Mission and Goals

Our Mission

Our mission is to develop physician assistants in the Jesuit tradition who realize their full potential as excellent clinicians and national leaders. We pursue this for ad majorem Dei gloriam, the greater glory of God, and the benefit of the human community.

An ideal graduate of our program is well-rounded, clinically and intellectually competent, committed to professional growth, spiritually centered, compassionate and dedicated to doing justice in generous service to others. Our graduates will be leaders in promoting health, wellness, and preventing disease in diverse healthcare settings and in their communities.

Department of PA Studies Goals

AAPA and MU Program Competencies

PAEA New Graduate Competencies

Student Educational Learning Outcomes


Goal 1: The program supports students academically during their physician assistant training in order for them to achieve their academic and professional goals.

  • Students are challenged with a rigorous medical curriculum while being supported by the faculty and administration through a low student to faculty ratio, academic advising and continued support.

Goal 2: The program recognizes students learn from a variety of teaching methods and employs these methods including: lectures, problem-based learning, small group experiences, standardized patient experiences, clinical rotations and self-reflection exercises. Starting with a thoughtful and fair admission process and continued support to the students throughout the program, we maintain a low attrition and deceleration rate.

Goal 3: Graduates of the program strive for a first-time passing rate of 100% on the PANCE exam.

Goal 4: Graduates of the program strive for a 100% employment rate by six months in each graduating class.

Goal 5: Prepare our graduates to promote the PA profession through their leadership, ethical practice, scholarship and service.

  • Graduates are leaders of the profession at the local, state, and national level.
  • Graduates provide compassionate, patient-centered care to a diverse population of patients.
  • Graduates foster integrity through accountability to patients, society, and the PA Profession.
  • Graduates meet all regulatory requirements for licensure and maintain their professional certification through completion of ongoing professional development.

Read how the Marquette PA program demonstrates its success in reaching its Program Goals.


1. Knowledge for Practice

Demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care. PAs should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate investigative and critical thinking in clinical
  2. Access and interpret current and credible sources of medical
  3. Apply principles of epidemiology to identify health problems, risk factors, treatment strategies, resources, and disease prevention/health promotion efforts for individuals and
  4. Discern among acute, chronic, and emergent disease
  5. Apply principles of clinical sciences to diagnose disease and utilize therapeutic decision- making, clinical problem-solving, and other evidence-based practice
  6. Adhere to standards of care, and to relevant laws, policies, and regulations that govern the delivery of care in the United
  7. Consider cost-effectiveness when allocating resources for individual patient or population- based
  8. Work effectively and efficiently in various health care delivery settings and systems relevant to the PA’s clinical
  9. Identify and address social determinants that affect access to care and deliver high quality care in a value-based
  10. Participate in surveillance of community resources to determine if they are adequate to sustain and improve
  11. Utilize technological advancements that decrease costs, improve quality, and increase access to health

2. Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals. PAs should be able to:

  1. Establish meaningful therapeutic relationships with patients and families to ensure that patients’ values and preferences are addressed and that needs and goals are met to deliver person-centered
  2. Provide effective, equitable, understandable, respectful, quality, and culturally competent care that is responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication
  3. Communicate effectively to elicit and provide
  4. Accurately and adequately document medical information for clinical, legal, quality, and financial
  5. Demonstrate sensitivity, honesty, and compassion in all conversations, including challenging discussions about death, end of life, adverse events, bad news, disclosure of errors, and other sensitive
  6. Demonstrate emotional resilience, stability, adaptability, flexibility, and tolerance of
  7. Understand emotions, behaviors, and responses of others, which allows for effective interpersonal
  8. Recognize communication barriers and provide

3. Person-Centered Care

Provide person-centered care that includes patient- and setting-specific assessment, evaluation, and management and health care that is evidence-based, supports patient safety, and advances health equity. PAs should be able to:

