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C of I joint PA program gets boost from $100,000 grant

The College of Idaho’s joint physician assistant program has received a $100,000 grant from The ALSAM Foundation, based in Salt Lake City, to support renovations of a facility for the program as it prepares to enroll its first students in fall 2014.

The College of Idaho and Idaho State University are partnering to expand ISU’s two-year Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program, and the grant is an important step forward in establishing a state-of-the-art facility that links The College of Idaho in Caldwell with existing ISU sites in Meridian and Pocatello.

The C of I-ISU program, the first such private-public alliance and partnership to offer a joint degree in the state of Idaho, will address the rising demand for physician assistants in the Northwest.

The grant will help remodel a classroom building near 20th Avenue and Fillmore Street to meet the same standards as the upgraded ISU laboratories in Meridian and Pocatello. C of I President Marv Henberg said all three program sites will be linked by interactive video technology as a unified long-distance learning complex.

“Full-time faculty based at each location will lead a high level of interactive and hands-on learning,” said Henberg, who also noted that the partnership will conserve scarce resources while capitalizing on the strengths of both institutions.

During their second year in the program, PA students will participate in a series of clinical rotations in appropriate medical contexts, with guidance from faculty and clinical preceptors.

PAs are highly skilled health practitioners who work under physician supervision to provide patient care services, including emergency medicine, surgery, orthopedics, pediatric medicine, dermatology, neurology, family medicine and other areas.  It’s one of the fastest growing occupations in the nation, with the number of PA positions nationwide expected to increase by 38 percent between 2012 and 2022 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For more information about the joint PA program, visit   

Founded in 1984, The ALSAM Foundation was established by entrepreneur and philanthropist L.S. Skaggs. Its focus is to support education, medical research and organizations affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit