Program Effectiveness in Meeting Its Goals

Goal 1. Recruit a diverse pool of qualified applicants.

The Florida State University (FSU) School of Physician Assistant Practice (SPAP) continues to seek a diverse applicant pool for each matriculating class.  The FSU SPAP Recruitment Committee constantly seeks opportunity to highlight the PA profession and the FSU SPAP through outreach efforts to future applicants currently in their undergraduate and high school phase of progression.


A distinctive feature of the FSU SPAP is that it gives preference in admissions to Florida residents, residents of South Georgia and South Alabama who live in counties bordering Florida and to U.S. military veterans.  In addition, the SPAP Admissions Committee also takes into the account the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) information on the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application to derive ‘mission-fit’ metrics.  The HRSA data primarily relate to an individual’s socio-economic situation.


FSU SPAP student’s CASPA HRSA data are also complementary to HRSA defined Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUAs/MUPs).  This is because Florida is fourth in the U.S. in HPSAs which are geographic areas, population groups, or health care facilities designated as having a shortage of health professionals.  The state of Florida is eighth in MUAs/MUPs, areas, population groups, or facilities that are experiencing a shortage of health care professionals in primary care, dental health, and/or mental health (


We have set benchmarks for diversity to meet the national averages compared to other PA programs. The FSU SPAP definition of diversity is multifaceted and includes mission driven metrics.  Applicants from within the state of Florida, contiguous counties from GA and AL, and veterans receive admissions preference.  A snapshot of our matriculated classes show that we are extremely effective in recruiting a diverse group within our mission driven metrics with our mission fit approach.


A summary of the characteristics and demographics of the FSU SPAP application pool and class cohorts supports the FSU SPAP’s efforts to achieve this goal.



Class of 2023

Class of 2022

Class of 2021

Class of 2020

Class of 2019

Total Applicants






Verified Applicants






Admissions Offers Made






Total Matriculated






Total Graduates






Attrition Rate






Graduation Rate








Class of 2023

Class of 2022

Class of 2021

Class of 2020

Class of 2019







African American

5 (8.3)

2 (3.3%)

4 (7%)

3 (6%)

0 (0%)


1 (1.6)

4 (6.7%)

7 (11%)

3 (6%)

4 (10%)


5 (8.3)

11 (18.3%)

13 (22%)

8 (16%)

12 (30%)


48 (80)

43 (72%)

36 (61%)

34 (68%)

24 (60%)


1 (1.6)

0 (0%)

0 (0%)

2 (4%)

0 (0%)

% Florida Residents






Resident of a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA)

10 (17%)

25 (42%)

45 (75%)

24 (48%)

26 (65%)

Resident of a Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P)

17 (28%)

21 (35%)

33 (55%)

19 (38%)

19 (48%)

First to Attend College in Family

13 (22%)

11 (18.3%)

17 (28%)

15 (30%)

8 (20%)

Average Math and Science GPA






Average Cumulative GPA






Average Verbal GRE






Average Quantitative GRE






Additional information for each class can be found under the “Statistics” tab on our homepage.


Goal 2. Educate physician assistants that practice evidence-based, patient-centered healthcare in rural and underserved communities throughout the state of Florida.


The FSU SPAP curriculum provides opportunity for students to become competent in evidence-based practice through four evidence-based medicine courses, by applying evidence-based practice principles to clinical practice during clinical clerkships, and through the completion of a scholarly project as a requirement of program completion.

The student’s scholarly projects are presented in the following ways: a written critical analysis of the medical literature of a clinical question, the development of a poster that is displayed during a poster session at the FSU College of Medicine (COM), and an oral presentation summarizing the student’s findings of their critical analysis of the clinical question.  So far, one FSU student has been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.


The FSU SPAP faculty model engagement in scholarly work as all the faculty have published in peer reviewed journals.  Faculty members have authored book chapters and books, serve as journal peer reviewers and regularly present at local, state, and national conferences.


Each spring, all first year PA and medical students participate in the Rural Learning Experience, which is supported by the Florida Blue Foundation.  This is an inter-professional opportunity that allows our students to see firsthand how healthcare is delivered in rural communities in Florida and South Georgia.


To date, four of our students have received a National Health Service Corps Scholarship.  The NHSC program is specifically for students pursuing careers in primary health care. The scholarships cover tuition, required fees, reasonable educational costs, and a monthly stipend in exchange for practicing in rural, urban, and tribal communities that are designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).


During the didactic portion of the FSU SPAP training, students participate in patient-centered encounters in which feedback is provided from peers, standardized patients, and faculty.  Opportunities for self-reflection also enhance the focus on patient-centered care.

Through the FSU COM’s regional campus model, students develop patient-centered healthcare skills as mentored through one-on-one interactions with their clinical clerkship preceptors and regional campus faculty and staff.  The FSU SPAP’s inaugural cohort (2019) accomplished this goal through over 45,000 patient encounters during their clinical experience. Subsequently cohorts 2020 and 2021, experienced over 50,000 and 70,000 patient encounters.


Total Clinical Encounters


Class of 2021

Class of 2020

Class of 2019





Family Medicine




Internal Medicine








Women's Health




General Surgery




Behavioral Health




Emergency Medicine




Geriatric Medicine

















The graduates of the FSU SPAP have secured employment in clinical positions throughout the state of Florida from the panhandle to south Florida and across the country in the following medical specialties: family medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, internal medicine, cardiology, geriatrics, psychiatry, emergency medicine, dermatology, radiology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, general surgery, and surgical subspecialties.


Goal 3. Develop a culture of leadership and professionalism that inspires our graduates to take leadership roles within the community and the profession.


As students in the FSU COM, FSU SPAP students are eligible to participate in numerous Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs).  Service and leadership opportunities are provided through being involved in the RSOs.


Each FSU SPAP class elects class leadership.  The class leadership is supported and mentored by the FSU COM faculty and staff.  

Student membership in the Florida Academy of Physician Assistants (FAPA) and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is required.  A member of the FSU PA Class of 2019 served as the FAPA Student Affairs Chair.


The FSU SPAP supports a chapter of the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (SAAAPA).  Officers are elected annually.  The FSU SPAP chapter is actively engaged in service opportunities on campus and in the community.  Previous service activities have included creating a medical history summary sheet with persons in the geriatric population, canned food and clothes drives, and the delivery of presentations on "fall prevetion" and "self-measured blood pressure" given in various communities throughout Florida.  In 2021, the FSU SAAAPA chapter was recognized as the FSU College of Medicine RSO of the Year.


The Class of 2020 and 2021 collectively contributed to the publication of “Health Careers in Florida.”


The FSU SPAP faculty model service and leadership through their local, state, and national involvement with community and professional organizations.





100% AAPA membership

100% AAPA membership

100% AAPA membership

100% FAPA membership

100% FAPA membership

100% FAPA membership


        Goal 4. Achieve PANCE pass rates that are consistently above the national average.

The FSU SPAP continuously strives to ensure student success in passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and expects to consistently achieve a PANCE first-time pass rate above the national average.  The effectiveness of our recruiting of qualified applicants is reflected in our PANCE pass rates.


To date, the FSU SPAP has graduated three classes, the Class of 2019, the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.   The PANCE results for the first three graduated classes are given in Table 1.  Of note, the Class of 2021 PANCE results are incomplete as these graduates are currently taking PANCE.


Table 1.  FSU SPAP PANCE Results, Class of 2019, 2020 and 2021



Pance Results CO 2019-2021


For the Class of 2019, all 37 students initially took the PANCE and 32, or 86%, passed.  Five students retook PANCE and passed resulting in 100% pass rate for the class.


For the Class of 2020, all 47 students initially took the PANCE and 45, or 96%, passed.  Two students retook PANCE and passed resulting in 100% pass rate for the class.