  1. Gather accurate and essential information about patients through history-taking, physical examination, and diagnostic
  2. Elicit and acknowledge the story of the individual and apply the context of the individual’s life to their care, such as environmental and cultural
  3. Interpret data based on patient information and preferences, current scientific evidence, and clinical judgment to make informed decisions about diagnostic and therapeutic
  4. Develop, implement, and monitor effectiveness of patient management
  5. Maintain proficiency to perform safely all medical, diagnostic, and surgical procedures considered essential for the practice
  6. Counsel, educate, and empower patients and their families to participate in their care and enable shared decision-making.
  7. Refer patients appropriately, ensure continuity of care throughout transitions between providers or settings, and follow up on patient progress and
  8. Provide health care services to patients, families, and communities to prevent health problems and to maintain

4. Interprofessional Collaboration

Demonstrate the ability to engage with a variety of other health care professionals in a manner that optimizes safe, effective, patient- and population-centered care. PAs should be able to:

  1. Work effectively with other health professionals to provide collaborative, patient-centered care while maintaining a climate of mutual respect, dignity, diversity, ethical integrity, and
  2. Communicate effectively with colleagues and other professionals to establish and enhance interprofessional
  3. Engage the abilities of available health professionals and associated resources to complement the PA’s professional expertise and develop optimal strategies to enhance patient
  4. Collaborate with other professionals to integrate clinical care and public health
  5. Recognize when to refer patients to other disciplines to ensure that patients receive optimal care at the right time and appropriate

5. Professionalism and Ethics

Demonstrate a commitment to practicing medicine in ethically and legally appropriate ways and emphasizing professional maturity and accountability for delivering safe and quality care to patients and populations. PAs should be able to:

  1. Adhere to standards of care in the role of the PA in the health care
  2. Demonstrate compassion, integrity, and respect for
  3. Demonstrate responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self-interest.
  4. Show accountability to patients, society, and the PA
  5. Demonstrate cultural humility and responsiveness to a diverse patient populations, including diversity in sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, culture, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, and
  6. Show commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of care, confidentiality, patient autonomy, informed consent, business practices, and compliance with relevant laws, policies, and
  7. Demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning and education of students and other health care
  8. Demonstrate commitment to personal wellness and self-care that supports the provision of quality patient
  9. Exercise good judgment and fiscal responsibility when utilizing
  10. Demonstrate flexibility and professional civility when adapting to
  11. Implement leadership practices and
  12. Demonstrate effective advocacy for the PA profession in the workplace and in policymaking

6. Practice-Based Learning and Quality Improvement

Demonstrate the ability to learn and implement quality improvement practices by engaging in critical analysis of one’s own practice experience, the medical literature, and other information resources for the purposes of self-evaluation, lifelong learning, and practice improvement. PAs should be able to:

  1. Exhibit self-awareness to identify strengths, address deficiencies, and recognize limits in knowledge and
  2. Identify, analyze, and adopt new knowledge, guidelines, standards, technologies, products, or services that have been demonstrated to improve
  3. Identify improvement goals and perform learning activities that address gaps in knowledge, skills, and
  4. Use practice performance data and metrics to identify areas for
  5. Develop a professional and organizational capacity for ongoing quality
  6. Analyze the use and allocation of resources to ensure the practice of cost-effective health care while maintaining quality of care
  7. Understand of how practice decisions impact the finances of their organizations, while keeping the patient’s needs
  8. Advocate for administrative systems that capture the productivity and value of PA

7. Society and Population Health

Recognize and understand the influences of the ecosystem of person, family, population, environment, and policy on the health of patients and integrate knowledge of these determinants of health into patient care decisions. PAs should be able to:

  1. Apply principles of social-behavioral sciences by assessing the impact of psychosocial and cultural influences on health, disease, care seeking, and compliance
  2. Recognize the influence of genetic, socioeconomic, environmental, and other determinants on the health of the individual and community
  3. Improve the health of patient populations
  4. Demonstrate accountability, responsibility, and leadership for removing barriers to health


The program competencies were developed following the Physician Assistant Education Association Core Competencies for New Physician Assistant Graduates (2018) (Core Competencies for New PA Graduates).   Listed below are the building blocks utilized to guide students throughout the didactic and clinical phases of the curriculum to ensure successful mastery of the required program competencies.

