Joseph Tommasino, PhD
DPA Vision and Invitation to PAs
October 1, 2020
I would like to welcome you to the Touro University Worldwide Doctorate of Physician Assistant Program.
I am a Retired US Army Colonel who has been a PA since 1983. I hold a master’s degree and a Ph.D. I was a President of both the NYSSPA and APAC. Additionally, I served for many years as a delegate for the AAPA. I am currently the VP of PA program Development and Operations for the Touro College and University System.
Let me take this opportunity to introduce you to the future.
I entered the profession in 1981 attending Long Island University’s Physician Assistant Program. When I graduated in 1983, I was privileged to be accepted into the Montefiore Hospitals Surgical Physician Assistant’s Residency Program. I quickly realized that the advanced clinical skills and experiences this program had afforded me at that time, gave me the opportunity to expand my clinical privileges. I was very fortunate to have been formally trained by some of the greatest and most prominent Physician Mentors in Medicine and Surgery. My skills were obtained in a similar fashion to an intern or resident’s training in a remarkable clinical environment. Peer graduates who were not afforded a more formal residency type trading acquired those similar skills with their Physician Partners over time though hours of dedicated clinical practice.
On a personal level, I received tremendous respect by those same Physicians who trained me. They appreciated my skill level and acknowledged it. We were all beginning to understand what this profession could do for our patients and the nation.
I started to think very seriously about what we could do as a profession to grow and become more effective in providing care and working synergistically at high levels with our Physician Partners.
In 1998, I wrote a seminal article in Clinician Reviews (1998, Vol 2 no. 1) called “The Dilemma of the One Rung Ladder.” It was then I recognized that the Physician Assistant profession to which each one of us has dedicated ourselves to lifelong learning had no opportunity to allow us to grow. Let me explain very carefully what I meant in this article.
Our Physician Partners attend formal training in specialized areas of medicine. We do the same, informally, however, we receive no credit for this clinical experience. We have no formal academic or clinical mechanism to codify our growth in the Physician PA team partnership.
Over the years, other professions have aggressively added courses and programs to elevate themselves to the Doctorate level. But, in my strong opinion, the PA profession still has no clear comparable path.
Touro University Worldwide’s DPA program provides the path and gives our profession the opportunity attain the highest educational honor—a Doctorate.
Completion of the DPA program is a testament to our Physician Partners and to the tremendous clinical experience we have acquired throughout our years of practice. As a profession, we are not looking to be physicians, we are looking to enhance and expand our opportunities within our profession. As noted in my seminal article in 1998: “We are simply looking to create more rungs on our ladder—so we can compete with all the other Health Science Professions who have moved in the doctoral direction.”
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Touro University Worldwide is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Touro College Los Angeles (Lander Campus) is a division of Touro University Worldwide.
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