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Stanford School of Medicine Primary Care Associate Program
with Foothill Community College

The Primary Care Associate Program (PCAP), a collaboration between Foothill Community College and the Stanford  School of Medicine, began in 1971 and will graduate its last class in the spring of 2018.  It is accredited by the ARC-PA, and was first accredited in 1976.  More than 1,500 PAs were educated under this model; the majority of students had extensive healthcare experience prior to matriculation, which was required to adapt to the concentrated, high-intensity style of PA education.  Stanford University is proud of this program, its graduates, and its previous leaders.  Virginia Fowkes, Ron Garcia, Daniel Furtado, Sherry Stolberg and Lucinda Hirahoka were the pioneering leaders of this program, and they will have a lasting legacy in PA education at Stanford.  Beginning in 2017, the Stanford  School of Medicine will offer a Master of Science Degree in PA Studies, which will accept students from throughout the US.

PCAP Academic Credit

PCAP is a 21-month (seven quarters) PA program leading to a Certificate of Clinical Proficiency from the Stanford  School of Medicine and an Associate of Science degree from Foothill Community College.  An optional Master of Medical Science (MMS) degree is offered for PCAP students through St. Francis University’s Physician Assistant Program.


PCAP Mission

  • Educate PAs for clinical practice in primary care and medically underserved communities in California
  • Increase the enrollment and deployment of underrepresented minorities
  • Respond to the needs of our communities and stakeholders, including Stanford University Medical Center


PCAP Goals

  • Educate physician assistants to provide quality patient-centered health care
  • Recruit from and place students for clinical education in regions with medically underserved communities
  • Recruit and graduate students from underrepresented minorities
  • Develop the student's ability to practice evidence-based medicine, reflect critically on their practice, and develop lifelong learning skills
  • Educate physician assistants who demonstrate ethical and professional behavior with peers, patients, and families
  • Prepare students to address community health issues and health disparities in the context of societal and economic systems


PCAP Outcomes

  • Classes  2016-2017
    • 38.3% are from underrepresented minority groups
    • Gender: female (62.8%), male (37.2%)
    • Average Age: 31.9 years (compared to national mean of 26.3 years )*
    • Prior Health Experience: 8,791.8 hours (compared to national mean of 3,089.1 hours )*
  • Classes 2013 and 2014
    • 26.3% are from underrepresented minority groups
    • 28.8% practice primary care in California 
    • 62.5% practice in areas of unmet need
  • Classess 2013-2016
    • 97% are NCCPA certified

*data from the PAEA 29th Annual Report


PCAP  has over 1,400 graduates.  Of the 990 respondents to the most recent graduate survey, 58% practice in primary care specialties (Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, OB/GYN and Pediatrics, and undifferentiated primary care).  An additional 17% practice in Emergency Medicine and provide primary care services in those settings.