  • Patient-centered practice knowledge (PCPK)
  • Society and population health (SPH)
  • Health literacy and communication (HLC)
  • Interprofessional collaborative practice and leadership (ICPL)
  • Professional and legal aspects of health care (PLAHC)
  • Health care finance and systems (HCFS) 

1. Patient-centered practice knowledge

1.1 Recognize normal and abnormal health (Medical Knowledge)

1.2 Discern among acute, chronic, and emerging disease (Medical Knowledge)

1.3 Elicit and understand the stories of individual patients and apply the context of their lives (including environmental influences, cultural norms, socioeconomic factors, and beliefs) when determining healthy versus ill (Medical Knowledge; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

1.4 Develop meaningful, therapeutic relationships with patients and their (Interpersonal Skills; Professional Behaviors)

1.5 Partner with patients to address issues of ongoing signs, symptoms, or health concerns that remain over time without clear diagnosis despite evaluation and treatment. (Medical Knowledge; Interpersonal Skills)

2. Society and population health

2.1 Recognize the cultural norms, needs, influences, and socioeconomic, environmental, and other population-level determinants affecting the health of the individual and community being served. (Medical Knowledge; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

2.2 Recognize the potential impacts of the community, biology, and genetics on patients and incorporate them into decisions of care.  (Medical Knowledge; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

2.3 Demonstrate accountability and responsibility for removing barriers to (Professional Behaviors)

2.4 Understand the role of structural disparities in causing (Medical Knowledge; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

2.5 Engage members of the health care team in the surveillance of community resources to sustain and improve health.  (Professional Behaviors)

2.6 Engage the health care team in determining the adequacy of resources.  (Professional Behaviors)

2.7 Reflect on personal and professional limitations in providing (Professional Behaviors)

2.8 Exercise cultural (Interpersonal Skills)

2.9 Elicit and hear the story of the individual and apply the context of the individual’s life (including environmental influences, culture, and disease) when determining healthy versus ill patients. (Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

2.10 Understand and apply the fundamental principles of (Medical Knowledge)

2.11 Recognize the value of the work of monitoring and reporting for quality (Professional Behaviors)

2.12 Use appropriate literature to make evidence-based decisions on patient (Medical Knowledge; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)


3. Health literacy and communication

3.1 Establish meaningful, therapeutic relationships with patients and families that allow for a deeper connection and create space for exploration of the patients’ needs and goals to deliver culturally competent care. (Interpersonal Skills)

3.2 Interpret information so that patients can understand and make meaning out of the information conveyed to them. (Clinical and Technical Skills; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

3.3 Recognize the need for and governing mandates that ensure patients have access to interpreters and appropriate resources when barriers to communication arise. (Professional Behaviors)

3.4 Demonstrate insight and understanding about emotions and human responses to emotions that allow one to develop and manage interpersonal interactions. (Interpersonal Skills)

3.5 Communicate effectively with patients, families, and the (Interpersonal Skills)

3.6 Provide effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication (Interpersonal Skills; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

3.7 Organize and communicate information with patients, families, community members, and health team members in a form that is understandable, avoiding discipline-specific terminology, when possible, and checking to ensure understanding. (Interpersonal Skills)


4. Interprofessional collaborative practice and leadership

4.1 Articulate one’s role and responsibilities to patients, families, communities, and other professionals. (Interpersonal Skills)

4.2 Redirect the focus of the health care team to the needs of the (Interpersonal Skills)

4.3 Assure patients that they are being (Interpersonal Skills)

4.4 Ensure patients’ needs are the focus over self and (Interpersonal Skills)

4.5 Contribute to the creation, dissemination, application, and translation of new health care knowledge and practices. (Medical Knowledge; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

4.6 Recognize when referrals are needed and make them to the appropriate health care (Medical Knowledge; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

4.7 Coordinate (Medical Knowledge; Clinical and Technical Skills; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

4.8 Develop relationships and effectively communicate with physicians, other health professionals, and health care teams. (Interpersonal Skills; Professional Behaviors)

