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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Physician Assistant Program

The PA Profession


The Physician Assistant is a professional member of the health care team who is qualified by academic and clinical education to practice medicine with supervision by a licensed physician. Following a medical model of patient care, Physician Assistants are qualified to perform a wide range of duties traditionally performed only by physicians.

Physician Assistants obtain patient histories, perform physical examinations, diagnose illness, determine treatment plans, order and interpret laboratory, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and prescribe medication as well as provide patient education, counseling and follow-up care. The Physician Assistant's scope of practice is delegated according to the medical discipline of the supervising physician, practice setting, level of expertise and institutional guidelines.

Employed in all health care settings and in every medical and surgical specialty, Physician Assistants function to increase access and enhance the quality of patient care while contributing to medical cost containment. Demand for Physician Assistant services is steady, with approximately two to three employment opportunities for every new Physician Assistant graduate.

For detailed information regarding the Physician Assistant profession on the national and state levels, you may contact the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the New York State Society of Physician Assistant (NYSSPA).

For further information about the SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, Physician Assistant Program, please contact the Program Office at 718.270.2325 or send us an e-mail:


Celebrating Physician Assistant Week