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MC unveils new medical program

CLINTON — Mississippi College (MC) leaders plan to launch the state’s only physician assistant program and enroll the first students in the summer of 2011.

MC expects to welcome 25 to 30 graduate students in the inaugural class. Students will attend year-round for 30 months and earn a master’s degree in medicine. Physician assistants are health professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physicians.

“Mississippi College’s unveiling of the state’s first physician assistant program is a well-timed step to address the region’s healthcare challenges for years to come,” MC president Lee Royce said. “The program adds further recognition to our already excellent reputation in premedical and nursing education.”

Graduates of the MC program will take the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination prior to licensure. Physician assistants deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in rural and urban settings. As part of their responsibilities, physician assistants conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventative healthcare, assist in surgery and prescribe medications.

Dr. Robert Philpot, who served as chairman of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at South University in Georgia is heading the new initiative. He also brings valuable experience as a physician assistant faculty member at the University of Florida. Since making the move from Georgia, Philpot has worked hard to reach out to the medical leadership in Central Mississippi and is taking steps to bring new faculty aboard.

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