Published on March 29, 2024 by Eric Holsomback  
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Samford University's Physician Assistant (PA) Studies department has achieved full accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). This status, formally designated as Accreditation-Continued, signifies the culmination of years of dedication, hard work and adherence to the highest standards in medical education.

After undergoing intense evaluation and assessment, the PA program has met the stringent criteria set forth by ARC-PA, ensuring that it delivers top-quality education to its students. Driven by a commitment to excellence, the faculty, staff and students of the program have demonstrated their dedication to meeting the requirements.

“We have always believed that we have a special PA program, but it is encouraging to be formally recognized by ARC-PA.” said Alan Jung, dean and professor of the School of Health Professions.

The journey towards full accreditation began with the program operating under provisional status, a standard designation for new programs. Since 2018, the department has undergone multiple site visits to ensure compliance with accreditation standards. The most recent site visit in August 2023 marked the culmination of this process, resulting in full accreditation.

This achievement now places Samford’s PA program on a 10-year accreditation cycle while maintaining regular evaluation and assessment. This recognition from ARC-PA highlights the program's readiness to produce competent and compassionate healthcare providers who meet the demands of modern healthcare.

Assistant professor Heather Hallman expressed excitement about the achievement, highlighting its significance for students and the broader community. "Attaining full accreditation is no small task," she said. "It reflects our unwavering commitment to preparing competent and compassionate healthcare providers."

The accreditation not only serves as a badge of honor for the program but also instills confidence in students, alumni and the communities served by Samford. With a 97% board passage rate over the last two years, the program's graduates have demonstrated exceptional success, further solidifying the program's reputation for excellence.

Hallman emphasized that achieving full accreditation provides students with assurance and peace of mind. "Our students can now rest easy knowing that they are attending a fully accredited program," she said. 

Looking ahead, Samford’s PA program remains committed to fostering excellence in healthcare education. The achievement of full accreditation is not just a milestone but a testament to the dedication of students, faculty and staff. It shows that graduates of the program are well-prepared to navigate the complexities of the health care landscape and deliver patient-centered care of the highest possibility.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.