Sonia V. Otte, founding director of CSUSB’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) program, recently participated in a panel discussion that addressed key issues and solutions in the health workforce at the National Innovative Communities Conference (NICC) in Riverside.

The annual conference focuses on regional innovation and improving quality of life in local communities. Each year, over 500 leaders from government, business, education and healthcare attend the two-day conference to network, generate ideas and gain practical training.

Otte was part of a diverse panel with expertise in public health, higher education, high school pathways and health organizations. During the panel, “Empowering Change: Transforming Inland Empire’s Health,” participants discovered strategies for strengthening the overall health workforce through school health pathways, innovative approaches to address workforce shortages and the pivotal role of health workforce initiatives in enhancing community health.

Otte and Jeffrey Cronin, MSPA director of clinical education, attend the National Innovative Communities Conference in Riverside.
Otte and Jeffrey Cronin, MSPA director of clinical education, attend the National Innovative Communities Conference in Riverside.

The conference shines a light on changemakers who have made a significant impact in their communities. This year’s theme, “Real Change Starts Here,” celebrated and reinforced the transformational potential of local engagement, cross-sectoral partnerships and bipartisan collaboration in driving regional change.

Otte is passionate about diversifying the physician assistant profession, developing a culturally competent healthcare workforce and increasing access to equitable care in rural and underserved communities. She serves a critical role in developing and establishing the MSPA program at CSUSB, which will meet the needs of the community by providing more healthcare professionals in the Inland Empire.

Accreditation Status of MSPA Program

CSUSB has applied for Accreditation-Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The university 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. Accreditation-Provisional status is also granted when a proposed program appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the ARC-PA Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students. In the event the program does not earn accreditation-provisional status, students will not matriculate, and admissions deposits will be refunded. CSUSB is fully accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).