apply
All applicants must apply online via the online application service CASPA. Below please find the application deadlines for those wishing to matriculate in August, 2021 (Class of 2023).
- April 30, 2020: CASPA available for Fall 2021 candidates
- September, 2020 - April, 2021: Interviews
- December 1, 2020: Verified CASPA Application deadline date
- August 25, 2021: Classes begin
Once your application is verified by CASPA, an email notification from North Central College PA program will be sent acknowledging receipt of your completed application.
North Central College's MSPAS program is dedicated to recruiting diverse and highly qualified students, as such, the MSPAS program employs a holistic approach to admissions. The program makes admission decision in accordance with clearly defined and published practices of the institution. Special application requirements and considerations are notable to the MSPAS program. The MSPAS program offers two pathways to admission:
- Selective Internal PA Admissions Pathway (SIPAAP)
- Standard Admissions Pathway
The following admission and enrollment practices are followed:
- The North Central MSPAS program follows a holistic admission process and is committed to accepting a diverse group of qualified individuals from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. The program selects students who reflect varied social, economic, ethnic, educational, and healthcare experience backgrounds. The program seeks students who excel in leadership, service, scholarship, communication, intellectual capacity, and interpersonal skills.
- Holistic review occurs at several stages: screening, interview, and selection for the cohort. The Admissions Committee emphasizes the important of giving individualized consideration to every applicant to ensure that admissions processes and criteria are both mission and evidence-based, and promote cohort diversity. Academic metrics used include GPA, candidate grade trends and commitment to courses of academic rigor. GRE and PA-CAT scores are recommended, but scores will not be used in admission decisions in the 2021-2022 cycle.
- North Central College undergraduate students are at an advantage in the admission process starting in 2022-2023 through admission preference via the Selective Internal PA Admission Pathway (SIPAAP).
- North Central graduates who apply via the Standard Pathway and meet admissions criteria are at an advantage as they will be offered an interview in the 2021-2022 cycle. Preference for an interview does not mean preference for selection into the program.
Standard Admissions Pathway
The Standard Admissions Pathway is a competitive process, admitting 100% (30 of 30 students) of its class through this pathway in the 2021-2022 cycle.
Selective Internal PA Admissions Pathway (SIPAAP)
The overarching goal of the Selective Internal Admissions Pathway is to increase diversity in the PA workforce. This program will have two entry points; one as a rising freshman already accepted to North Central and a second as a first semester North Central sophomore. SIPAAP is a competitive program but will not begin until the 2022-2023 cycle. Provided accreditation-provisional is obtained, the first cohort of SIPAAP students will matriculate in 2025. The program will admit up to 30% of each class who complete this Pre-PA program (9 of 30 students) through this pathway.
All applicants are held to the same admissions standards and are required to apply via CASPA. CASPA applications to the North Central MSPAS program must be received, completed, and verified by December 1, 2020. Failure to receive "verified" status from CASPA by December 1, 2020 will result in an incomplete application.
The following criteria are required for submission to CASPA:
- CASPA Application fee.
- Official Academic Transcripts.
- According to North Central College graduate admissions protocol, official transcripts from all colleges and universities must demonstrate overall grade point average of 3.00/4.00 scale.
- The North Central MSPAS program has an additional requirement of a minimum science grade point average of 3.00/4.00 scale.
- Evidence of earning a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university prior to enrollment in the program.
- GRE or PA-CAT scores are highly recommended, not required.
- Use GRE code 4789 to send scores directly to CASPA for verification.
- GRE and PA-CAT Scores must be within 5 years of admission.
- The PA-CAT is a specialized test designed to measure applicant knowledge in key prerequisite science subjects typically required for PA school.
- For information about the PA-CAT and to schedule your exam, visit PA-CAT.com
- PA-CAT test scores must be sent directly to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at 30 N. Brainard Street, Naperville IL 60540.
- There is no minimum score for either test in the 2021-2022 cycle.
- Direct Patient Health Care Hours.
- A minimum of 750 hours of direct, hands on patient care is required.
- Shadowing hours cannot be used for direct patient health care hours.
- The minimum number of hours must be attained prior to the application submission.
- Download Direct Patient Health Care Hours form and upload to your CASPA application.
- PA-C Observation Hours.
- Three letters of recommendation are required.
- It is highly recommended that one letter come from a certified Physician Assistant (PA-C).
- The second two letters are to be written by a professor or supervisor who can attest to the candidate's academic preparedness and professional attributes.
- Letters from friends or family members will not be accepted.
- Personal Statement.
