Mount St. Joseph University

Mount St. Joseph University Co-Awarded $2M Grant

Academics, Press Releases, Physician Assistant, School of Health Sciences, Department of Physician Assistant Studies


File Under: grants, physician assistant program


CINCINNATI, Ohio (April 30, 2019) - Mount St. Joseph University’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program - together with its institutional partner, the University of Cincinnati Department of Family and Community Medicine - has received the largest federal grant in Mount history.

The Transformational Fellowship Training for Community Primary Care Champions grant is a $2 million, five-year Primary Care Training Enhancement (PCTE) award that will fund a new training project by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The grant will be used to create a one-year primary care fellowship designed to address the gap between the needs of underserved patients and the knowledge and skills of primary care providers to help achieve the triple aim of better health outcomes, better patient care experiences, and lower costs.

"There are too many locations in our community where people do not have adequate access to primary care, and certainly few if any opportunities for wellness programs," said Patrick Cafferty, MPAS, PA-C, CPCO, DFAAPA, FAAPM, associate professor and founding chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the Mount.

"Throughout its history, the Mount has been a proven leader in the health sciences with a commitment to the community and the underserved. With this grant, we can continue that mission by giving primary care providers the tools to improve the overall care of individuals in their own communities."

Megan Rich, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, is serving as program director of the Community Primary Care Champion Fellowship.

The fellowship will provide training in each of the grant's five years for physicians and physician assistants in six areas: medical education; mental health; quality improvement; social determinants of health; substance use disorder; and wellness and burnout.

"There is a critical need to develop effective, adaptable, and engaged transformation champions that will improve the health of the surrounding community and strengthen the primary care provider pipeline," Cafferty said. "One of the main goals of the Physician Assistant Program at the Mount is to meet primary care demands and to fulfill the university's mission of service to marginalized communities."

Physician assistants, or PAs, are medical providers licensed by state medical boards, to diagnose and treat illness, order and interpret diagnostic tests, perform minor surgery, and prescribe medication for patients. They work in collaboration with a licensed physician in all medical settings, including physician offices, hospitals, and clinics.

Four years ago, the Mount launched its Physician Assistant Program to help meet a growing demand in the health care industry. U.S. News & World Report ranks physician assistant as the top health care job and the third best job overall for 2019. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 37 percent by 2026, which the magazine describes as a "much faster" growth rate than the average job. The Mount's first class of physician assistants will graduate in May 2020.

And Forbes recently reported that the success of Physician Assistants "is clear and has been acknowledged by researchers and health care providers alike, and their role has become paramount" in addressing the current and projected primary care shortage.

"We saw that the role of physician assistants was going to continue to grow," said Darla Vale, Ph.D., RN, CCRN-K, dean of the Mount’s School of Health Sciences. "This grant will offer opportunities for our graduates to care for people in the trenches and in the communities where they live."

About the Mount
As a Catholic institution rooted in the values of the Sisters of Charity, Mount St. Joseph University excels at serving the common good. Undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students at the Mount are inspired to think beyond the classroom and redraw the bounds of what’s possible for their futures. This is accomplished through individualized educational experiences, a safe, secure campus environment and an all-in commitment from faculty and staff to seeing students reach their highest potential. The Mount fosters life-long learners who serve, care, and contribute to the world beyond their front doors.