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Priority Objective #1:
By the end of AY2025, the Department of Physician Assistant Studies will review and modify the curriculum to allow for increased clinical application of didactic students' training and improved student satisfaction and competency.
  • By the end of AY2024, enhance student satisfaction results in the end of didactic year evaluations to achieve a program average score of 4.75 or higher.
  • By the end of AY2025, increase students' PACKRAT I examination score to consistently exceed the national average.
  • By the end of AY2025, 90% of students' pass the end of didactic year OSCE on the first attempt.

Throughout AY2022 and AY2023, faculty have introduced new teaching modalities for case studies more frequently throughout every module as avenues through which students can apply their clinical knowledge. The Program also added Osmosis student accounts to the array of tools provided for students' learning. These have both been well received by students in evaluations. Faculty have established connections with the ISU-Meridian Clinic, Pocatello Free Clinic, and the Genesis Clinic where didactic year students can build confidence in their knowledge base and application skills through knowledge-gated patient interactions and shadowing.

As part of this endeavor, an end-of-didactic-year OSCE was developed in AY2022, providing students a real life simulation of clinical activity wherein students perform the totality of a patient encounter: take a history, perform a physical exam, develop an assessment with differential diagnoses, as well as a treatment plan. In its debut in AY2022, 95% of students performed at or above expectations, with three students performing below expectations and none failing. Adjustments to the didactic year OSCE's case and content have been made to ensure consistency, and discussion continues regarding its intent and management.


Priority Objective #2:
By the end of AY2025, the Department of Physician Assistant Studies will increase clinical site options and availability through expansion of Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPE) by 10%.
  • By AY2025, increase total number of clinical site or preceptor options available at the time of optimization by 10%.
  • By AY2025, actions by one new or existing stakeholder will result in a positive impact to the number of SCPEs.

The Clinical Year Team has worked hard to build relationships with clinics in key locations, bolstering the number of available rotations for the Spring of 2023 by 23% from Spring 2022. Stakeholders in western states have been engaged in hopes of developing additional multi-rotation track systems in AY2023. Conversations are also ongoing with the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) and WWAMI to develop interprofessional rotation opportunities between medical students and PA students. Strong, respectful relationships with clinics and health care systems are key to offering a robust and fruitful clinical year.


Priority Objective #3:
By the end of AY2025, the Department of Physician Assistant Studies will align course curriculum and implement innovative teaching methods to optimize student learning.
  • By AY2024, PAS faculty mean scores are ≥ 4.5 (meets or exceeds expectations) as depicted on the student evaluation of faculty.
  • By AY2025, all PAS course performance scores are ≥ 5.0 (exceeds expectations) as depicted on the student evaluation of courses.
  • By the end of AY2025, students' PACKRAT I examination scores increase to consistently exceed the national average.
  • Each PAS faculty member will implement at least one innovative teaching method per AY.

With the end goal of creating a curriculum map for all didactic and clinical year courses, an in-house solution has been identified to connect all course objectives to ARC-PA Standards and NCCPA PANCE Blueprints. The software will also integrate didactic year test items and provide gap and redundancy detection capabilities. Logistical coding is underway with plans for full implementation with the software by Fall 2023. Additionally, two Innovative Teaching Tuesday faculty seminars have been hosted to showcase teaching method innovations with intention to continue the series. 100% of didactic year faculty have incorporated at least one innovative teaching method.


Priority Objective #4:
By the end of AY2025, the Department of Physician Assistant Studies will increase the percentage of graduates who work with underserved populations by designing and implementing a holistic admission process that strives to matriculate class cohorts that include underrepresented*, medically underserved, rural**, and veteran populations.
  • By the end of AY2024, the Program will have a 50% minimum 3-year average matriculation rate of the student body from underrepresented populations, rural areas, veteran, and HPSA/medically underserved areas.
  • By the end of AY2024, the Program will matriculate at minimum 25% of the student body from rural areas per admission cycle.
  • By the end of AY2025, the number of graduating PA students per cohort practicing in medically underserved areas will exceed 20% of the graduating class.

*For the definition of underrepresented, please see HRSA's glossary.

**Rural population equates to communities <50,000 population, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.


During the 2021-2022 application cycle, the file score criteria for admissions was redesigned to be more holistic. The changes were made to place numerical value on aspects of applicants that had always been prized by the Program but played a softer role in applicant ranking. A full breakdown of the holistic criteria is available.

Applicants may now achieve points for being raised in rural areas, military service, speaking a non-English language, and a variety of experiences both related to healthcare and otherwise. During the interview process, applicants continue to complete the Mission Survey, indicating if they have lived in a Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or if they fit within the U.S. Census Bureau's low income guidelines.

Comparisons of statistics from the Class of 2023 (2020-2021 application cycle) and the Class of 2024 (2021-2022 application cycle) are provided below. Statistics continue to be collected to ensure the new holistic file score criteria and the admission process as a whole serve the Program's mission.

  Class of 2023 (N=72) Class of 2024 (N=72)
Raised in a rural area 38 (52.77%) 57 (79.16%)
Military service 1 (1.38%) 5 (6.94%)
Speak a non-English language 18 (25%) 32 (44.44%)

Lived in a HPSA, MUA, or meet low-income guidelines

53 (73.61%) 56 (77.78%)

Additionally, tools such as the annual First Employment Survey are under consideration for their use in assessing post-graduation practice locations.

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