- A statement of no more than 5,000 characters describing the motivation to become a certified Physician Assistant (This is the CASPA essay.).
- There is no supplemental essay.
- Prerequisite coursework.
- The following coursework is required and must be completed within 5 years of matriculation to the North Central College MSPAS program.
|Prerequisite Coursework||Minimum Semester Hours|
|Human Anatomy with lab*||3|
|Microbiology with lab||3|
|General or Organic Chemistry with lab||3|
|Science at the 200 level or above. The following classes will be accepted: Genetics, Immunology, Cell or Molecular Biology, Organic Chemistry||3|
|Psychology, Social Science or Behavioral Science||3|
|Humanities and Fine Arts, Foreign Language||3|
|Highly recommended classes in: Medical Terminology|
*or may use two combined courses in Anatomy and Physiology with labs.
- Each course may only satisfy one prerequisite.
- The program will honor credentialed online lecture-based coursework but no online laboratories.
- Advanced Placement credit does not count towards prerequisite coursework.
- Applicants must indicate on the CASPA application which courses are in progress.
- Only 2 prerequisite courses may be outstanding or incomplete at the time the application is submitted to CASPA.
- Applicants with outstanding prerequisite requirements can still be offered admissions, however the offer is contingent on evidence of completion on or before December 31, 2020 with a grade of "C" or better.
- Applicants with outstanding prerequisites who are offered admissions who fail to provide evidence of completion of courses or do not achieve a "C" or better, will result in forfeiture of the seat.
All courses within the curriculum are required. No transfer credit is accepted. No credit is granted for pre-admission experiential learning, prior coursework, degrees, certifications, or advanced training.
The Admissions Committee will meet monthly starting in June to review completed and verified applications. Candidates will be notified regarding the first two interview dates in July, and proceed accordingly until all slots for all interview days are filled. When candidates visit our North Central Campus in historic downtown Naperville, they can expect a warm welcome that reflects our relationship-based program, campus tour, financial aid briefing, and participate in both group and multiple mini-interviews to assess pre-professional competencies. A representative of the Admissions Committee will communicate with the candidate following the in-person interview to let them know of their status. As the program employs rolling admissions, it will offer notification of acceptance throughout the interview season (September 2020-April 2021). Students who are placed and wish to remain on the waiting list may receive notification of acceptance up to the day before classes begin.
Minimum Required Technical Standards
- Diversity and fostering an environment of safety and inclusiveness is a priority and our institution is deeply committed to creating a learning environment that reflects the evolving pluralistic society we live in. The North Central MSPAS program has a minimum set of technical standards for admission with acknowledgement that every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations to meet these standards.
- Attached please find the required technical standards for the program. Required Technical Standards
Tuition Cost and Fees
Your actual expenses may vary from the "average" cost of attendance. Historically, tuition and other fees have increased between 4%-6% annually.
|Fixed Costs||First Year||Second Year|
|Professional Ceremony Fees||$150||$200|
|Variable Costs||First Year||Second Year|
|Room & Board||$9,420||$9,420|
|Books & Supplies||$600||$600|
|Urine Drug Screen||$50||$50|
|TOTAL - Fixed and Variable||$75,105||$77,716|
Tuition and Fees Refund Policy and Schedule
A student who officially withdraws from the College or a course(s) should view the Refund Policy and Schedule in the college catalog.
Please visit the graduate financial aid page for additional information.
Provided accreditation-provisional is awarded at the March 2021 ARC-PA meeting, North Central College MSPAS program will seat their first class in August, 2021. Upon matriculation, we will post class data including accepted student demographics, such as underrepresented minorities as described by the AAMC academic data and CASPA applicant data.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is a developing program?
A: A developing program is one who has not yet received accreditation-provisional from the ARC-PA.
Q: When will you find out if accreditation-provisional is granted?
A: The ARC-PA site visit will occur in October, 2020 and the decision regarding accreditation will happen in March, 2021. We will notify all candidates immediately upon the decision, as well as update the decision on the program's website.
Q: Can I sit for my PANCE if I go to an accreditation-provisional program?
A: Yes and you can receive licensure in all 50 states.
Q: The GRE and PA-CAT is recommended. Can you explain what a "recommended" test, versus a required test means?
A: A recommended test is one where the results will not be used for admission criteria, rather programmatic self-study.
Q: Why are you using the PA-CAT?
A: The PA-CAT is recommended but not required. Student self-reflection and self-assessment is an important step in professional development. The PA-CAT assesses knowledge in anatomy and physiology, basic medical sciences and statistics. We are hopeful this will allow the student to determine what their weak areas may be prior to entrance to PA school and provide opportunity for self-study if need be.
