Published on December 18, 2017 by Sarah Waller  
Harrelson Paul

Samford University has appointed Paul Harrelson to serve as program director for the School of Health Professions’ new physician assistant studies program. 

With this appointment, the school has taken the first step in seeking provision accreditation for a Master of Science in physician assistant studies with the goal of enrolling the first cohort of graduate students in August 2019. 

“We are excited to have Paul Harrelson join the School of Health Profession as we take a big step forward in our work to establish a physician assistant program here at Samford,” said Alan Jung, School of Health Professions dean. “We have a mighty task ahead of us, but with the support of our alumni, students, employees and friends, we are strongly motivated to create a program of excellence, distinctive by our commitment to help students answer their calling to serve others.” 

Prior to this appointment, Harrelson has been in physician assistant studies education for the past 18 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Wake Forest University and the University of Louisiana-Monroe. Currently, Harrelson is the vice president for the Alabama Society of Physician Assistants as well as the chairman of the physician assistant liaison committee to the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners. 

Harrelson also works in the clinical setting, currently in the area of general surgery with John Porterfield at University of Alabama in Birmingham. 

“It is an honor to join the faculty at Samford University, and I look forward to the work that lies ahead as we establish a program that will meet the demand for compassionate and competent physician assistants,” Harrelson said.

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.