UK College of Health Sciences

Department of Physician Assistant Studies

some facts about us

  • $126k
    median annual salary (National Median Pay, 2022 U.S. BLS)
  • 27%
    job growth (2022-32, U.S. BLS)
  • 1768
    graduates since 1974

Department of Physician Assistant Studies

Welcome to the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. I am honored to serve as the Department Chair for a group of nationally recognized faculty, staff, residents, and students. I hope this site provides you with valuable information about our educational, research and partnership endeavors.  

The Physician Assistant Department was established in 2017 and our mission is to improve the health of our communities by increasing access to care through training physician assistant leaders.  

Our department is best known for it’s top 20 PA program that will be celebrating 50 years of training Physician Assistants in 2025. We are very proud of our legacy where more than 50% of all currently practicing PAs in the state graduated from the University of Kentucky.  

In 2020, the PA department developed a distinctive model to provide specialized training to PAs upon graduation through our PA academic residency program. The PA department provides the academic training, and our clinical partners provide the clinical training. We have partnerships with UK healthcare, Baptist Health Lexington & Louisville, Kings Daughters healthcare, St Claire healthcare, and St Elizabeth healthcare.  This statewide initiative will allow us to reach our goal: to develop PA leaders who will gain mastery in the specialty of their choice to increase access to health care in Kentucky and beyond.

As we work to be innovators in PA education, we also strive to address the gaps in research through our faculty’s inquiry into several topics including: PA health workforce, PA clinical care, ultrasound in education & practice, the impact of substance use disorder and the study of teaching & learning,  

Through our essential partnerships, locally, nationally, and internationally we are engaged in developing and working to meet the health needs of the Commonwealth and beyond through collaboration, education, clinical care and research.  

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our Department and I hope that you will join us at Big Blue Nation as we work to improve the health of our communities.  


Virginia L. Valentin, DrPH, PA-C 
Chair, Department of PA Studies 
Associate Professor