Q: What will you do with my PA-CAT scores?
A: The program will use all applicant PA-CAT scores for the next three years to determine if this text is something that we will recommend versus require in the future.
Q: Since you have a preference in admissions North Central students who meet criteria, will students from other programs get an interview?
A: Absolutely! Preference for interview does not mean preference for admissions. Moreover, North Central College is prepared to provide up to 90 interview slots for students outside of the North Central pathway.
Q: What is rolling admissions?
A: North Central College in-person campus interviews and admission decisions are being made while applications are still being accepted. Moreover, the holistic approach is specifically designed so that the class does not fill-up prior to the application deadline. We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible.
Q: When will in-person/campus interviews begin?
A: We plan to begin our in-person/campus interviews in September 2020 and continue until April 2021.
Q: How large is the cohort?
A: 30 students
Q: What is your faculty:student ratio?
A: For the 2021-2022 didactic year, the ratio is planned to be 1:6
Q: Will you accept online laboratories?
Q: Will you accept Pass/Fail grades for prerequisites?
A: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will accept Pass/Fail grades for Spring and Summer 2020 semesters
Q: Will you accept bachelor degrees from international universities?
A: Unfortunately, during the 2020-2021 cycle we are only accepting bachelors degrees from regionally or United States' nationally accredited colleges or universities.
Q: What exceptions have you made to PA shadowing hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic?*
A: We have lowered our minimal shadowing to 15 hours AND will accept telemedicine shadowing hours.
Q: Can I still apply if my prerequisite classes were taken greater than 5 years ago?*
A: Yes. We will consider each candidate on a case-by-case basis. We strongly encourage applicants whose prerequisites were >5 years ago to submit PA-CAT scores.
Q: Can I still apply if my cumulative or science GPA is below 3.0?*
A: Yes. We will consider each candidate on a case-by-case basis. We will look at the last 60 hours of academic effort and strongly encourage students in this situation to submit PA-CAT scores.
Q: Can I use my own forms to document my Direct Patient Contact Hours or PA-C Observation Hours?**
A: Unfortunately, no. The only forms that will be accepted to document your prior experiences are the North Central College Direct Patient Health Care Hours and PA-C Observation Hours forms. Please complete these forms and upload them into your CASPA application.
Q: What kinds of prior healthcare experiences can be used to fulfill the Direct Patient Health Care Hours requirement?**
A: We accept direct patient health care hours in multiple settings, with the main requirement being the provision of services between a health care provider and a patient. Examples of jobs that are commonly considered direct patient health care experiences include EMT, paramedic, LPN, RN, health care technicians EKG, PCT, Pharmacy Tech, Echo Tech, ER Tech, Medical Assistant (MA), and healthcare Scribes (ER scribe, Ortho Scribe, etc.). Other jobs may also fulfill this requirement and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Please refer back to the website frequently for updates as it relates to admissions requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic and our status as a developing program.
Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Faculty and Staff
The MSPAS program is in development, with commitment to hire experienced educators who are dedicated to our relationship-based and patient centered curriculum. Please return for updates.
Dean of the School of Education and Health Sciences
Dr. Marci J. Swede, Ph.D. Professor of Health Sciences
- NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Biology and Genetics. Washington University, in St. Louis, MO.
- PhD, Genetics and Biochemistry,. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, PA.
- BS, Biology. Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.
Dr. Mary E. Groll, MD MS. Professor of Physician Assistant Studies
- University of Chicago, Pediatrics Residency (Board Certified in Pediatrics)
- MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago IL. Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Society.
- MS, Microbiology. Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL.
- BA, Honors in Biology, Cum Laude. Knox College, Galesburg, IL.
- Specialty: Pediatrics, Infectious Disease
Dr. Thomas Meersman, PA-C, DHSc. Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies NCCPA Certified
- DHSc, A.T. Stills University. Mesa, AZ. Highest Honors
- MMS, Midwestern University. Downers Grove, IL.
- BS, Kinesiology. Indiana University, Bloomington IN.
- Specialty: Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine
Ericka L. Stoor-Burning, MS, PA-C, Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies NCCPA Certified
- DHSc, A.T. Stills University. Kirksville, MO. (Anticipated Graduation May 2020)
- MS, Philadelphia University. Philadelphia, PA.
- BS, Philadelphia University. Philadelphia, PA.
- Specialty: General Surgery, Trauma Surgery and Acute Care
Dr. Ashwani Garg, MD. Clinical Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies
- Fellowship in Integrative Medicine. University of Arizona. Tucson, AZ. Fall 2021
- Faculty Development Certificate. University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Chicago, IL.
- Family Medicine Residency, Hinsdale Hospital. (Board Certified in Family Medicine)
- MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Chicago, IL.
- BS, Biomedical Engineering. Northwestern University, Evanston IL.
- Specialty: Family Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine
Ms. Rebecca Mitchell
- BS, Business Administration. Valparaiso University. Valparaiso, IN.
The matriculation process begins after a student receives notification of acceptance. If a student fails to satisfy the matriculation requirements or omits/falsifies information required on official admission documents, the student automatically forfeits his/her seat in the North Central Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program.
Accepted students must return a total deposit of $1,500 to hold a seat in the founding class. A first deposit of $1,000 is due on or before 7 calendar days from the date of the acceptance offer letter. The second final deposit of $500 is due on May 1, 2021. Please note, provided accreditation-provisional is obtained, the $1,500 is non-refundable. Should the program not receive accreditation-provisional, all CASPA applicants will be notified and seat deposits will be refunded within 7 days of notification.
Students are required to maintain health insurance, at their own expense, for the duration of the 24-month program. Students must upload proof of health insurance to CastleBranch.
Criminal Background Check and Urine Drug Screen
A criminal background/sex offender (CBSO) check and 14-panel drug screen is required of each student prior to matriculation into the program. Students must upload/submit documentation to CastleBranch.
Results that limit the program’s ability to secure clinical experiences may prevent a student from being promoted to the clinical education phase or recommended for graduation. If any false information is given regarding drug use or criminal offenses in any documents relating to their admission or attendance, if findings of a grievous nature are revealed, or if a student declines to undergo a background check while enrolled in the program, this will be grounds for dismissal from the program. Acceptance into and successful completion of the North Central MSPAS program does not imply or guarantee that the student will be able to obtain state licensure upon graduation. The Program does not accept responsibility for any student being ineligible for coursework, continued enrollment in the program, or subsequent licensure as a physician assistant for any reason, including failure to pass a CBSO check.
Students are required to self-report involvement in any incident, which may appear as part of a criminal background within 48 hours of the incident to the Program Director. This includes any criminal offense, drug or alcohol related misdemeanor, felony or pending adjudications. Students failing to self-report may be subject to immediate dismissal.
Prior to matriculation students must submit documentation to CastleBranch and Dyson Wellness Center.
- Hepatitis B - titer (antigen and antibody) demonstrating immunity, done within the past 5 years.
- MMR - titer demonstrating immunity, done within the past 5 years.
- Varicella - titier demonstrating immunity, done with the past 5 years.
- Diphtheria/Tentanus/Pertussis - documentation of the completed primary series to include boosters every 10 years.
- If the student has not received Tdap previously, then, they must get a one-time dose of Tdap prior to the first day of class.
- Influenza - flu vaccine will be required annually after October 1.
- Additional vaccines or serology testing may be needed based on clinical sites.
Tuberculosis (TB) Testing
Students must have a baseline screening for TB with a QuantiFERON-TB Gold blood test prior to matriculation and before the start of the Clinical year. Testing must be done one year before beginning the program and again before beginning clinical rotations. Students must submit documentation to CastleBranch and Dyson Wellness Center.
A physical exam is required for each student prior to matriculation. Students must upload proof of a physical exam to CastleBranch.
Student health records are confidential. The MSPAS program office faculty/staff will not have access to student health records. These will be kept securely on file by CastleBranch. The program will have access to results of TB testing, immunization and titer records, and proof of health insurance. These files will be retained by the MSPAS program office in a locked and protected form, separate from other educational records. Confidentiality will be maintained consistent with FERPA and any other appropriate guidelines. Access to this data will be available only to the MSPAS Program Director and PA Program Coordinator.
Clinical Preceptor Information
The North Central MSPAS program is community-based and relies heavily on our clinical instructional faculty located at affiliated hospitals and clinics. Our clinical partners provide their time, experience and clinical acumen to allow our class of 30 clinical students to meet the competency goals of their core-rotations and elective experiences.
North Central’s partnership with our clinical associates is meant to be mutually beneficial, both for the student and the preceptor. Below please find important information about our program and professional benefits for committed preceptors. The following are available for interested clinical preceptors:
Primary Care Didactic Longitudinal Curriculum
The aim of the first year longitudinal curriculum is to help students develop their interpersonal and relationship building skills, as well as learn some basic foundational clinical skills they will be putting into practice during their second year. Anticipated time commitment is 3 hours per week.
