IU, Eskenazi Partner on Clinical Program

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Indiana University's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is partnering with Eskenazi Health on a physician assistant education program. The agreement involves clinical and faculty practice opportunities.

September 15, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. -- Meeting the challenge of educating the next generation of highly skilled medical practitioners is paramount as Indiana's rural areas face a physician shortage. A new partnership between the Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Eskenazi Health is aiming to reverse this shortage.

The school committed to addressing this need by establishing the Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree program, which was launched in 2013. As the school leadership has known from the program's inception, one of the most challenging aspects of physician assistant education is providing a steady supply of wide-ranging clinical education experiences, in which students have the opportunity to apply didactic learning in a clinical environment. However, educational programs across the state often compete for clinical rotation spots, potentially leaving many educational programs struggling to provide suitable clinical experiences for their students. School leadership began to look outside the box for clinical education partners to ensure that IU students have sufficient opportunities.

"The school's commitment in preparing physician assistants for leadership roles by providing the highest quality physician assistant education -- one that measures up to the highest academic standards -- will be enhanced by this remarkable partnership," said Augustine Agho, dean of the IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. “It is my hope that this collaboration will also increase the visibility and enhance the hiring of physician assistants within health systems.”

This clinical partnership promises rotation spots for all IU physician assistant students and faculty practice at Eskenazi Health Center Grassy Creek, on Indianapolis' east side. Eskenazi Health Center is a federally qualified health center that includes 10 locations in the Indianapolis metro area. These facilities provide primary-care services including routine/sick visits, pharmacy, dietetic consultation, mental health care and prenatal care.

“We are excited to be a premiere training site for the IU physician assistant students,” said Dr. Terri Litty, Terri Litty, chief physician executive at Eskenazi Health Center Grassy Creek. “The students will be embedded into a patient-centered medical home and learn how to provide comprehensive, coordinated, and culturally sensitive care. “

This partnership was assembled through the efforts of several key individuals, including Agho; Dr. Mark Bustamante, CEO of Eskenazi Health Center; Dr. Broderick Rhyant, medical director of the IU Master of Physician Assistant Studies program and chief physician executive of Eskenazi Health Center Forest Manor; Dr. John Kunzer, chief medical officer of Eskenazi Health Center; Dr. Terry Litty; and Dr. Gaylen Kelton, clinical professor of the IU Master of Physician Assistant Studies program.

“We are pleased to partner with the IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences to help train the highly skilled physician assistants that Hoosiers will need for their primary and preventive care,” Dr. Bustamante said.

The 27-month program trains physician assistant students to work as part of a highly skilled medical team under the supervision of a physician or surgeon to address patient needs. Physician assistants have the ability to work autonomously to examine, diagnose and treat patients, and to prescribe medicines.

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The IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is on the IUPUI campus in downtown Indianapolis and houses five major academic programs: Health Sciences, Nutrition and Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Physician Assistant Studies. Current research labs within the school include the Center for Translational Musculoskeletal Research, Advanced Neurorehabilitation Research Lab, Pulmonary Physiology Lab, Community Mobility and Participation in Society, Silver Hoosiers Health and Aging Research Lab, and Driving Safety and Rehabilitation Research Lab.

For 155 years, Eskenazi Health has provided high-quality, cost-effective, patient-centered health care to the residents of Marion County and Central Indiana. Accredited by The Joint Commission, nationally recognized programs include a Level I trauma center, regional burn center, comprehensive senior care program, women's and children's services, teen and adolescent care programs, Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health, and a network of primary care sites throughout the neighborhoods of Indianapolis known as Eskenazi Health Center. In partnership with the Regenstrief Institute, Eskenazi Health conducts groundbreaking work that informs health information technology around the globe. Eskenazi Health also serves as the sponsoring hospital for Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services. As the public hospital division of the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Eskenazi Health partners with the Indiana University School of Medicine, whose physicians provide a comprehensive range of primary- and specialty-care services. In December 2013, Eskenazi Health moved to its new main campus and opened the brand new Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital. The new modern and efficient facility is on track to become the country's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver campus and offers unique features like a one-of-a-kind sky farm and extensive art collection. Eskenazi Health was the recipient of $40 million gift from Indianapolis couple Sidney and Lois Eskenazi to assist with building the brand new hospital facilities. Health and Hospital Corporation recognized this generous gift by naming the new hospital and health system in the Eskenazis' honor.

Source: Indiana University Health, Eskenazi Health