In the heart of North Carolina lies the city of High Point. The town earned its name as the highest point along the North Carolina Railroad. In 1924, the citizens of High Point collaborated with the United Methodist Church to form High Point University. Today, this private university enrolls about 5,000 students and now offers the Doctor of Medical Science (DMS) to PAs.
High Point University Physician Assistant Program
High Point University (HPU) is relatively new to PA medicine. The HPU PA program was founded under the leadership of Dr. Linda Sekhon in 2014 who has now returned to chair the DMS. Dr. Sekhon is a PA and Doctor of Health Science. She has been working in health care since 1983 and training PAs since 1996. “The Doctor of Medical Science degree will provide an avenue for licensed PAs who are interested in expanding their understanding of medical knowledge, developing their leadership and business skills, and promoting lifelong learning,” writes Dr. Sekhon.
High Point recognizes that “quality patient outcomes” are preeminent, something PAs already do well. The Doctor of Medical Science aims to expand on a PAs understanding of medicine and develop their executive business and leadership skills. “We fully understand that PAs are already highly skilled clinicians and play integral roles in building successful clinical practices across the country. We won’t teach you what you already know!”, she writes.
High Point University Doctor of Medical Science Program
Instead, High Point’s DMS will strive to teach PAs to better interpret and evaluate medical literature so they can be applied to patient care. They also emphasize leadership skills to help PAs move into management roles. Recognizing that some seasoned clinicians received only a Bachelor’s degree upon completion of their PA training, High Point does not require a Master’s degree prior to matriculation in the DMS.
High Point’s Doctor of Medical Science program is self-paced, making it the second self-paced program behind Butler’s DMS (where Dr. Sekhon has also served as Chair). HPUs DMS consists of 50 credits broken down into 6-week sessions. The program is expected to take 3 years for most students taking 2 courses a semester. There is no residency requirement and the entire curriculum is available online. HPU DMS students will choose concentrations in either Education or Administration.
The High Point DMS delivers:
- Evidenced Based Medicine (EBM) in Medical Sciences (6 courses)
- Healthcare Leadership (2 courses)
- Patient Safety (2 courses)
- Research Methods (2 courses)
- Administration or Education tracks (12 credits each)
- Doctoral Capstone
PA to DMS Bridge
HPU will also offer a truncated bridge program for recent PA graduates. Recent grads (within 6 months of graduation from PA school) can transfer in 16-22 credit hours from their clinical rotations to meet requirements in EBM and Patient Safety. While the traditional DMS will be 3 years in length (less for motivated students), the PA to DMS bridge allows new grad PAs the ability to complete the DMS in only 1 year. This is similar to George Fox’s bridge program that allows their own new grads to get a DMSc in just one extra semester.
The Doctor of Medical Science at High Point University will have a starting cost of $819.00 per credit hour. Tuition is set to increase by 3% annually. At the expected pace of 9 semesters (two 6-week sessions per semester), the total cost is estimated to be between $40,958 – $43,458. All DMS studies must be completed within 5 years.
HPU also offers Doctor of Pharmacy and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs.
Since this article was first published, Butler University now offers a DMS bridge for new PA grads.