The North Central MSPAS program has 7 core rotations lasting 6 weeks, and one 4 week elective rotation in any primary care or surgical specialty. Each core rotation has a clinical syllabus with learning outcomes. Minimum of 36 hours per week. Overnight call or work night shifts acceptable.
- Emergency Medicine
- Internal Medicine
- General Surgery
- Surgical Elective
- Behavioral Health
- Family Practice
- Women’s Health
- Primary Care Elective
|Clinical Rotation||Dates||Clinical Rotation||Dates|
|#1||September 12 - October 19, 2022||#5||February 27 - April 5, 2023|
|#2||October 24 - November 30, 2022||#6||April 10 - May 17, 2023|
|#3||December 3 - January 11, 2023||#7||May 22 - June 28, 2023|
|#4||January 16 - February 22, 2023||#8*||July 3 - July 27, 2023|
- Each core rotation has a clinical syllabus with learning outcomes.
- One clinical preceptor of record will be assigned to student, but multiple acceptable.
- Minimum of 36 hours per week.
- Overnight call or work night shifts acceptable.
- All students will be certified BLS, PALS, ACLS.
- Immunization titers, QuantiFERON gold, Criminal background/Sex Offender, Drug Screen on all students.
Clinical Faculty Appointments and North Central “Perks” for Preceptors
Preceptors are not limited to MDs; can also be PA-Cs.
All preceptors who commit to three students per year will receive the following:
- CME Category I (Up-to date) and Category II credits
- Clinical adjunct faculty appointment at North Central College
- Free access to our medical library (Up-to-Date, EBSCO/Cochrane Reviews, Medical Letter, Access Medicine, JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine)
- Use of our athletic facilities/half-price to all campus related events.
- Will need to identify the names of the preceptors willing to take our students and have them sign a non-binding agreement, for accreditation purposes.
If you are interested in becoming a clinical preceptor for the MSPAS program at North Central College or clinical faculty appointment, please contact our PA Program Director for further information. You will receive a follow-up call to meet with our Director of Clinical Education for further discussion, planning and hopeful placement of students. Our Director of Clinical Education will visit your clinical site and share our Preceptor Expectations, Preceptor Handbook, Clinical Handbook and course specific syllabi and student assessments with you. The program will maintain communication throughout the rotation and closely monitor the student’s progress.
Thank you for your interest and please contact Rebecca Mitchell, PA Program Coordinator to begin the process. email@example.com
All programmatic policies apply to all students, principal faculty, instructional faculty and the program director and medical director. All policies have been carefully designed and voted upon by the Physician Assistant Faculty and Staff and approved by the Dean of the School of Education and Health Science, as well as the Council of Graduate and Professional Studies with purpose to safeguard the student, his/her colleagues and future patients. Our 2021-2022 Student Handbooks are available to all matriculants on Blackboard.
Student Employment and Solicitation of Clinical Sites
The Physician Assistant curriculum has been designed to be a full-time activity for students. It consists of a very demanding course load with a great deal of time spent in class and in clinical experiences. There are also many special seminars, films and guest lecturers that may be available to students on relatively short notice. We encourage you to seek outside sources of financial support (scholarships, loans, etc.) so that you may devote as much time as possible to your professional education. Employment is strongly discouraged.
Physician Assistant students may not perform service work within the Physician Assistant Program and will not be substituted for regular staff. Students must not solicit clinical sites and/or preceptors for clinical rotations. Any student suggested sites and preceptors will be reviewed, evaluated and approved for educational suitability by the program. Students are also prohibited from substituting for clerical and/or clinical personnel during first year clinical longitudinal experiences and clinical rotations. If asked to do so, the student must respectfully decline and inform the program immediately. While enrolled in the program, no student may serve as a formal instructor to other enrolled students.
Identification of Students from other Health Care Professionals in the Clinical Setting
Students must introduce themselves as PA students to patients and health care professionals in the clinical setting. Moreover, the student must always provide proper identification as a North Central MSPAS student during a supervised clinical practice experience, through an appropriate ID badge and short white medical coat with the corresponding PA program student patch.
Immunization and Health Screening
Due to concerns for patient safety, North Central MSPAS students must be compliant with current CDC recommendations for health professionals. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/index.html. Students may use the Dyson Wellness Center Immunization Record and upload their immunization record to CastleBranch. Prior to matriculation, students must deliver immunization records to the Dyson Wellness Center within the first week of class. All North Central MSPAS students must be current with the following by the first day of class:
- Hepatitis B - titer (antigen and antibody) demonstrating immunity, done within the past 5 years
- MMR – titer demonstrating immunity, done within the past 5 years
- Varicella – titer demonstrating immunity, done within the past 5 years
- Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis – Documentation of the completed primary series of immunizations to include boosters every 10 years.
