C of I, ISU launch physician assistant program

The College of Idaho and Idaho State University launched a historic collaboration today, the first day of instruction for the schools’ joint Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies program. Twelve students inside newly renovated West Hall on the C of I campus in Caldwell joined 30 on Idaho State’s Pocatello campus and 30 more on ISU’s satellite Meridian campus in the program, which links the three classrooms through distance learning technology.

The public-private PA partnership allows students to earn dual degrees through a two-year program, which brings together The College of Idaho’s long-standing excellence in the health sciences and Idaho State University’s leadership in health professions to prepare students for success in one of America’s fastest growing occupations.

“This is an exciting day for The College of Idaho, for our first class of PA students and for aspiring medical professionals throughout Idaho and beyond,” C of I President Marv Henberg said. “We are so proud to join with Idaho State University in making this new joint venture a reality.”

The first day of classes is the culmination of a partnership that was formalized in August 2012. Now that classes have begun, all 72 students in the program will participate in lectures originating from each of the three sites on a rotating basis. In addition, PA students at The College of Idaho will have the benefit of working closely with on-site faculty members Talia Sierra—a C of I alumna—and David Talford. During their second year in the program, PA students will undertake a series of clinical rotations in appropriate medical contexts, with guidance from faculty and clinical preceptors.

All C of I classes for the PA program take place inside newly remodeled West Hall, formerly known as the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). The facility includes the main distance-learning classroom, faculty and staff offices, a medical examination room for clinical training, and student study and group spaces. A formal dedication ceremony for the building will occur in mid-September.

“We are thrilled to have the PA program up and running,” said John Ottenhoff, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at the C of I. “Our students have access to a first-class facility, outstanding faculty and the best distance learning technology available. We are very pleased to add such an excellent program to our curriculum.”

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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 12 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