U.S. Virgin Islands launch Barry Univ. PA program Aug. 19
Aug 12, 2011
Miami Shores, Fla. –Barry University, a Catholic university in South Florida, is training students in the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John) to become physician assistants through the expansion of its Physician Assistant (PA) program.
Barry’s PA program will provide supervised clinical training for 12 students in the USVI beginning Aug. 19 through its primary partnership and clinical affiliate, the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center (JFLH) in St. Croix.
The new student orientation and courses for the inaugural class will temporarily be conducted at the Martha and Bennie Benjamin Foundation Teleconference Center at the Virgin Islands Cardiac Center, until permanent space for the PA program, currently under construction, is completed at the Sunshine Mall in Frederiksted. Students will receive the same classroom training via the interactive video conferencing process already in use on the mainland. Clinical rotations for students at the St. Croix campus will continue in the USVI hospitals, clinics and physician offices.
“JFLH saw this as an opportunity to invest in our community by improving access to Virgin Island students to gain educational and clinical experience. We are excited about partnering with Barry University in building awareness of the health care opportunities in St. Croix and the USVI,” said Chief Executive Officer, Jeff A. Nelson.
The first phase of the federal training grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) began in July 2010. The grant placed currently enrolled PA students from the Miami Shores and St. Petersburg, Florida campuses in clinical rotations in the USVI. Barry PA students completed 19 rotations in internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, family practice, surgery and emergency medicine. Students worked at JFLH, as well as Roy Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas and the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center on St. John. These rotations provided clinical training experiences in patient populations that include underinsured, low income, culturally diverse, indigent and elder individuals of the USVI community.
Grant funds have supported the placement of the PA students in clinical rotations and an advance team of faculty and staff assigned to St. Croix for the start-up phase. The grant funding also provides the initial administrative, faculty and technical support personnel needed for the operation until it is self-sustained. The PA program has hired three permanent employees for the St. Croix campus; two residents of St. Croix. The program will support further recruitment and development of local PAs and physicians from the islands as future core and adjunct faculty members for the Barry PA Program campus in the USVI.
The PA program, received approval for the expansion project from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant and the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges in the spring of 2011.
“It will take time to develop the PA applicant pool in the Territory,” said Keith L. Moore, JD, PA-C, associate program director. Our goal is to attract and train applicants from the USVI and retain them as PA’s in the regional health care system upon graduation.”
For more information about Barry’s PA program call the admissions office at 1-800-319-3338, option 2 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org