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Barry University's new Center for Community Health and Minority Medicine Building.
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Barry University's Health Education Center OP Building.

Barry's Physician Assistant program helps bill become law in U.S. Virgin Islands

Aug 20, 2012

Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr., of the U.S. Virgin Islands signed legislation into law on July 17, permitting physician assistants to prescribe non-narcotic medications for up to 30 days and a 72-hour supply of Schedule II-V controlled medications, for patients seen in the emergency department of a Virgin Islands government hospital.

The persistent and determined efforts of the Barry University PA inaugural class in St. Croix, local PAs and physicians, and the Barry PA team in St. Croix played a critical role in helping to get the legislation passed. Working closely together, AAPA staff, Barry PA faculty and PAs in the Virgin Islands developed a successful advocacy plan to educate the health care community, legislators and regulators about the many benefits of the physician-PA team model in providing high quality health care to patients within the territory. As a result, the new legislation will allow better access to health care for all residents of the USVI.

Among other improvements, the new law removes an on-site supervision requirement and incorporates much of the American Academy of Physician Assistants’ (AAPA) model state legislative language. With the governor's actions, PAs are authorized to prescribe in all jurisdictions where they are licensed.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded Barry’s Physician Assistant program $1.5 million in grants. Funds from this award being used to support expansion of the Barry PA program into the Virgin Islands. The university’s first PA class in St. Croix began in August, 2011.

The program's expansion into the Virgin Islands is in direct response to the health care and educational needs of those in the territory, as well as to the recommendations made in the HRSA State Health Workforce Profile for the Virgin Islands. One of the goals of the expansion was to improve the PA practice environment and utilization of PAs in all clinical settings in the territory.

“This legislation passed in the U.S. Virgin Islands can help bolster legislative efforts in other states in the United States when people see how progressive an approach the USVIs have taken to PA health care services for medically underserved populations,” said Keith Moore, JD, PA-C, associate program director for the Barry PA program.

Barry’s PA program on the main campus is located in Miami Shores, Florida and offers a Master of Clinical Medical Sciences degree and PA Certificate of Completion. Barry’s two off-site locations are at the University Partnership Center of St. Petersburg College and in St. Croix in partnership with the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital.


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Barry's Physician Assistant program hosts three simultaneous white coat ceremonies

September 12, 2011

Ninety-three physician assistant students from the class of 2013 took part of a historic interactive white coat ceremony, held simultaneously on three campuses. On Aug. 26 Barry University’s Physician Assistant (PA) program was live on Barry University’s Miami Shores campus, the University Partnership Center at St. Petersburg College, and the new U.S. Virgin Islands campus at the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center, Virgin Islands Cardiac Center classroom.

The new campus in the U.S. Virgin Islands was made possible through two grants totaling nearly $1.5 million to the PA program from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Health Resources and Services Administration.

The ceremonies, conducted by videoconferencing, recognized Barry students from all three campuses for achieving qualifications for acceptance into the rigorous PA program, which received more than 1,500 applicants.

At the Miami Shores campus, Dean for Barry’s School of Podiatric Medicine and Physician Assistant program, Dr. Jeffrey Jensen, welcomed the students.

“This program you are about to begin is unique among health care student training programs,” he said. “Its high expectations, tremendous program standards, and an unparallel level of innovative teaching methods are all designed to provide you with the tools necessary to make your careers a success.”

Associate Dean and Program Director of Barry’s PA program, Dr. Doreen C. Parkhurst, spoke from the St. Petersburg campus.

“You are entering your education with the Barry mission as your foundation,” she said. “Barry University pursues knowledge and truth, promotes social justice, embraces an inclusive global world view, and services its local and global communities through collaborative educational partnerships. We expect that you will make a difference in the world.”

Associate Director of Barry’s PA program, Keith Moore, JD, PA-C, addressed the students from St. Croix.

“Every inaugural class is exceptional, in fact, this class is audacious,” he said. “We are offering for the first time a PA program to the U.S. Virgin Islands that is breaking new ground with the highly inventive teaching techniques and what we have accomplished to get where we are today. What you learn today in class will keep with you for a lifetime.”

Barry’s PA program began in the fall of 1997 and by 2005 the PA program began admitting students on the west coast of Florida in collaboration with the University Partnership Center at St. Petersburg College. In 2009, the PA program underwent a stringent reaccreditation survey and was awarded a seven year reaccreditation and has now graduated more than 450 PAs.

For more information about Barry University’s Physician Assistant program and its primary training partner and clinical affiliate, the Governor Juan F. Louis Hospital and Medical Center at St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, call 1-800-319-3338, option 2 or


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