The University of Toledo received a letter Monday from the Physician Assistant Accrediting Body of its decision to reinstate the physician assistant program’s accreditation after the agency submitted a report in October putting the program’s accreditation into question.
The program was placed on accreditation-probationary status in 2017 by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant after the agency decided it did not meet ARC-PA standards.
According to the Oct. 6 letter, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant’s decision to recommend the withdraw included insufficient faculty, lack of oversight by the institution and former interim program director Linda Dill, and it did not meet “acceptable” education standards.
“When we received the notification in early October, we put a group together to carefully look at the issues raised by the accrediting agency,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Science.
Following the Oct. 6 letter, April Gardner replaced Dill as interim program director and Linda Speer replaced Patricia Hogue as department chair of the program, Speer said in an October interview with the IC.
The PA program’s accreditation was dependent upon the outcome of the appeal process, said Meghan Cunningham, director of communications.
“While we were going through the appeals process, our status remained accreditation-probation,” Cunningham said.
The PA program began looking at ARC-PA’s standards and conducted a program self-assessment that is still underway, Cooper said.
Included in this assessment was a retreat in late December attended by faculty and staff, and weekly group meetings are to discuss the needs of the program.
UT will continue to improve “the PA program so that it not only aligns with the standards of ARC-PA, but that it also is on par with the high standards of the well-respected and valued programs at UT and in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences,” UT President Sharon Gaber said in a letter to students, faculty and staff.
The accreditation-probationary status is limited to two years, Cooper said.
According to the ARC-PA letter, the agency will conduct a site visit in late 2018 to see if the program has complied with the 34 citations listed in the letter and has enrolled a class of 20 students in Fall 2018.
If the program does not meet the 34 citations by the 2018 review, it risks losing its accreditation.
“For those of us working with the students, we made plain that our single area of focus was students and their success,” Cooper said. “All we’ve done was about trying to make our students successful.”