In May 2012, St. Ambrose University announced that it would develop a new Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree program, the first program of its kind offered in the Quad Cities and western Illinois region. With a strong history and regional reputation for excellence in the training of health care professionals, St. Ambrose is in a unique position to prepare students for a growing profession that offers excellent career opportunities and answers local and regional needs for primary care services.
"The new MPAS program will be an outstanding addition to the university's offerings and important to the future of health care in the region," said Davenport cardiologist Michael Giudici, MD, who also serves as a St. Ambrose Board of Trustees member. "St. Ambrose has always been an institution that prides itself on being a part of the community and this is just another example of how the university looked at a regional need and responded."
The St. Ambrose MPAS program builds upon an existing strength and an area of strategic focus at St. Ambrose. More than 525 students are currently enrolled in the university's accredited health sciences programs in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and social work.
"The new graduate program, Master of Physician Assistant Studies, is an excellent addition to an already exceptional set of offerings in the health sciences field at St. Ambrose," said St. Ambrose President Joan Lescinski, CSJ. "At a time of economic challenge, St. Ambrose offers students the opportunity to prepare for well-paying careers with myriad employment opportunities."
At the news conference the university also announced the appointment of Clare Kennedy as MPAS program director. A native of Omaha, Neb., Kennedy has been a physician assistant since 1996 and served as assistant professor in the University of Nebraska Medical Center Physician Assistant program, where she also served as faculty mentor of the student-run clinic for the underserved. Earlier in her career Kennedy directed the Rosebud Reservation Cancer Center, S.D., and was the telemedicine coordinator at the Rosebud Indian Health Service Hospital, Rosebud, S.D.
"The new MPAS program answers a regional need for primary care service providers and provides the opportunity to prepare for a very fulfilling career," said Kennedy. "I'm excited to have been chosen as founding director of St. Ambrose's newest degree program in the health sciences field and look forward to educating the next generation of physician assistants."