(Posted August 19, 2003)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College and St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa. have signed an agreement that will allow up to five qualified Juniata
pre-physican assistant students each year early admission into the professional phase of the St. Francis Physician Assistant Sciences program, giving Juniata students the opportunity to earn a master?s degree in physician assistant studies in six years after graduating from high school.

Dubbed the ?4 + 2 B.S./M.P.A.S Program,? the affiliation gives students the opportunity to ensure early commitment to a top-flight physician assistant program, while also earning a Juniata degree.

"Juniata has for years specialized in preparing students for the heath professions," says Debra Kirchhof-Glazier, professor of biology and director of Juniata's Health Professions Program. ?One of the ways the college has gained an edge in placing students in health-related programs is through our affiliation agreements. The agreement with St. Francis University gives Juniata students a step up in becoming a physician assistant.?

?Most physician assistant programs take two years to complete after earning a bachelor?s degree,? says Kirchhof-Glazier. Under the new agreement, students would attend Juniata College for four years of pre-physician assistant education and then would be given early preference in admission to St. Francis? physician assistant master?s program.

?The agreement we?ve signed enables our students to be accepted early in their senior year, which relieves a great deal of stress,? explains Kirchhof-Glazier. ?In addition, our students will be given special consideration for admission to one of the top physician assistant programs in the country.?

Kirchhof-Glazier estimates that approximately 30 to 40 Juniata students apply each year for health professions programs.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.