- If the student has not received Tdap previously, they must get a one-time dose of Tdap prior to the first day of class
- Influenza – flu vaccine will be required annually after October 1st.
- Additional immunizations and serologies may be required of various sites during the clinical year.
All immunizations must be completed by matriculation. Should titers not show immunologic protection, repeat titers and immunizations can be delivered to the student for a cost at the Dyson Wellness Center. All confidential health information on students is kept securely on CastleBranch Website and the student immunization form at the Dyson Wellness Center.
Students must give their consent to North Central College to both maintain and release to clinical sites their immunization status. This release form must be uploaded to Castle Branch.
Tuberculosis (TB) Testing Policy
Students must have baseline screening for TB with a QuantiFERON-TB Gold blood test prior to matriculation and before the start of the Clinical Year. Testing must be done within one year before matriculation and again before the start of clinical rotations. Proof of a QuantiFERON-TB Gold blood test test must be on file with CastleBranch and the Dyson Wellness Center. Testing is can be done through Quest Labs at the Dyson Wellness Center at the student’s expense. Immunization records, serology and QuantiFERON-TB testing data must be uploaded to CastleBranch.
Physical Exam Policy
Students must have a documentation of a physical examination within one year prior to matriculation. Only documentation that exam occurred must be uploaded to CastleBranch prior to matriculation, no details.
Criminal Background/Sex Offender (CBSO) Policy
Any individual who regularly provides direct services to patient populations that are generally deemed “vulnerable” or “special” must submit to a Criminal Background/Sex Offender (CBSO) check in order to obtain and maintain clinical privileges. As such, students must pass a CBSO check, using the program’s approved vendor, prior to matriculation into the program and another background check prior to beginning the clinical education phase of the program. Additional background checks may be required as requested by clinical sites. Students are financially responsible for the background checks. Instructions for requesting the background check and appropriate consent forms are provided to students. Results of the background check that indicate a criminal conviction may be shared with applicable clinical sites so that they may make a determination about student eligibility.
Results that limit the program’s ability to secure clinical experiences may prevent a student from being promoted to the clinical education phase or recommended for graduation. If any false information is given regarding drug use or criminal offenses in any documents relating to their admission or attendance, if findings of a grievous nature are revealed, or if a student declines to undergo a background check while enrolled in the program, this will be grounds for dismissal from the program. Acceptance into and successful completion of the North Central College MSPAS program does not imply or guarantee that the student will be able to obtain state licensure upon graduation. The Program does not accept responsibility for any student being ineligible for coursework, continued enrollment in the program, or subsequent licensure as a physician assistant for any reason, including failure to pass a CBSO check.
Students are required to self-report involvement in any incident, which may appear as part of a criminal background within 48 hours of the incident to the Program Director. This includes any criminal offense, drug or alcohol related misdemeanor, felony or pending adjudications. Students failing to self-report may be subject to referral reported to the Program Director and SPC committee for unprofessional behavior and possibly referred to the Committee for Graduate Academic Standing for immediate dismissal.
Drug Screening Urinalysis Policy
Any individual who regularly provides direct services to patient populations that are generally deemed “vulnerable” or “special” must submit to a Drug Screening Urinalysis in order to obtain and maintain clinical privileges. As such, students must pass a 12-panel drug screen, using the program’s approved vendor, prior to matriculation into the program and another drug screen prior to beginning the clinical education phase of the program. Students are financially responsible for the pre-admission and pre-clinical phase drug screens.
The consequences of chemical impairment are considerable, especially in circumstances in which patient care activities are conducted. Should a student self-report difficulty with drug or alcohol impairment to a faculty member or the Program, it is considered an illness for which rehabilitative efforts will be offered, and the student is protected by the college’s Medical Amnesty, Counseling and Treatment Policy. The program will work with the Dyson Wellness Center to coordinate treatment for all cases of substance abuse involving students
The program regards student misuse or abuse of chemical substances as misconduct subject to disciplinary action including dismissal from the program. The following represent policies that would necessitate an additional drug screen:
- As requested by certain clinical sites
- Programmatic or clinical site suspicion of chemical impairment or abuse
- If a student is selected for a random screening, the student must complete the screening within 24 hours.
- If the random drug screening request is received on a Friday, it must be completed by the next business day.
