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The Physician Assistant Program

Sophie Davis Biomedical Education/CUNY School of Medicine

The Physician Assistant Program

Our History

The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education Physician Assistant Program at Harlem Hospital Center was founded in 1970 as a joint project of the Harlem Hospital Center and the Columbia University School of Public Health. The Harlem Program is one of the oldest in the country, being founded only five years after the birth of the profession. The Program was developed to train individuals with health care experience to practice primary care in communities of greatest need. The first class of four was admitted in 1971, graduating in 1973. 

In 1972, the Program developed an academic affiliation with Antioch College which continued until the New School for Social Research assumed responsibility from 1974-1978.In 1978 the Program developed a partnership with the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education of the City College of New York (CCNY) which continues today.



To find out more about the history of the physician assistant profession, please see the link below:


Our Mission

The mission of the SDSBE Physician Assistant Program is to improve the health of underserved communities and to eliminate healthcare disparity by providing increased access to physician assistant education to students from traditionally underrepresented populations. Through education and mentoring, we will create a workforce that will provide highly skilled primary health services to the communities of greatest need.


Patient Care

We are committed to practice high quality compassionate care, and to develop sensitivity and competence in communication skills with diverse populations.


We are committed to providing the skills necessary to apply new knowledge at the point of care and to engage in scholarly activity relevant to health and disease.


We inspire graduates to work in health workforce shortage communities and with patient populations out of the mainstream of health care delivery.  We encourage graduates to be advocates at the local, regional, and national levels for the best care for patients and their communities and to be activists for social justice.


We promote the assumption of leadership positions within the profession and the community.


We are committed to creating an environment where collegiality, respect and ethical practice are fostered and valued. 

Interdisciplinary teams

We value collaborative learning and working styles that facilitate full participation in interdisciplinary medical teams.

Life-long learning

We actively encourage intellectual curiosity and critical thinking necessary for life-long learning leading to the continual improvement of patient care.

Meeting Our Mission