The physician assistant profession began in the mid-1960s during a time of health care provider shortages in the US. Dr. Eugene Stead recognized a pool of highly qualified candidates in  Hospital Corpsmen to fill this need. In 1965, he established a two-year training program at Duke University in South Carolina, based on a World War II fast-track medical model used to train doctors. The first trainees were four US Navy Hospital Corpsmen, three who completed the program and graduated in 1967. The first PA programs were geared to military Corpsmen and medics. The program eventually opened up to civilians. Today there are more than 93,000 physician assistants and 196 training programs throughout the US.

For additional information about physician assistants or about becoming a PA, visit the AAPA website.

Core Competencies

PA Program Defined Core Competencies (PDF)

The Physician Assistant Professional Oath

I pledge to perform the following duties with honesty and dedication:

  • I will hold as my primary responsibility the health, safety, welfare and dignity of all human beings.
  • I will uphold the tenets of patient autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice.
  • I will recognize and promote the value of diversity.
  • I will treat equally all persons who seek my care.
  • I will hold in confidence the information shared in the course of practicing medicine.
  • I will assess my personal capabilities and limitations, striving always to improve my medical practice.
  • I will actively seek to expand my knowledge and skills, keeping abreast of advances in medicine.
  • I will work with other members of the health care team to provide compassionate and effective care of patients.
  • I will use my knowledge and experience to contribute to an improved community.
  • I will respect my professional relationship with the physician.
  • I will share and expand knowledge within the profession.

These duties are pledged with sincerity and upon my honor.

Useful Links

Physician Assistant Board – State of California

Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)

National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)

American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)

California Academy of Physician Assistants (CAPA)

Physician Assistant Education Association

Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)

Contact the Department of Physician Assistant Studies

Chair: Heather Ontiveros
Department Secretary: Daphne Paramo
Graduate Admissions Counselor: Raymond Lopez
Email: (for admissions and application questions)
Phone: (951) 552-8138

Mailing Address:
8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504

Physical Address:
Health Science Campus
3532 Monroe Street
Riverside, CA 92504