Random drug screens requested by the program or clinical site preceptor required of the student that have negative laboratory results will be the financial responsibility of the program.
Medical Amnesty, Counseling and Treatment
Students who would like more information on alcohol, drugs, and the affects thereof, are encouraged to contact the staff in the Dyson Wellness Center. Students experiencing difficulties with alcohol or drug use can talk with a staff member in Student Affairs or the Dyson Wellness Center. Short-term alcohol and other drug counseling is available on campus to students through the Dyson Wellness Center (630-637-5550). Students may be referred to other treatment programs for more intensive treatment. The safety and well-being of students is of primary importance to North Central College. Each student plays an important role in creating a safe, healthy and responsible community. The College understands that the potential for disciplinary action as a result of an alcohol or drug-related incident may be a deterrent to students who might seek emergency medical assistance for themselves or others. Because the College wants students to seek assistance promptly in the event of a health or safety emergency involving alcohol or drug use, a policy of medical amnesty has been adopted as part of a comprehensive approach to reduce the harmful effects of substance use.
A. If a student seeks help in a medical emergency (by calling 911 or Campus Safety at 630-637-5911), the College will not take disciplinary action for possession, consumption, or being in the presence of alcohol or drugs against: 1) A student who initiates a request for medical assistance for oneself; 2) A student who initiates a request for medical assistance for another student; and/or 3) The student for whom medical assistance is sought.
B. Any student(s) afforded amnesty under this policy will be required to meet with the Program Director, Student Progress Committee (SPC) committee and staff from the Office of Student Affairs for a formal review of the incident. Failure to attend this required meeting will result in the revocation of the amnesty. The outcome of this meeting may be a counseling or health assessment, or other educationally appropriate interventions.
C. While no formal disciplinary action will be taken in cases that meet the conditions of this policy, the Program Director and Student Progress Committee, as well as the College staff will document the incident and follow up accordingly. Repeated incidents or intentional abuse of this policy may result in parental notification and/or disciplinary action.
D. This policy does not preclude disciplinary action regarding all other behaviors prohibited in the Student Handbook, including but not limited to sexual misconduct, hazing, conduct that endangers, damage, vandalism, and the unlawful provision or distribution of alcohol or drugs.
Infectious and Environmental Hazards
Universal precautions must be carried out in all research and educational laboratories. All students must receive training in universal precautions prior to any patient care activities. The North Central MSPAS program offers official Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training to all students on an annual basis, prior to matriculation into the program and before staring the clinical year. On occasion, a clinical facility with whom the program maintains an agreement for clinical education will require that the facility provide the necessary OSHA training to participate in clinical activities at that facility. This would apply to participants who have been trained elsewhere. If so, the program will schedule opportunities for the student to participate in training at the facility
In the event that a student has an exposure to an infectious agent or an environmental hazard-flush the area with copious amounts of water; wash the exposed site with soap and water as appropriate. The student’s health insurance is responsible for
If the exposure occurs on campus (i.e. lab setting):
- Notify supervising faculty immediately and call the Dyson Wellness Center as soon as possible and seek further direction.
- If the exposure occurs on campus after hours, go to the nearest emergency room.
- Complete incident report and submit to Program Director and PA Program Coordinator.
If the exposure occurs at a clinical site (SCPE):
- Notify preceptor immediately and follow their direction for seeking care – the office to contact will vary by site, but is usually Infection Control, Employee/Occupational Health or the Emergency Department.
- Complete in detail an Incident Report at the site where the exposure occurred and submit to the Program Director and Director of Clinical Education.
- If a form is not available for an Incident Report – write a Memorandum for the Record with the facts of what happened and any action you have taken. Notify the PAS Program Director. Be aware that the financial costs incurred in the case of an infectious or environmental hazard injury may fall entirely on the student and/or the student’s health insurance.
Fiscal Responsibility for Infectious or Environmental Hazards
All full-time students are required to carry health insurance coverage while attending North Central College. Health insurance information is required to be kept on file and up-to-date. Students must upload of proof of health insurance to the CastleBranch website before the first day of class. All infectious and environmental hazards that require care are the fiscal responsibility of the student and can be billed to their health insurance.
Latex and Environmental Allergy Policy
Environmental allergies are commonplace. Latex and iodine products are extremely common in the medical environment. Students with a history of latex or iodine allergy may be at risk for future severe reactions upon exposure to latex products.
