Dayton — The University of Dayton is creating a new physician assistant program expected to open in August 2014.
The university announced Monday it has hired Sue Wulff, a certified physician assistant and current director of Kettering College’s program. She will begin July 16 hiring five full-time faculty, overseeing facility renovation, coordinating clinical rotation sites and developing the master’s degree curriculum.
UD’s program will be the second in the area — Kettering College has offered the master’s degree since 1973 — and the seventh in Ohio.
“The way health care is today, there just aren’t enough health care practitioners to go around,” Wulff said, noting the new program will help meet that need.
“It seems like the job market in the Dayton area is pretty good for anybody with a PA degree,” said Mindy Claggett, spokeswoman for Kettering, which currently has 108 physician assistant students. “We’re contacted pretty frequently by practices in the area looking for PA grads.”
The need for physical assistants, who earn a median pay of more than $86,000, is expected to grow faster than average, at 30 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
They practice medicine under the direction of physicians and surgeons and must have a master’s degree, the bureau reports.
UD’s program is being created to meet a demand from students, said Kevin Kelly, dean of the School of Education and Allied Professionals. The program will complement UD’s clinical graduate programs in physical therapy, school psychology and community counseling.
The Marianist university’s program will likely include the opportunity to study Catholic medical ethics, he said.
Wulff has been director of Kettering’s program since 2002, earned a degree in physician assisting in 1979, and she worked for 18 years in orthopedic surgery in the Miami Valley, according to UD.
“For me, it’s very exciting to build something new,” she said.
The university board of trustees approved the program proposal in January. It still requires approval from the Ohio Board of Regents and the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, the university said.
UD’s physician assistant program calls for up to 30 students in the first year, 35 in the second and a target of 40 students in subsequent years, according to the university.
The 27-month, seven-semester program would be located on the fourth floor of the university’s College Park Center, two floors above the university’s doctor of physical therapy program.
Kettering College appointed its own alumna, Fran Angerer, to serve as interim director of its program. Angerer has been a physician assistant faculty member since 2006. She received a bachelor’s in medical technology from UD and a master’s in public health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She is currently working toward a doctorate in educational leadership at UD.