Mission and Goals

A Well Kentucky

The mission of the University of Kentucky Physician Assistant Studies program is to improve the health and well-being of the people in the Commonwealth of Kentucky by graduating competent and compassionate physician assistants who will become transformative leaders in their practices and communities.

Life-long Learning
Inclusion and Diversity
Ethical and Professional Behavior
Advancement of medical knowledge
Quality, Safe and Accessible Healthcare

effective January 2018

Effective January 2018, the UK Department of Physician Assistant Studies adopted revised program goals to align more closely with contemporary college and institutional strategic plans and related goals.  Former goals are available along with respective evidence in support of each.  Ongoing assessment and analysis is underway in respect to the current goals.  Additional evidence in support of contemporary goals will be added below as it becomes available.


  • The pass rate on the PANCE exam for first-time takers who are graduates of our program will meet or exceed the national average for the same year.
  • All of our graduates will meet the Program Student Expectations as demonstrated by successful completion of the didactic and clinical phases of our curriculum, evaluation by our faculty and community preceptors, and by passing a summative examination during the last four months of the program.
    • Faculty conduct formal reviews of academic performance upon completion of each semester, a full review for student transition from didactic to clinical phase, and again at completion of the program.  This includes systematic review and discussion of academic performance, professionalism, and progression.
    • Upon completion of the clinical year, 100% of students in the Class of 2022 passed all professional items on preceptor evaluations of student performance for all rotations.  The cohort average per rotation exceeded target rating for each evaluation period. Additionally, qualitative data regarding student performance continues to be very positive.
    • 100% of Class of 2022 students successfully passed the Summative Exam.
  • All of our students will participate in interprofessional education.
    • 100% of students in the Classes of 2018-2024 completed the University of Kentucky’s Interprofessional Collaboration And Team Skills (iCATS) curriculum and simulation. The Class of 2025 will participate in iCATS in Jan./Feb. 2024.
  • All of our students will be offered the opportunity to study medicine abroad.*
    • 100% of students in the Classes of 2018-2022 were given the opportunity to study medicine abroad.  Recent international experiences include Swaziland, England, Mexico, and Ecuador. *Note: International rotation availability is dependent upon CDC travel guidelines, COVID-19 considerations/restrictions, and Department discretion.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

  • The UK PAS program shall foster a culture in which all feel a sense of belonging.
    • The annual Program Survey includes the following items: “UK PAS students help me feel welcome and included”, “UK PAS faculty help me feel welcome and included”, “UK PAS staff help me feel welcome and included”. These items are rated on a 4-point scale with a benchmark rating of > 3.0. Students rated all three items above the benchmark for years 2019-2023 (five-year mean across all three items of 3.44). Faculty and staff also rated these items above the benchmark annually and demonstrated a five year-mean of 3.51.
    • The annual Exit Survey includes a block of items for Diversity and Inclusivity. These items are rated on a 4-point scale with a benchmark rating of > 3.0. The Classes of 2019-2023 rated this item block above benchmark each year and demonstrated a 5-year mean of 3.29.
    • The PAS Advising Survey includes the following items: “My advisor cares about my success” and “My advisor fosters an environment where I feel comfortable asking questions and expressing concerns”. These items are rated on a 5-point scale with a benchmark of > 4.0. Over the past three years, the Classes of 2021-2024 students rated both items well above benchmark with mean ratings of 4.78 and 4.68 respectively.
    • The Preceptor Evaluation of Student Performance on rotation including the following pass/fail Professionalism item: “Student demonstrates sensitivity and respect toward patient individuality, including but not limited to age, sex, ethnicity, belief system, sexual orientation, and abilities.” 100% of students in the Classes of 2018-2022 earned a pass rating for this item.
  • Graduates of the UK PAS Program shall be aware of and embrace the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the health and wellbeing of the community.
    • UK PAS students are provided with a multitude of university resources annually via their canvas cohort page. The resources include but are not limited to the services and opportunities via UK Office of Institutional Equity & Equal Opportunity and UK Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives.
    • As part of orientation, students participate in and complete workshops/trainings including Culture of Belonging, Unconscious Bias, and/or a presentation from the Office of Institutional Equity or the Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives.
    • More about the College of Health Sciences commitment to justice, equity, and inclusivity, including information about the Diversity and Inclusivity Student Organization, may be located here: https://www.uky.edu/chs/inclusivity