Any student with a known latex or iodine allergy, or having or describing symptoms consistent with latex or iodine allergy, is advised to consult a qualified allergist for evaluation. Such evaluation is at the student’s expense. Any student found to be latex or iodine allergic must determine whether or not to continue with PA training, acknowledging the risk even after reasonable precautions are taken and accommodations are made. If such a student elects to continue in training, the student must realize that he/she assumes any responsibility and risk posed by allergic reactions, which can range from mild symptoms to anaphylaxis and death. In the event such an allergy is present, either intentional or inadvertent exposure to latex and/or or iodine related products may lead to these consequences.
Students who are allergic to latex, iodine, or other substances commonly found in medical settings are advised to confer with Student Disability Services to identify accommodations that will enable them to participate in programs and activities that involve potential exposure to such environmental allergens. Students who have such allergies must provide medical certification of the allergy, including a description of any associated limitations. Although the program will implement reasonable, appropriate accommodations to provide learning environments free from environmental allergens, it may not be able to completely eliminate the potential for exposure in every instance. Furthermore, we cannot guarantee a latex-free or iodine-free environment at every clinical training site. For further information, please contact Student Disability Services.
Prohibition of Faculty and Staff to Provide Health Care to Students
The NC MSPAS program is a relationship-based program and one that recognizes and prioritizes student wellness. The programmatic faculty and staff (principal faculty, program director and medical director) are prohibited to act as health care providers for students in the program, with exception in cases of emergency situations.
Psychologically Safe and Healthy Learning Environment
The NC MPAS program is committed to the principle that educational relationships should be one of mutual respect between teacher and learner. Because the MSPAS program trains individuals who are entrusted with the lives and well-being of others, we have unique responsibilities to assure that students learn as members of a community of scholars in an environment that is conducive to learning. The program supports timely access to services addressing personal issues that may impact their progress in the PA program. One such policy is a commitment to a psychologically safe learning environment. Students are encouraged to bring attention to any breach or perceived breach of the program’s commitment to the safety and health of your learning environment to our attention immediately. The following are included in the promotion of a safe and healthy learning environment:
- Faculty and Staff Training
- Dyson Wellness Center
- Student and Faculty Grievance
- Campus Safety
- Violence Prevention
Student Distress Policy
The NC MSPAS program is a relationship-based program and one that recognizes and prioritizes student wellness. Although the faculty cannot participate as health care providers for students in the program, except in cases of emergency situations, the faculty and staff recognize the importance of students’ timely access and referral to services to address personal issues which may impact their progress in the program. All students are welcome to access the Dyson Wellness Center for any health-related issues. Regarding behavioral health related issues, faculty and staff have been instructed in and given resources to help them identify signs of academic, behavioral, physical and interpersonal signs of distress in their students. Although the NC Mentoring System gives an added layer of protection and relationship to their students to help facilitate help in times of need, students are welcome to reach out to any faculty or staff member in times of distress or personal problems that may influence their progress in the program. Faculty and Staff have been instructed to follow NC policies and respond to students who are in distress in the following ways:
- Speak directly and privately
Students and faculty are encouraged to reach out to and speak directly and compassionately when you sense that they are in distress. Faculty will openly acknowledge that you they are aware of their distress, that you are sincerely concerned about their welfare and are willing to help you explore their options.
- Offer resources
Faculty are knowledgeable about campus resources can ease a student’s discomfort about seeking help. Faculty will let the student know that they are concerned about them and their well-being. Faculty will assist the student obtaining a referral which shows their and their desire for their student to get expert assistance. Faculty or staff will be instructed to follow-up to see that they are getting the help they need
- Consult and report to a campus resource
Depending on the nature of the distress and effect on student progression in the program, faculty and staff are instructed to consult with Program Director and submit an alert for review by the Student Progress Committee. Depending on the nature of the distress, other departments that often respond to students in distress include the following: Campus Safety, Office of Student Affairs, Early Alert, Dyson Wellness Center, Academic Affairs, and Center for Student Success.
- Office of Student Affairs at (630) 637-5151
- Complete an Early Alert Referral at earlyalert.northcentralcollege.edu
- Complete a title IX report at titleixreport.northcentralcollege.edu
- Complete a Bias Incident Reporting form biasincident.northcentralcollege.edu
- Incident report: incidentreport.northcentralcollege.edu
- Campus Safety at (630) 637-5911.
- Dial 9-1-1 directly
In addition to the above resources, the Campus Conduct Hotline service can be used for any type of reporting and the caller can remain completely anonymous.This hotline can be used for reporting Title IX violations, sexual harassment, student/staff behavior, financial irregularities, complaints, etc. Any member of the North Central community (faculty, staff, or student) may report a serious complaint or concern to the following:
- Campus Conduct Hotline at (866) 943-5787.