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UVU’s physician assistant program denied provisional accreditation

Students walk across campus between classes at Utah Valley University in Orem on Wednesday, Aug. 28,
Students walk across campus between classes at Utah Valley University in Orem on Wednesday, Aug. 28,
Steve Griffin

SALT LAKE CITY — An accrediting body has withheld provisional accreditation from Utah Valley University’s nascent physician assistant program.

The university’s College of Health and Public Service had planned to launch the program in January 2020. On Monday, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant formally notified UVU officials that it had withheld provisional accreditation.

“This news is very disappointing to us, as we were hoping to matriculate our first physician assistant class in January 2020. After receiving the decision from ARC-PA, we promptly notified all students who were conditionally accepted into the program. Those students will receive a full refund of their seat deposits,” said Scott Trotter, UVU’s senior director of communications.

UVU’s College of Health and Public Service had conditionally accepted applicants and conducted other work to ramp up the program, such as hosting site visits by accreditors and fulfilling other requirements, including the hiring of faculty and developing curriculum.

“We are aware of the critical need for physician assistants in Utah, and we are currently considering all options and will decide next steps in the near future. We regret any negative impact this may have on students who were hoping to begin school in January,” Trotter said.

The master’s of physician assistant studies program was designed as a full-time, 28-month, year-round graduate program consisting of 95 credit hours — classroom and clinical — to be completed over seven semesters. The program envisioned a cohort of 30 students, with a new cohort starting each January.

An email to students says the university will provide additional information to them on Friday.

An internet search for UVU’s physician assistant program results in a “404: Page Not Found” error message.