Service & Alumni

  • Maintain engagement with at least 5% of alumni (across all alumni engagement categories).
    • Through FY 2022, we have been in contact with 4.2% of our alumni in some meaningful capacity (this does not include giving participants), up from 3% in FY 2021. Also, during FY 2022, CHS Alumni Relations has participated in, attended or planned ~31 events. The program looks forward to increased engagement as we continue to navigate impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • In FY 2022, we maintained contact through volunteering, experiential, and communication with 106 PA alumni of 1,630 solicitable alumni. This indicates an engagement score of 6.5%, indicating 6.5% of alumni were engaged in some capacity (not including giving). This is up from 3.55% last FY.
    • From FY 2021 to FY 2022, the PA Department saw a 43% increase in alumni engagement.
  • Increase alumni volunteers within the program.
    • The program actively seeks opportunities to integrate alumni in the program. Opportunities include but are not limited to: precepting for clinical rotations (https://www.uky.edu/chs/physician-assistant-studies/resources/preceptors), guest lectures, lab assisting, workshops, and presentations.
    • Twenty-three PAS Alumni volunteers were involved in the program in some capacity in AY 2021-2022. The program’s goal last AY was to increase volunteer involvement by 5%, and that goal was tremendously exceeded by increasing involvement by 43.75%. The program strives to increase volunteer involvement again by 5% in AY 2022-2023.
  • Distribute a PA-specific newsletter as an annual communication.

Scholarly Activity

  • All of our faculty will contribute to the growth of medical knowledge through publication, presentations, or grant submissions annually.


Published Journal Article, Book Chapter, or other Scholarly Work Conference Presentation Grant Submissions
2018 3 18 0
2019 3 21 0
2020 1 22 3
2021 6 11 4
2022 13 42 4


Click here to view Former UK Department of PAS Goals and related evidence.

Medical Knowledge: Our graduates must demonstrate core knowledge about established and evolving biomedical and clinical sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient care.  The PA graduate should be able to develop an accurate assessment of the patient’s condition and appropriately and safely manage their care even if the diagnosis is not immediately obvious.  The PA graduate should be able to manage a wide variety of common medical, psychiatric, and social conditions affecting any body system.  This should include procedures, lab/imaging studies, medications, diet, prevention/ health maintenance strategies and appropriate referral of the patient.  Graduates of our training program are specifically expected to:

  • Correctly identify signs/symptoms of common medical conditions
  • Correctly select and interpret appropriate diagnostic labs and studies
  • Appropriately use judgment and discernment commensurate with entry-level practice
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the normal structure and function of the human body and each of its major organ systems.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of evidence based medicine including the ability to find evidence based guidelines for common medical problems.  Graduates should also understand the current limitations in evidence based medicine and how to make appropriate decisions in the absence of clear evidence.Understand the concepts of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention and how to apply those in the clinical setting.
  • Understand etiologies, risk factors, underlying pathologic processes, and epidemiology for medical conditions
  • Demonstrate the ability to manage general medical and surgical conditions including an understanding of the indications, contraindications, side effects, interactions, and adverse reactions of pharmacologic agents and other relevant treatment modalities
  • Identify the appropriate disposition for presenting conditions, including identifying emergent cases and those requiring referral or admission
  • Appropriately use the history, physical findings, and diagnostic studies to formulate a differential diagnosis