The FSU SPAP has generated five matriculated classes and three graduating classes having Disadvantaged Background indicators of 38%, 45%, 57%, 47%, and 48% for each class respectively.  These numbers were generated using the HRSA definition of Disadvantaged Background and includes economic, environmental, and educationally disadvantaged metrics.

Other HRSA indicators are percentages of students coming from Health Provider Shortage Area (HPSA) designations of 65%, 48%, 75%, 42%, and 17% along with Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) designations of 48%, 38%, 55%, 35%, and 28% and finally students with Underrepresented Minority (URM) designations of 35%, 35%, 38%, 39%, and 29% respectively.


We have set benchmarks for PANCE pass rates to meet or exceed the national average for each cohort.  Our first graduating class had a first-time pass rate of 86%, below the national average of 93%.  The FSU SPAP continuously conducts analysis of student PANCE performance with changes made to aid students to successfully pass the PANCE.  Our curriculum is effective in helping our graduates pass the PANCE in that ultimately 100% of our graduates from our first two graduating classes has passed the PANCE.


The effectiveness of our recruitment activities generates an extremely diverse pool of applicants when compared to yearly national averages among PA schools.  Furthermore, our diverse pool of applicants has been able to maintain overall PANCE pass rates above the national average.


The FSU SPAP continuously strives to ensure student success in passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) to prepare for clinical practice.


Goal 5. Encourage a commitment of lifelong learning and personal and professional growth.

The framework for personal and professional lifelong learning is continuously laid during a student’s FSU SPAP experience, which begins in the first semester.  Intellectual curiosity, a Core Value of the FSU SPAP, is encouraged during each course and clerkship.  Activities including classroom instruction, small group projects, interactions with standardized patients, clinical simulation, clerkship experiences, inter-professional collaboration during planned events and clinical clerkships are included in the student’s learning opportunities.


Students participate in professional society continuing medical education conferences, weekly “Deans Rounds” during their clinical year and many other educational opportunities outside of the regularly designed coursework.


The FSU SPAP curriculum is influenced by the PANCE blueprint.  Together with the expertise of the FSU SPAP faculty and clinical preceptors, each learning opportunity is developed to prepare the student to successfully complete the PANCE to achieve certification, prepare to maintain certification, and function as a clinically competent PA.




Goal 6. Maintain program accreditation that ensures continuity in the academic experience and ensures our graduates have the requisite knowledge and skills for entry into clinical practice.

The FSU SPAP initially received Provisional-Accreditation status by the ARC-PA. In September 2020, the program was reviewed during the Provisional monitoring phase and received Provisional-Accreditation-Probation.  The program successfully completed the required focused site visit in August 2021 toward the goal of achieving the status of Accreditation-Continued.  Our final Provisional site visit is scheduled for April 2022 and the program plans to receive the Accreditation-Continued status during the September 2022 ARC-PA Commission Meeting.



At its September 2022 meeting, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA) extended Accreditation-Probation status for the Florida State University School of Physician Assistant Practice program sponsored by Florida State University until its next review in September 2024.


Probation accreditation is a temporary accreditation status initially of not less than two years. However, that period may be extended by the ARC-PA for up to an additional two years if the ARC-PA finds that the program is making substantial progress toward meeting all applicable standards but requires additional time to come into full compliance. Probation accreditation status is granted, at the sole discretion of the ARC-PA, when a program holding an accreditation status of Accreditation - Provisional or Accreditation - Continued does not, in the judgment of the ARC-PA, meet the Standards or when the capability of the program to provide an acceptable educational experience for its students is threatened.


Once placed on probation, a program that fails to comply with accreditation requirements in a timely manner, as specified by the ARC-PA, may be scheduled for a focused site visit and is subject to having its accreditation withdrawn.


Specific questions regarding the Program and its plans should be directed to the Program Director and/or the appropriate institutional official(s).


The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at