The Cal State San Bernardino Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) program officially applied for “Accreditation – Provisional” status from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

Pending an accreditation review in 2024, the MSPA program anticipates matriculating its first class of 40 students in August 2025, said Sonia Otte, who was named the founding program director of the MSPA program in September.

“The 27-month MSPA program is developing to help meet the current and future healthcare needs of communities,” Otte said. “With a focus on health equity, the CSUSB MSPA program will prepare students to provide optimal patient care by evaluating individual, societal and political influences on health.”

The program will make a lasting impact on increasing access to quality care through its innovative curriculum, involvement in the community, and focus on cultural humility, Otte said.

The rapidly growing Inland Empire currently faces a critical shortage of healthcare providers. The San Bernardino-Riverside County region has just 35 primary care physicians per 100,000 patients, which is far fewer than the recommended range of 60 to 80 primary care physicians per 100,000 patients.

To help address these increasing needs, state Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside) advocated for CSUSB to receive state funding to launch the MSPA program. Since 2021, Roth has successfully obtained $11.8 million to support the startup, including hiring personnel and creating new facilities.

The program’s development is led by Otte, who has a critical role in establishing the MSPA program, including designing the curriculum, planning program facilities, creating community partnerships, and obtaining accreditation.

Prior to CSUSB, Otte was the founding program director for the physician assistant program at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) in Claremont, where she oversaw the development and successful launch of their MSPA program.

The CSUSB MSPA program expects to begin recruiting for faculty and staff positions starting in January 2023. The initial positions include a director of didactic education, director of clinical education, and a part-time medical director. Additional faculty and staff positions will be available over the next few years as the program continues to develop.

California State University, San Bernardino has applied for Accreditation - Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). California State University, San Bernardino anticipates matriculating its first class in August 2025, pending achieving Accreditation - Provisional status at the March 2025 ARC-PA meeting.

 Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

For more information, visit the  CSUSB MSPA program website. The page will be updated frequently to include more information about the program, including admissions criteria, curriculum and more.