Interpersonal and communication skills: Our graduates must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, patients' families, physicians, professional associates, and the health care system. Graduates of our training program are specifically expected to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to build rapport, and use active listening techniques to communicate effectively both written and verbally
  • Appropriately adapt communication style and messages to the context of the individual patient interaction
  • Conduct an effective and structured medical interview with a patient
  • Use effective listening, nonverbal, explanatory, questioning, and writing skills to elicit and provide information
  • Present their findings accurately and concisely in written documentation as well as verbally to other health care professionals 
  • Use interpersonal and communication skills to work effectively with other health care professionals 
  • Work effectively with physicians and other health care professionals as a member or leader of a health care team or other professional group

Patient Care: Includes age-appropriate assessment, evaluation, and management. Our graduates must demonstrate care that is effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of wellness. Graduates of our training program are specifically expected to be competent in the following:

  • Performing a problem-focused as well as comprehensive history and physical exam
  • Gathering essential and accurate information about patients
  • Applying scientific principles and evidence to the diagnosis, management and prevention of clinical issues
  • Providing effective counseling and education for patients and their families
  • Performing medical and surgical procedures considered necessary for general practice
  • Providing appropriate care to patients with chronic conditions
  • Providing health care services and education aimed at the prevention of health problems as well as the maintenance of optimal health
  • Determining the illness acuity level of a patient, including those with non-specific symptoms

Professionalism: Is the expression of positive values and ideals as care is delivered. Foremost, it involves prioritizing the interests of those being served above one's own. Our graduates must know their professional and personal limitations. Professionalism also requires that PAs practice without impairment from substance abuse, cognitive deficiency, or mental illness. Our graduates must demonstrate a high level of responsibility, ethical practice, sensitivity to a diverse patient population, and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements. Graduates of our training program are specifically expected to:

  • Have the ability to establish effective professional relationships with physician supervisors and other health care providers
  • Display respect, compassion, and integrity
  • Be responsive to the needs of patients and society
  • Be accountable to patients, society, and the profession
  • Demonstrate commitment to excellence and on-going professional development
  • Demonstrate commitment to ethical principles pertaining to provision or withholding of clinical care, confidentiality of patient information, informed consent, and business practices
  • Display sensitivity and responsiveness to patients' culture, age, gender, and abilities
  • Demonstrate the capacity for self-reflection, critical curiosity, and initiative.
  • Present themselves in a professional manner
  • Assist a patient through an ethical dilemma

Practice-based learning and improvement: Includes the processes through which clinicians engage in critical analysis of their own practice experience, medical literature, and other information resources for the purpose of self-improvement. Our graduates must be able to assess, evaluate, and improve their patient care practices. Graduates of our training program are specifically expected to:

  • Analyze practice experience and perform practice-based improvement activities using a systematic methodology in concert with other members of the health care delivery team
  • Demonstrate the ability to locate, appraise, and integrate evidence from scientific studies related to their patients' health problems
  • Make their practice responsive to reflect the needs of the patient population which they serve
  • Apply knowledge of study designs and statistical methods to the appraisal of clinical studies and other information on diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness
  • Apply information technology to manage information, access online medical information, and support their own education
  • Work collaboratively in teams to facilitate the learning of students and/or other health care professionals relative to interprofessional practice/care
  • Demonstrate the ability to recognize and accept limitations in knowledge and skills through self-reflection, give and accept constructive criticism and demonstrate intellectual curiosity to address self-identified gaps

Systems-based practice: Encompasses the societal, organizational, and economic environments in which health care is delivered. Our graduates must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of health care to provide patient care that is of optimal value. Our graduates should work to improve the larger health care system of which their practices are a part. Graduates of our training program are specifically expected to:

  • Have a general understanding of the health care system as a whole and the Physician Assistant’s role in the larger system of care.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the larger context in systems of health care and effectively call on system resources to provide optimal care. 
  • Effectively interact with different types of medical practice and delivery systems
  • Understand the funding sources and payment systems that provide coverage for patient care
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the legal and regulatory requirements of the US healthcare system
  • Practice cost-effective health care and resource allocation that does not compromise quality of care
  • Advocate for quality patient care and assist patients in dealing with system complexities
  • Partner with supervising physicians, health care managers, and other health care providers to assess, coordinate, and improve the delivery of health care and patient outcomes
  • Promote safe environments for patient care