Similarities and differences between physician assistant program and medical school mission statement themes

Venetia L. Orcutt, Kassidy James, Carolyn Bradley-Guidry, P. Eugene Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine the concordance of US physician assistant (PA) program mission statements with those of US public- and private-sponsored medical schools. With the exception of a broader medical school focus on research, the authors hypothesized that little difference in mission statement congruence would be found in a comparison of medical schools and PA programs. Methods Mission statements of 209 of the 210 accredited US PA programs as of May 2016 were obtained and analyzed. Keywords and phrases were identified, coded, and analyzed using NVivo. Themes that previously reported medical school mission statement analyses (including education, research, service, primary care, diversity, prevention, provider distribution, and cost control) were examined. Additional themes of evidence-based medicine (EBM), interprofessional care, patient safety, and quality improvement were included in the analyses. Results Analyses revealed similar emphasis in both PA programs and medical schools on themes of education, prevention, and cost control, with dissimilar emphases on themes of research, service, primary care, diversity, and provider distribution. Physician assistant programs were more likely to emphasize interprofessional care than EBM, patient safety, or quality improvement. Conclusions In the comparison of mission statements of medical schools and PA programs, much less congruence was found than had been hypothesized. Although this study examined the similarities and differences between the mission statements of US medical schools and PA programs, it did not examine the extent to which programs succeeded in meeting the stated missions. Additional research is necessary to understand the factors that determine whether mission statements are actualized in measurable deliverables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-11
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physician Assistant Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Medical Assisting and Transcription


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