MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Training Program
MEDEX Northwest is a regional physician assistant training program offered by the University of Washington School of Medicine. The program trains students from the five WWAMI states (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) and Nevada to practice medicine with physician supervision. As a pioneer in PA education, MEDEX continues to be innovative in identifying, creating, and filling new niches for PAs as a strategy for expanding health care access.
MEDEX is launching the Master's in Clinical Health Services degree option for 2009. Applicants interested in attaining a master's degree in conjunction with their Physician Assistant training will apply to either the Seattle or Spokane training site. These are the only two sites accepting students into the master's option. Yakima, Washington and Anchorage, Alaska will accept students into a Bachelor's degree option. Contact the Alaska MEDEX Office.
Students completing Physician Assistant training with a bachelor's degree and who become certified can choose to complete a master's degree through a new MEDEX Extended Master's in Clinical Health Services degree option being offered in 2009 through UW Extension.Curriculum of the MEDEX Northwest Program is competency-based and focuses on primary care, particularly for rural and underserved populations. MEDEX encourages life-long learning to meet constantly changing health care needs.
MEDEX Program at UAA
The UAA MEDEX Physician Assistant Training Program is a bachelor's degree program. Up to twenty students may be admitted to the Anchorage (UAA) MEDEX training program annually, in accordance with the joint selection process established in the collaborative agreement between UAA and UW. Applicants are evaluated on their previous clinical experience and their commitment to practice in Alaska, particularly in underserved areas, in addition to their overall academic performance.
Students admitted into the UAA MEDEX program spend their junior year of the PA program at UAA, where they receive intense clinical and didactic instruction. The senior year of the BSHS program is spent in training sites throughout Alaska and the WWAMI region currently utilized by the MEDEX program. The practicum year corresponds to UW's year of field placement and supervision. The clinical year begins in September and ends in early September the following year. The clinical placements call for 35-40 hours a week in supervised clinical training, and 10-20 hours a week in self-study.
At the completion of the PA program, students are eligible to sit for the National Certifying Examination for Physician Assistants. The University of Washington School of Medicine grants a Physician Assistant Certificate upon successful completion of the MEDEX PA program. Upon successful completion of the degree requirements, the University of Alaska Anchorage awards a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Sciences.
What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?
"Physician assistants are health care professionals licensed, or in the case of those employed by the federal government they are credentialed, to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. Within the physician-PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. A PA's practice may also include education, research, and administrative services." (Definition courtesy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) website.)