College of Medicine Graduate Programs

Primary Care Specialty Track

The University of Toledo

Physician Assistant Program

 

Primary Care Specialty Track

 

Funded by:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Health Resources and Services Administration

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Expansion of Physician Assistant Training Program (EPAT)

 

The University of Toledo Department of Physician Assistant Studies provides a Primary Care Specialty Track option for students that are accepted into the Physician Assistant Program.  After being notified of acceptance into The University of Toledo Physician Assistant Program, all accepted incoming students are invited to apply for membership in the Primary Care Specialty Track at the beginning of July.  Five students are chosen annually to participate in The University of Toledo Physician Assistant Program Primary Care Specialty Track. 

 

Introduction

In 2010, legislation (Affordable Care Act) was passed to increase access to healthcare for all Americans. The need for primary care is expected to grow because of this expanded health care coverage for un-insured and under-insured individuals. To meet this need, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) originated a funding grant opportunity to expand the number of physician assistants (PAs) practicing primary care medicine. The Expansion of Physician Assistant Training (EPAT) Program, a $32 million five-year investment, is aimed at increasing the number of PAs who work in the primary care fields of family medicine, general internal medicine and general pediatrics. The University of Toledo Physician Assistant Program (UT PA Program) was awarded an EPAT grant funded for $1,009,880.00 over five years, beginning in August 2011.

The purpose of this grant is to increase student enrollment in The University of Toledo Physician Assistant Program and to increase the number of Program graduates who will practice in primary care. The mission of the UT PA Program is to provide a comprehensive didactic and clinical educational program necessary to develop highly skilled, well-educated, primary-care-oriented PAs who are capable of providing high-quality, cost-effective, patient-centered health care services. This is congruent with the HRSA EPAT initiative to increase the population’s access to health care by providing a diverse, culturally competent healthcare workforce to improve access to primary care especially to previously un-insured and under-insured individuals who are now covered by the Affordable Care Act.

The UT PA Program established the UT PA Program Primary Care Specialty Track to increase annual enrollment by five students in order to secure the EPAT grant funding and increase the number of PA primary care providers. Through this grant, the UT PA Program plans to award exactly five new matriculating students with a membership in the UT PA Program Primary Care Specialty Track which provides each member with $44,000 in federal grant funding distributed equally over two years. Twenty-two thousand dollars of funding will be provided to each member of the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track in August of the first and second year in the UT PA Program. The application cycle for the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track is only open to individuals who have already been offered acceptance into the UT PA Program.


Primary Care Specialty Track Program

The University of Toledo Physician Assistant Program (UT PA Program) developed a comprehensive plan for the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track. The Primary Care Specialty Track award recipients will receive exactly $22,000 annually for the first two years (twenty-four months) of their PA training for those entering the UT PA Program between the Fall Semester (August) 2011 and 2014. The five recipients of the Primary Care Specialty Track awards who matriculate into the UT PA Program in Fall Semester (August) 2015 will receive exactly $22,000 for only the first year of their PA training. All awards will be decided upon and disbursed prior to September 1 of the year of matriculation into the UT PA Program. For each class of PA students matriculating after Fall Semester (August) 2015, the UT PA Program will still continue the Primary Care Medicine Specialty Track (five awardees annually). These students will still be given the opportunity to apply for and participate in the Primary Care Specialty Track; however, these students will not receive specific EPAT grant funding. There will be an attempt to find some special funding (University, state or federal grants), but this is neither guaranteed nor necessary for the Primary Care Specialty Track to continue. Thus, five incoming students from each class after Fall Semester 2015 will have the opportunity to receive the Primary Care Specialty Track distinction.

Each student in the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track will take all of the same didactic courses as the remainder of the students in the UT PA Program and will attend the UT PA Program for a total of twenty-seven months. Students in the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track who decelerate in the UT PA Program will receive funding for exactly the first two years of their study in the UT PA Program. Students in the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track who voluntarily leave the program or are dismissed from the program will only receive funding for the period of time they were in the program. Students who fail to fulfill any of the obligations of the Primary Care Specialty Track will be dismissed from the Track and thus, only receive funding for the period of time spent in this Track. Students with other issues (medical leave, etc.) will be evaluated on an individual basis. Upon graduation from the UT PA Program, members of the Primary Care Specialty Track will receive special recognition at graduation in addition to being awarded a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences from The University of Toledo.

Members of the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track will be provided with abundant information about and exposure to primary care medicine. Upon being awarded membership in the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track, each student must agree to the stipulations in the Primary Care Contract (there is a sample version of this contract at the bottom of this webpage). The Primary Care Contract provides details of student responsibilities and participation in the Track. The UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track program is aimed at increasing the matriculating class size in the UT PA Program, with the goal of addressing the well-documented primary care provider shortage and lack of access to care in underserved populations in Lucas County, neighboring counties, the state of Ohio and the United States as a whole.


Application Information

The UT PA Program encourages new matriculating students (students who have already been offered and accepted the offer to attend the UT PA Program) to apply for the prestigious UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track. All application information discussed below must be submitted electronically in one email. Application documents may be submitted as pdf or Microsoft Word attachments. The letter of recommendation must be submitted as a Word document or scanned and sent as a pdf. Again, all application information must be submitted together as one email. There may be one or more attachments to the email that contain application information, but all information must be received in the same email. The Primary Care Contract will only be completed by the five individuals who are offered entry into the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track.

