The Physician Assistant Program
The Physician Assistant Program at Harlem Hospital Center was developed in 1970 by a group of physicians at Harlem Hospital Center and the Columbia University School of Public Health. Their vision was that individuals with military civilian health care experience, could be trained to care for the residents of the community. In 1972, the program developed an academic affiliation with Antioch College, becoming one of the first baccalaureate degree-granting P.A. Programs in the nation.
The first class produced four graduates in 1973. From 1974 - 1978, the New School for Social Research assumed the academic affiliation. In 1978 the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education on the campus of the City College of New York (CCNY) became responsible for the program. Over 750 physician assistants have graduated from the program.
The CCNY Sophie Davis Physician Assistant Program at Harlem Hospital Center recruits, educates, and mentors a diverse group of students from under-served communities to become physician assistants providing quality health care.
The program emphasizes primary health care and preventive medicine, and seeks to interest students in working in medically under-served areas. The program uses didactic and clinical training, fosters an appreciation for research, and empowers faculty and students to be advocates for the physician assistant profession, and for the delivery of primary health care.
The CCNY Physician Assistant Program at Harlem Hospital is committed to providing:
- A rigorous curriculum in clinically oriented basic sciences; a comprehensive presentation of medicine, surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics and
- Clinical education and exposure to a variety of health care settings within health manpower shortage communities and institutions serving multi-ethnic organizations;
- Professional development which involves participation in a variety of community and professional organizations;
- Research skills which enable students to compile, analyze, and synthesize data, and which utilize that information to improve health care services in the communities served and;
- Instructional skills enabling graduates to provide education to both patients and colleagues.
The program is intellectually demanding and requires a full time commitment. Because of the academic demands students should not plan to work while in the program. Historically, of the 49 physician assistant programs in the northeast and east, the Harlem P.A. Program has produced more than half of the underrepresented minority (African American, Latino, Asian) practitioners trained in the region. Moreover, of all minority faculty on staff and programs nationwide, the Harlem program has trained over half.
To date, this program has graduated over 750 physician assistants. Ninety-five (95%) of the students are from the New York metropolitan region and remain there to practice after graduation;
- Over 90 percent of our graduates have taken their first position in the public sector in such diverse positions as school health, prison health, drug treatment programs, Neighborhood Health Centers and inner city emergency rooms. Nearly two-thirds of all graduates are currently employed in the public sector.
The program is approved by the New York State Board of Higher Education and the State Board of Regents. The program was reviewed by the Accreditation Review Committee on Education for Physician Assistants (ARC-PA) in June 2011 and granted its continuing accreditation in September 2011.