In the late 1960's, GW Hospital hired and trained ex-military corpsmen with independent duty experience, to work in the emergency department suturing minor injuries, applying casts, drawing blood, performing diagnostic procedures, and dispensing medicine. This innovative workforce expansion was accepted by clinicians and staff. In 1972, founding director Dr. Thomas Piemme MD developed the GW Physician Assistant Program anticipating that these new health care clinicians would perform a number of tasks previously assumed to be the exclusive province of the physician. The PAs would be "trained in parallel with the student of medicine," said Dr. Piemme.
GW launched its joint Physician Assistant/Master of Public Health degree (PA/MPH) in 1986 for students interested in the clinical application of preventive medicine and public health in addition to clinical medicine. This program was the first joint degree for PA students in the United States.
Since inception of the US News World Report PA program ranking, GW has enjoyed a ranking of 5 or higher. We believe this recognition is the result of our innovative curricula, accomplished faculty, and the unique opportunities afforded students interested in health policy and leadership in DC. In addition, the GW Physician Assistant Program has been granted continuous national accreditation since program inception.