DCHC Partners with National University on Physician Assistant Training Program

Thumbnail Dchc Logo NewNEW ORLEANS – DePaul Community Health Centers, which operates 11 health centers in the greater New Orleans area, has partnered with A.T. Still University, an institution of osteopathic medicine with locations in Arizona, California and Missouri. The two have launched a learning facilitation and clinical experience agreement designed to train students from ATSU’s physician assistant programs. The first cohort of students began their year of training at DCHC in September, and additional cohorts will arrive each fall.

In their second year of instruction, students will train on-site with DCHC, where they will participate in five clinical rotations. The clinical rotations include the disciplines of family medicine, internal medicine, women’s health, pediatrics and behavioral health. DCHC will also assist with securing emergency medicine, general surgery, and an elective rotation for the ATSU students.

Licensed PAs and other licensed providers at DCHC, along with designated ATSU faculty, are coordinating and supervising instruction and clinical rotations. Dr. Michael G. Griffin, DCHC’s president and CEO, believes this partnership enhances the importance of community health care and its viability.

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“The majority of people who work in community health care demonstrate a passion for working with the patients we serve, and DCHC is proud of its long history of providing compassionate care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay,” said Griffin. “We are happy that A.T. Still University recognizes our expertise in community health care by agreeing to partner with us to ensure the institution’s students receive specialized, conceptual, practical and clinical learning experiences with a Federally Qualified Health Center.”

Dr. Gary Cloud, ATSU’s vice president of strategic partnerships, agrees.

“ATSU is committed to preparing healers for underserved communities, and is partnered with the nation’s safety-net of community health centers to do so,” he said.

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Timothy Irizarry, a PA at DCHC, serves as one of the lead coordinators of the ATSU students’ instruction. He views this initiative as a key component to increasing the number of PAs nationally.

“We need to have more providers. The national attrition rate for physicians is great and we’re not replacing them. I think we can do a good job of trying to fill some of the gaps with non-physician providers,” said Timothy. “The patients are going to end up being the beneficiaries of everything that we do. The students, in just a few weeks, have already said our patients are awesome—they’re accepting, giving and loving. The patients love having the students in the exam rooms.”

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