Diné College to offer physician assistant program

Diné College is planning to offer a physician assistance program.  (Photo/Dine College)

Diné College is planning to offer a physician assistance program. (Photo/Dine College)

TSAILE, Ariz. — Diné College has entered into an agreement with A.T. Still University (ATSU), the oldest osteopathic medical school in the county, for its physician assistant program.

Physician assistants can perform typical nursing duties as well as make diagnosis and write prescriptions. This agreement establishes general collaboration between Diné College and ATSU to increase post-graduation opportunities.

Students who complete the bachelor of science in biomedical sciences and have at least a 3.0 GPA will be identified and get first look at admissions for this pipeline program. Those with other majors are also eligible with additional course work in order to meet entrance requirements.

Additionally, the biomedical science program offered at Diné College is the first-degree program of its kind to be offered at Tribal Colleges & Universities (TCU). The program objectives align with Diné Education Philosophy, mission, and strategic goals through Nitsáhákees, Nahat’á, Iiná, and Siihasin.

The COVID-19 crisis reinforced the fact that health care disparities have systematically impacted the Navajo Nation and other historically discriminated groups who have experienced worse health and increased morbidity and mortality due to this discrimination, the college said.

“These disparities must end, and Diné College will put itself in the position of preparing students for positions in health care and taking leadership roles locally, and nationally in this endeavor thereby increasing its enrollment, reputation and more importantly helping the college fulfill its mission to the Native American People,” said Diné College Dean James Tutt.

In early November, 21 students met with ATSU with the understanding that upon graduation they would serve the Navajo Nation.

Diné College is looking at the possibility of having the first didactic year of the physician assistant program at Diné College.

More information about the program is available from Tutt or any member of the biomedical committee.

Information provided by Diné College

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