4.9 Use the full scope of knowledge, skills, and abilities of available health professionals to provide care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, and (Medical Knowledge; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities; Clinical and Technical Skills)

4.10 Use unique and complementary abilities of all members of the team to optimize health and patient care. (Professional Behaviors)

4.11 Engage diverse professionals who complement one’s own professional expertise, as well as associated resources, to develop strategies to meet specific health and health care needs of patients and populations. (Professional Behaviors)

4.12 Describe how professionals in health and other fields can collaborate and integrate clinical care and public health interventions to optimize population health. (Professional Behaviors; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)


5. Professional and legal aspects of health care

5.1 Articulate standard of care (Medical Knowledge; Clinical Reasoning and Problem-Solving Abilities)

5.2 Admit mistakes and (Interpersonal Skills; Professional Behaviors)

5.3 Participate in difficult conversations with patients and (Interpersonal Skills)

5.4 Recognize one’s limits and establish healthy boundaries to support healthy partnerships. (Interpersonal Skills)

5.5 Demonstrate respect for the dignity and privacy of patients while maintaining confidentiality in the delivery of team-based care. (Interpersonal Skills)

5.6 Demonstrate responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self-interest. (Interpersonal Skills)

5.7 Demonstrate accountability to patients, society, and the (Interpersonal Skills; Professional Behaviors)

5.8 Exhibit an understanding of the regulatory (Professional Behaviors)


6. Health care finance and systems

6.1 Recognize that health care is a (Professional Behaviors)

6.2 Articulate individual providers’ value-add to the health care team in terms of cost. (Professional Behaviors)

6.3 Appreciate the value of the collaborative physician/PA (Professional Behaviors)


MU PA Learning Outcome #1: General Physical Exam:

Students will perform a comprehensive physical examination on the geriatric patient; adult patient; and pediatric patients including toddlers and newborns. The physical examination system components include:

Vital signs, General appearance, Skin, Head/Eye/Ear/Nose/Throat, Neck, Cardiac, Pulmonary, Abdominal, Genitourinary including rectal examination, pelvic examination in women and prostate examination in men, Peripheral Vascular, Neurologic, Musculoskeletal, and Psychiatric.

MU PA Learning Outcome #2: Complete History

Students will demonstrate the ability to obtain a complete medical history on pediatric, adult and geriatric patients including the following components: Complete History, Medications, Allergies with Reaction, Family History, and Health Maintenance.

MU PA Learning Outcome #3: Documentation of Complete History and Physical Exam

Students will demonstrate the ability to properly document a complete medical history and physical exam on pediatric, adult and geriatric patients inclusive of the above components.

MU PA Learning Outcome #4: Differential Diagnosis:

Students will formulate an appropriate differential diagnosis based on information obtained through a focused history and physical examination.

MU PA Learning Outcome #5: Interpersonal Communication - Patient Education:

Students will verbally communicate patient educational information. They will do so with clarity and accuracy at a level appropriate for the patient's health literacy.

MU PA Learning Outcome #6: Interpersonal Communication - Health Care Team Member:

Students will communicate effectively and work collaboratively with other members of the health care team.

MU PA Learning Outcome #7: Professionalism:

Students will demonstrate professionalism in their clinical interactions with patients, faculty and mentors and colleagues.

MU PA Learning Outcome #8: Practice Based Learning:

Students will demonstrate oral and written proficiency in the presentation, critique, and synthesis of evidence based medical and scientific data for the purpose of practice – based improvements.

MU PA Learning Outcome #9: Systems Based Practice:

Students will demonstrate proficiency in knowledge of patient safety and procedural safety while partnering with supervising physicians and other health care providers. They will promote a safe environment for patient care recognizing systems based factors that may negatively impact patient care.

MU PA Learning Outcome #10: Patient Care:

Students will demonstrate sound clinical decisional making skills in their abilities to order and interpret diagnostic studies and to formulate patient management plans across the lifespan using current evidence based medicine.

Students must also demonstrate incremental competence in the 10 measured learning outcomes each semester to progress in the program, and for all 10 learning outcomes in summation for graduation requirements.

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