DECATUR, Ga. – In celebration of Physician Assistant Week, Agnes Scott College announces that The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has accepted the request for the Agnes Scott College Physician Assistant Program to enter the provisional accreditation process. The anticipated date for the program’s launch is October 6, 2025, pending achieving the standards set forth by the commission at the agenda, and pending the approval of SACSCOC.
Each year, October 6 is observed as National Physician Assistant (PA) Day and the week following is celebrated by Physician Assistants nationwide to educate communities about the profession. Physician Assistant Week recognizes the transformative role Physician Assistants play in the practice of medicine and their improvement of healthcare for all.
“Agnes Scott’s mission and values empower students to think deeply, innovate and promote inclusivity. These values are at the core of the physician assistant profession,” said Dr. LeAnne Martinelli, program director and professor of physician assistant studies. “PAs were established in 1967 to increase healthcare availability. Today, PAs pledge as part of their oath to provide compassionate and culturally competent medical care to all patients. The PA program will embody the diverse culture of Agnes Scott and educate students to provide community-based healthcare.”
Agnes Scott is developing a PA program that aims to address persistent health disparities and meet a growing need in Atlanta and across Georgia. Demand for physician assistants is expected to grow 34.2 percent in the Metro-Atlanta area in the next decade, 25.9 percent above the national average. Among the demand is a dramatic increase in the need for maternal, neonatal, pediatric and mental health specializations. In rural Georgia, some 3.3 million people do not have access to a primary care physician. The Kaiser Family Foundation identified Georgia as a Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Area, noting that the state has met only 40 percent of its healthcare needs. Agnes Scott endeavors to address these disparities head-on with the development of the new program.
“Our goal is to increase the diversity of physician assistants in the community through this program, as we have been doing through our medical sciences and pre-medical post-bacc programs,” said Kelly H. Ball, PhD, associate vice president and dean for graduate studies. Agnes Scott’s existing medical sciences and pre-medicine graduate programs have led to 100 percent of the college’s qualified students being admitted to medical school or the health professions program of their choice.
In planning the Physician Assistant program, Agnes Scott continues its commitment to mission-aligned, health-focused graduate programs to address community and workforce needs while providing pathways for careers in healthcare for underrepresented minorities in medicine. Currently, approximately 70 percent of its graduate student population in medical sciences and pre-medical programs identify as students of color.