Prior to the clinical phase of the PA Program, the students have completed 13 months of intensive didactic study. The students are trained in the medical model similar to a medical student. Courses during the didactic curriculum include gross anatomy, physiology, physical examination, 3 courses in pharmacology/ pharmacotherapy, 2 courses in patient communication, 3 courses in clinical medicine, 2 courses in diagnostic assessment, emergency medicine, behavioral medicine, surgical medicine, clinical nutrition, ethics, medical genetics, 2 courses in evidenced-based medicine, and professional issues.
The program also has 3 courses in clinical reasoning which is a case-based, small group course that meets weekly and fosters critical thinking and clinical application. The students are also placed with a physician or PA mentor each semester during the didactic phase to gain clinical experiences before the clinical rotations. The students also gain experience in working with children and seniors during service-learning before the start of the clinical phase.