Physician Assistant Sciences Program
Welcome to the Meharry Medical College Physician Assistant Sciences Program! The faculty and staff are thrilled that you are interested in our program and invite you to explore our website and learn what our program has to offer.
It is truly an exciting time here at Meharry. As the program is applying for Accreditation-Provisional from ARC-PA, we are working on developing a program aimed at contributing to the rich legacy of Meharry and producing Physician Assistants equipped with the ability to practice cultural humility, provide compassionate care, and demonstrate a commitment to community service and lifelong learning.
Please take the time and familiarize yourself with our program website. Our faculty and staff are here to answer any questions that you may have and hope that you find our program to be the right match for you! We look forward to meeting you all!
The Meharry Medical College Physician Assistant Sciences Program Faculty & Staff
The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Meharry Medical College Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Meharry Medical College.
Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a 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.
Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional accrediting body for Meharry Medical College.
The mission of the Meharry Medical College Physician Assistant Sciences Program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in medicine (URiM) into the PA profession. Students will be equipped with the ability to demonstrate cultural humility, provide evidence-based and compassionate care to all patients they encounter, and foster a commitment to community service in underserved populations, through equity, justice and lifelong learning.
To increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in medicine (URiM)* into the PA profession.
Metric: Admission’s data
Benchmarks: ≥85% of matriculated students are from URiM groups.
*The AAMC definition of underrepresented in medicine means those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population.
To achieve high graduation rates.
Metric: Student Progress and Promotion Data
Benchmark: ≥ 88% annual graduation rate
To maintain a competitive first-time PANCE pass rate.
Metric: NCCPA Program Data
Benchmark: Program annual first-time PANCE pass rate ≥85%
Promote faculty development and demonstrate teaching innovation, scholarship, and service.
Metric: School of Graduate Studies and Research Faculty Performance Data AT Doc, PAEA Data
Benchmark: Annually faculty will participate in at least: one professional development opportunity, one external service opportunity, and submit at least one conference presentation or journal article proposal.
Our student learning outcomes are considered entry-level competencies and were adapted from the Competencies for the Physician Assistant Profession document (Adopted 2005; revised 2012 and 2020). The purpose of the document is to communicate to the PA profession and the public, a set of competencies that all PAs, regardless of specialty or setting, are expected to acquire and maintain throughout their careers. The competencies provide a road map for the individual PA, the physician-PA team, and the PA-related professional organizations. These competencies are in similar alignment with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) competencies for the medical resident.
Graduate physician assistant students will demonstrate:
- Knowledge for Practice
- Demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care.
- Access and interpret current and credible sources of medical information.
- Discern among acute, chronic, and emergent disease states.
- Adhere to standards of care, and to relevant laws, policies, and regulations that govern the delivery of care in the United States.
- Participate in surveillance of community resources to determine if they are adequate to sustain and improve health
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills
- Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and other health professionals.
- Communicate effectively to elicit and provide information.
- Demonstrate sensitivity, honesty, and compassion in all conversations, including challenging discussions about death, end of life, adverse events, bad news, disclosure of errors and other sensitive topics.
- Recognize communication barriers and provide solutions.
- Person-centered Care
- Provide person-centered care that includes patient-and setting-specific assessment, evaluation, and management.
- Provide health care that is evidence-based, supports patient safety, and advances health equity.
- Counsel, educate, and empower patients and their families to participate in their care and enable shared decision-making.
- Interprofessional Collaboration
- Demonstrate the ability to engage with a variety of other health care professionals in a manner that optimizes safe, effective, patient-and population-centered care.
- Communicate effectively with colleagues and other professionals to establish and enhance interprofessional teams.
- Recognize when to refer patients to other disciplines to ensure that patients receive optimal care at the right time and appropriate level.
- Professionalism and Ethics
- Demonstrate a commitment to practicing medicine in ethically and legally appropriate ways.
- Emphasize professional maturity and accountability to ensure safe and quality care to patients and various populations.
- Demonstrate cultural humility and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including diversity in sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, culture, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, and abilities.
- Exercise good judgment and fiscal responsibility when utilizing resources.
- Practice-based Learning and Quality Improvement
- Exhibit self-awareness to identify strengths, address deficiencies, and recognize limits in knowledge and expertise.
- Demonstrate the ability to learn and implement quality improvement practices by engaging in critical analysis of one’s own practice experience, the medical literature, and other resources.
- Utilize resources for self-evaluation, lifelong learning, and practice improvement
- Identify improvement goals and perform learning activities that address gaps in knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
- Analyze the use and allocation of resources to ensure the practice of cost-effective health care while maintaining quality of care.
- Society and Population Health
- Recognize and understand the influences of the ecosystem of person, family, population, environment, and policy on the health of patients.
- Integrate knowledge of the determinants of health into patient care decisions.
- Demonstrate accountability, responsibility, and leadership for removing barriers to health.
Michelle Drumgold, MSPH, MPAS, PA-C
Founding Program Director
Department of Physician Assistant Sciences
School of Graduate Studies
Kara Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C
Associate Program Director
Department of Physician Assistant Sciences
School of Graduate Studies
Carl A. Frizell, DMSc, MSPAS, PA-C
Academic Education Director
Department of Physician Assistant Sciences
School of Graduate Studies
Policies and Student Handbooks
School of Graduate Studies and Research Policies
PA Program Policies
The Meharry Medical College PA Program requires that all students demonstrate the technical skills needed to complete both the didactic and clinical phases of the program. The following skills are necessary to effectively evaluate and treat patients: critical thinking, effective communication, using computerized information technology and visual, auditory and motor skills.
Students who are unable to demonstrate the required technical standards needed to complete the PA curriculum may be dismissed from the program. As required by the Federal Disabilities Act, the PA program will make every attempt to provide students necessary accommodations.
Minimum Technical Standards
Critical Thinking: Students must possess the intellectual capabilities required to complete both the didactic and clinical curriculum and achieve competency. Critical thinking requires the intellectual ability to measure, calculate, synthesize, and analyze a large and complex volume of medical and surgical information. Students in the program must also be able to perform applicable demonstrations and experiments in the medical sciences.
Computer Technology Skills: Students must be able to utilize computerized information technology to access and manage on-line medical information, participate in computerized testing as required by the curriculum, conduct research, prepare multimedia presentations, and participate in the management of computerized patient records and assessments.
Communication Skills: Students must be able to speak clearly and effectively in order to elicit and relay medical information. They must also be able to communicate effectively and legibly in writing.
Visual Ability: Students must have the visual acuity needed to evaluate a patient during a physical exam and perform a wide range of technical procedures involved in the practice of medicine and surgery.
Hearing and Tactile Ability: Students must have the motor and sensory functions needed to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation and percussion, as well as perform a wide range of technical procedures involved in the practice of medicine and surgery.
Motor and Fine Skills: Students must be able to execute the physical movements required to maneuver in small places, calibrate and use equipment, position and move patients, and perform the technical procedures involved in the practice of medicine and surgery.
Interpersonal Ability: Students must possess a wide range of interpersonal skills, including but not limited to: the emotional health required for management of high stress situations while maintaining their full intellectual abilities; the ability to exercise good judgment; the ability to complete all assigned patient care responsibilities; the ability to manage time (show up on time, begin and complete tasks on time); the ability to develop a mature, sensitive and effective relationship with medical colleagues, clinical and administrative staff, patients and families; the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and diffuse conflict; and the ability to recognize your own emotional state and the emotional states of others, and engage with people in a way that draws them to you.
How often will you accept students and how many students will you accept?
One cohort of 25 students will matriculate, in January (spring semester), every year.
Do you have advisors who will meet with me, review my transcripts, and tell me what courses to take to apply to the program?
Unfortunately, we are not available to meet with student individually to review transcripts. We encourage students to review our prerequisite courses to determine which courses are needed to fulfill our course requirements. Be sure to meet with an academic advisor at your college or university to plan your course schedule.
What should I major in?
We do not have a required major but have specific prerequisites that must be taken to be considered for the program. However, there are also upper-level science courses that we suggest students also complete in preparation for the rigor of the PA program.
How much does it cost to attend the MMC PA Program?
Please see our Tuition and Fees section.
What prerequisite courses do you require?
Medical Terminology (1 credit hour)
- Must be taken for college credit, no certificates will be accepted.
Human Anatomy or Anatomy and Physiology I, with lab (4 credit hours)
Human Physiology or Anatomy and Physiology II, with lab (4 credit hours)
General Biology I & II (6 credit hours total)
General (Inorganic) Chemistry I & II, with labs (8 credit hours total)
General Psychology (3 credit hours)
- Abnormal or Developmental Psychology will be accepted.
Do you accept online courses?
Yes, we will accept courses taken online from a regionally accredited college and/or university.
Do you accept advancement placement (AP) courses for prerequisite courses?
Yes, if the AP credit was accepted by your college and/or university and listed on your official transcript.
Will you accept courses taken at a two-year institution?
Yes, we will accept courses taken from a regionally accredited two-year college.
Do you have a time limit on courses?
Yes, Anatomy and Physiology coursework must be completed within 5 calendar years from the date of the CASPA application submission to the MMC PA Program.
Do you require the GRE? PA-CAT? CASPER?
No, we are not requiring the ANY entrance exams for the MMC PA Program.
Can I apply to the program when I still have prerequisite classes to take?
No, you must have completed all prerequisite courses at the time of application.
Do I need a letter of recommendation from a PA?
We require three letters of recommendation. The letters must be from any of the following: supervisors, professors, PAs, physicians, other healthcare professionals, and/or academic advisors.
Am I able to apply to the program as an international student?
Yes, international applicants can apply for the MMC PA Program. If you were born outside of the United States and do not have a high school diploma, bachelor’s, or graduate degree from an accredited U.S. institution, you must provide a TOEFL score of 100 or better (TOEFL Code 1458). You must also submit your official transcripts, which have been reviewed by one of the following: World Education Services, Global Credential Evaluators, Educational Credential Evaluators.
Is the program available to complete part-time?
No, the program is only offered on a full-time basis.
Do you require patient care/clinical experience?
We do not require patient care/clinical experience to be considered for admission into the program. However, we do give preference to applicants with clinical experience.
What is your minimum GPA requirement?
We do not have a minimum GPA requirement. However, we will only count prerequisite courses with an earned grade of ‘C’ or higher.
Are you doing rolling admissions?
No; while we will review verified CASPA applications as we receive them, invitations to interview will be offered at the close of our CASPA cycle, August 1st.
Do you have a supplemental application?
No. Meharry Medical College does not require the submission of a supplemental application for applicants to the Physician Assistant Sciences program.
Do you accept out-of-state applicants?
Yes, we accept non-Tennessee residents. There is no difference in tuition cost for resident vs. non-resident students.