A complete application includes all of the following:

  1. UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track Form

    Applicants must submit the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track Form. This form includes gathering the applicant’s demographic information and a listing of primary care experiences. The primary care experiences include background in family practice, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics. Those applying for the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track do not need to be from a healthcare professional shortage area, medically underserved area/population, or have primary care experience. No signature is necessary, as submission of the application via email signifies that the applicant is providing true and honest information.

  2. 500 Word Essay

    Each applicant must submit an original essay related to the following prompt:
    Why are you applying for the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track? 
    In addition, please address each of the following in your essay:
        Commitment to primary care
        Commitment to underserved population
        The PA role in primary care

  3. Letter of Recommendation

  4. Each applicant must submit exactly one letter of recommendation using the Letter of Recommendation template. The recommendation must be from a licensed healthcare provider (from any field of medicine and from any provider level) and must specifically recommend the applicant for the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track.  The Letter of Recommendation must be submitted electronically, either as a Word document with information typed into the template or a pdf of the Letter of Recommendation template that was printed and completed by hand.  A signature from the individual provided the recommendation is not mandatory, as the contact information for the individual is provided with the Letter of Recommendation (see Letter of Recommendation template above).

The application cycle is open annually from July 1 – July 8 only.

Applications must be submitted to the Primary Care Specialty Track Principal Investigator (Professor Gardner) via email (april.gardner@utoledo.edu) between the dates of July 1 and July 8 only.

All application information must be submitted electronically in one email. The email should have the subject heading of “Primary Care Specialty Track.”

Please note: Applications submitted prior to or after the application cycle dates will not be considered. In the event that fewer than five complete applications are received, the fund distribution will be at the discretion of the UT PA Program.

 

Submitted applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track Form:

  2. Consideration will be given to applicants from a health professional shortage area, medically underserved area/population, and those from an economically disadvantaged background. 
    Applicant primary care experience (role/job title and number of hours)

  3. 500 Word Essay:

  4. Spelling and grammar
    Maturity of writing and organization of thoughts and ideas
    Content, in relation to prompt

  5. Letter of Recommendation:

  6. Average evaluation numerical score of recommendation
    Qualities noted in written recommendation
    Consideration will be given to applicants with a letter from licensed master degree or higher primary care provider (PA, MD, DO, or NP)
    Consideration will be given to applicants with a long-standing relationship with the evaluator

Following the evaluation of the application, the top five scoring applicants will be contacted to formally accept entry into the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track by signing the Primary Care Contract.

Primary Care Contract (SAMPLE)

 

I, ________________________________, hereby agree to be a member of The University of Toledo Physician Assistant (UT PA) Primary Care Specialty Track and fulfill the requirements and stipulations as set forth below.

Primary Care Mentoring Program
The Primary Care Mentoring Program involves regular, at least once monthly, one-on-one meetings with a designated second year UT PA Program Primary Care Specialty Track awardee and at least once per semester with the UT PA Program Medical Director. In the second year of receipt of the Primary Care Medicine Track award, each recipient will be responsible to serve as a Primary Care Mentor for one of the first year student awardees. For the first year of the UT PA Program Primary Care Specialty Track (those entering in August, 2011), since there are not any second-year student mentors, all awardees must attend monthly mentoring meetings with the UT PA Program Director and at least once per semester with the UT PA Program Medical Director. Each of the above meetings must be face-to-face, last at least 30 minutes in duration and must include documentation of the major points discussed at the meeting.

Primary Care Clubs and Organizations
Primary Care Specialty Track students must be active members of both the UT Interprofessional Organization of Healthcare Students (IOHS) Club and the UT Family Practice Club. The IOHS involves faculty and students from multiple healthcare disciplines (medicine, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing, advanced practice nursing, pharmacy, etc.) meeting and learning together. The UT Family Practice Club focuses on understanding of family practice medicine through interaction with current practitioners, lectures involving billing and office set-up, and an opportunity for students from different disciplines (primarily MD and PA) to discuss potential roles in a family practice office. Documentation demonstrating being active in the above organizations is required, and consists of regularly attending meetings and participating in at least one event per organization annually.

Primary Care Elective
In order to maximize exposure to primary care medicine, each member of the Primary Care Specialty Track must choose a primary care elective (family medicine, general internal medicine or general pediatrics) during their clinical portion of training in the UTPA Program.

Professionalism and Academic Standing
Members of the Primary Care Specialty Track are expected to demonstrate professionalism equal to their prestigious membership in this Track. It is understood that a single professionalism violation may result in dismissal from the Primary Care Specialty Track and loss of additional funding. Members of the Primary Care Specialty Track must be current students in the UT PA Program and withdrawal or dismissal from the UT PA Program will result in dismissal from the Primary Care Specialty Track and loss of additional funding.

Feedback and Data Gathering
Members of the Primary Care Specialty Track agree to participate in once annual surveys aimed at improving the Primary Care Specialty Track for seven years after attaining membership in the UT PA Primary Care Specialty Track. The University of Toledo Physician Assistant Program will not impose primary care service obligations or penalties upon graduating members of the Primary Care Specialty Track; however, professional exposure and clinical practice in these areas is encouraged. 

____________________                                       ______________
Signature                                                             Date

 

Questions: Phone: 419-383-5408, Email: april.gardner@utoledo.edu

Last Updated: 3/23/15