JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –The U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, or MEDCoE, Interservice Physician Assistant Program, or IPAP, offices underwent a one-year, three-phase construction project from February 2020 to March 2021. IPAP is a multi-service program, educating military medicine’s frontline healthcare providers for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard.
The IPAP construction project, which affected IPAP areas on the second and third floors of Willis Hall, Building 2841, had been pending since 2017. Unforeseen construction delays became a growing accreditation concern to the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc., or ARC-PA, the national accrediting body that sets standards for physician assistant education. Prior to 2020, the faculty office spaces were not adequate for faculty work and student counseling and were found to be inconsistent with ARC-PA standards.
With support from the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, the MEDCoE Command Staff, G4 facilities personnel, Graduate School, 187th Medical Battalion, 32nd Medical Brigade, and IPAP faculty subsequently worked together to define and publish a new MEDCoE office space standard appropriate for graduate faculty, including IPAP’s 41 personnel. The new standard helped align the IPAP project with the accreditation standards.
The IPAP mission is to provide the uniformed services with highly competent, compassionate physician assistants who model integrity, strive for leadership excellence, and are committed to lifelong learning. MEDCoE’s IPAP consistently ranks in the top 10 of all physician assistant programs in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Graduates of the program are commissioned into the officer corps of their respective service and take their place beside other military health care professionals in providing medical services to active duty military personnel, their dependents, and retirees. As of March 2021, all IPAP faculty have access to sufficient space to conduct curriculum development, research, and student counseling in accordance with national accreditation standards.
Mr. J.M. Harmon III, Deputy to the MEDCoE Commanding General, toured the completed facilities on March 26. “IPAP is one of the MEDCoE’s award-winning graduate programs, so their facilities should be reflective of that,” Harmon said. “Though the IPAP construction was a top priority because of accreditation requirements, we will continue facility modernization efforts across the MEDCoE in order to attract the highest caliber of trainees into our programs.”
Further construction for other graduate education programs will be built in a similar manner to the new IPAP offices, which are 65-75 square feet in area, appropriate for an instructor desk, faculty and student chairs, and adequate privacy to conduct regular student counseling.
“The completion of faculty office spaces for IPAP improves the program quality and compliance with national accreditation standards,” said Col. Theodore Croy, Dean, Graduate School, 187th Medical Battalion, MEDCoE. “The MEDCoE celebrates the completion of this year-long project and is proud to ensure that the program faculty have access to excellent work areas where they can plan curriculum, counsel students, and conduct research.”
The award-winning IPAP boasts faculty members who are highly educated medical professionals; many possess a master’s degree, Doctorate of Science, or Doctorate of Philosophy. Each instructor also holds graduate faculty status with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the affiliated, degree-granting university of the IPAP.
“Having suitable offices not only ensures their continued program accreditation,” Croy said, “but also shows students the dedication MEDCoE and TRADOC have for this important multi-service program.”
The IPAP mission is to provide the uniformed services with highly competent, compassionate physician assistants who model integrity, strive for leadership excellence, and are committed to lifelong learning. The program values are integrity, persistence, attitude and professionalism, and the faculty trains over 200 military PA’s annually through two phases. The first is located at MEDCoE, and the second is the hospital-based training phase conducted at multiple military treatment facilities located across the nation. Successful completion of the IPAP awards the student a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, https://www.unmc.edu/alliedhealth/education/pa/ipap.html.