Xavier and Ochsner Launch New Physician Assistant Program

NEW ORLEANS – Xavier University of Louisiana has partnered with Ochsner Health System to establish a new physician assistant (PA) program.

Commonly known as a PA, a physician assistant is a licensed healthcare professional trained in general medicine who works under the supervision of a physician. The American Academy of PAs estimates there are more than 131,000 PAs in the United States today, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for physician assistants is projected to grow 37 percent from 2016 to 2026. Currently, Ochsner has more than 190 PAs working across its health system.

“Our goal at Xavier is to continue expanding our programs and create more opportunities for our students. The new Physician Assistant Program builds strong primary care and public health foundations for students enrolled in the program,” said Dr. Anne McCall, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Xavier. “This 28-month program will allow students to receive a master’s degree in the health sciences, and students will have the opportunity to participate in over a full year of clinical training within the Ochsner Health System. By creating this partnership our students will get the chance to gain hands-on experience and receive an education that will prepare them to compete on an international level.”

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Following three semesters of classroom instruction, the PA students will complete approximately 2,000 hours of hands-on clinical experience through 11 rotations at various Ochsner facilities. Students will work and study with healthcare professionals across a variety of specialties, including Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Behavioral Health and Women’s Health. 

“People are at the core of everything we do at Ochsner and we are committed to training the next generation of healthcare providers. By collaborating and partnering with Xavier on this new PA program, we can train more healthcare professionals here at home in Louisiana. It is our hope that this new pipeline of physician assistants will practice locally and make a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of our communities throughout the state,” said Leonardo Seoane, M.D., FACP, senior vice president and chief academic officer at Ochsner Health System.

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