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LBJ Hospital developing Master’s level PA Program with Assumption Univ

Christopher Ferreira with LBJ staff
Source: LBJ Medical Center- American Samoa

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — University is currently developing a 28-month master’s level PA (Physician Assistant/ Physician Associate) Program in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a mutual relationship between Assumption University and American Samoa is an important aspect of the program.

The faculty who are building this PA Program at Assumption University all worked together previously at a different PA Program and, together with Dr. David Bouslough, established a clinical affiliation with the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in 2015 to bring their PA students to the island for clinical rotations at the hospital.

This relationship strengthened and grew over the years until 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic halted travel.

That same team has already visited American Samoa and LBJ three times during the past year while they are building this new PA Program at Assumption University.

In February 2023, Program Director Christopher Ferreira, PA-C, Director of Clinical Education Jeffery Giarnese, PA-C, and David Bouslough, MD spent a week at LBJ providing recertification instruction for over 125 hospital staff.

In April 2023, PA Ferreira returned for the entire month – bringing his family with him to American Samoa – to volunteer in the ENT Clinic and ER at LBJ.

He is here again this week doing the same but also meeting with physicians and hospital administration to continue laying the groundwork for the Assumption PA Program’s Global Health Experience.

The Global Health Experience is not only about Assumption PA students receiving clinical training and mentorship from the excellent clinicians at LBJ. This plan aligns with the missions of Assumption University, its PA Program, and LBJ.

Assumption PA students will gain an understanding and appreciation for different cultures, traditions, and perspectives by immersing themselves in a new environment.  Additionally, gaining a broader understanding of global health issues, disparities, and challenges can help shape their future careers and advocacy efforts.

The clinicians at LBJ will be granted instructional faculty status at Assumption University. The PA Program faculty will personally accompany each group of PA students to the island and become credentialed at LBJ so they will be able to volunteer at the hospital in their own areas of specialty while on-island with their students.

With the planned remodeling and expansion of the LBJ ER and ICU and installation of MRI at the hospital, LBJ is continuing to grow and improve as a leading hospital in the South Pacific.

The Assumption University PA Program, faculty, and future students look forward to assisting LBJ during this growth.

By working together, this plan aims to propel LBJ and American Samoa to lead the South Pacific region in healthcare while simultaneously providing an excellent clinical educational experience for Assumption PA students.

The Assumption University PA Program is currently in development and is undergoing the accreditation process.

The first class of PA students is planned to start in January 2025 and will begin clinical rotations in January 2026, which will include rotations at LBJ.

The Assumption University PA Program, as part of its relationship with the LBJ Tropical Medical Center and American Samoa, envisions its future students to be leaders, significantly impacting their communities in their roles as healthcare professionals.

This program further aims to be distinguished as a premier PA Program in the New England and South Pacific regions, recognized for exceptional PAs in the community, just as LBJ TMC and American Samoa aim to lead the South Pacific region in healthcare.