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Aug 27 2013

New Chair of Physician Assistant Studies: PAs Are Key Team Players in Health Care

Larry HermanOld Westbury, N.Y.  (August 27, 2013)  — As he prepares for his first semester as chair of NYIT’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Larry Herman, PA-C, MPA, DFAAPA, is direct in articulating his main goal:  “To increase our prominence nationally and to make us known as one of the top-tier PA programs in the country.”

Herman, who is also president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the national organization for the field, is determined to elevate NYIT’s program and raise awareness of the importance of physician assistants in today’s health care arena.

“They’re trained to be team players – PAs were team before team was cool,” says Herman, who teaches family practice, behavioral medicine, pharmacology, and physical diagnosis at NYIT’s School of Health Professions. “We’ve always practiced in that model.”

At NYIT, students train in the classroom for 30 months and then take spend 12 months at clinical clerkships including family practice, internal medicine, surgery, emergency medicine, orthopaedics, pediatrics, women’s health, psychiatry and one elective. Once certified, PA practice medicine: they can diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medication, perform medical procedures, order and interpret lab tests, assist in surgery, educate and counsel patients, and make rounds in nursing homes and hospitals.

Herman says the program is accelerating its training in medical technology and education in mobile medical apps and programs. NYIT’s program, one of 21 in the state, receives about 1,200 applications for 56 seats. Students regularly score near or above the national pass rate for the national certification exam following graduation, and many secure top-quality positions at local and national facilities. NYIT is the only program in the country to have two full-time faculty – Herman and Associate Professor David Jackson, PA-C, DHSc – on the AAPA board, and has an impressive array of clinical sites for its students.

“We fortunate to have truly outstanding clinical clerkships and relationships with world class medical centers throughout the downstate region,” Herman says. “We see lots of pathology on a daily basis – things that people in other parts of the United States might only see occasionally, rarely, or never.”

Herman says the profession is still relatively young; in 2017, it will celebrate its 50th anniversary. About 100,000 PAs practice in the United States, but the profession is among the fastest-growing in the nation. Earlier this year, a news crew from Korean Cable Channel A interviewed Herman, alumni Jason McGrade, PA-C, Chief PA in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at North Shore University Hospital, and two current students about the popularity of the PA profession.  (View the broadcast.)

“PAs are the future of health care,” says Herman. “”We’re going to add nearly 30 million people to the rolls of insured and we’re already 90,000 physicians short. There are only a couple of groups that can do largely what physicians can do.”

As president of the AAPA, Herman is set to lead an upcoming three-year public relations campaign to increase public knowledge about the role of PAs in health care. Herman expects that PAs will assume greater leadership roles and remain flexible in the face of changes to the health care system.

In a recent message to AAPA’s members, Herman noted that the profession needs to collect more data to support the value that PAs bring to health care. As a result, AAPA is leading a new research project to identify how PAs are used and what effects they have on health care quality and patient satisfaction.

“We’re looking at the economic intrinsic and extrinsic value,” says Herman, “as well as real and perceived value.”

About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 13,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.

 
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, more than 95,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit nyit.edu.
 
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