File Photo/Nevada Sagebrush
The UNR School of Medicine sign as it stands on February 20. The school is introducing a new PA program this July.

The state of Nevada has a shortage of physician assistants, but the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is looking to help.

UNR Med is introducing their Physician Assistant Studies Program in partnership with Renown Health this July to stimulate the field—Nevada ranks 48th in the country for available physicians.  Prior to this partnership, the closest program for PA certification was in Sacramento, Calif.

“The new program will increase healthcare professionals for northern Nevada and the state which faces a shortage of physicians and access to care,” the school of medicine said in a statement.

During the 25-month program, students will attend a full-time professional master’s degree program.

According to the School of Medicine, the program is to include clinical and academic courses, clinical skills training and supervised clinical practice. The program will also qualify participants to conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, write prescriptions, and perform and assist surgeries.

“UNR Med’s PA Studies Program is the first such program in the Nevada System of Higher Education and supports the Educated and Healthy Citizenry priority outlined in Governor Brian Sandoval’s Strategic Priorities,” the school of medicine said in a statement. “The School of Medicine joined forces with key healthcare partner, Renown Health, to provide program development, start-up and clinical training. Longtime supporter William N. Pennington Foundation has provided critical facility, equipment and technology support.”

The first class of 24 students in the Physician’s Assistant program is to take place on July 2 at the university’s Redfield Campus in south Reno.

Olivia Ali can be reached at or on Twitter @OliviaNAli.