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Stanford welcomes first class of students in physician assistant master’s program

Stanford’s new 30-month program emphasizes training for physician assistants alongside medical students for coursework and clinical care.

- By Tracie White

Sara Wright (center) and Erin Lencioni (right) attend a ceremony Aug. 25 welcoming new students in the physician assistant studies program.
Steve Fisch

A welcome ceremony for the School of Medicine’s inaugural class of students in the Master of Science in physician assistant studies was held Aug. 25 on the lawn next to the Medical School Office Building.

Robert Harrington, MD, professor and chair of medicine, and Arturo Molina, MD, Stanford Medicine Alumni Association board member, were among those who welcomed the new class of 27 students. Molina awarded the students their first stethoscopes.

“You are, and forever will be, the first PA master’s degree class at Stanford,” Harrington said. “You will set the standard for the many classes to follow. We expect you to be great clinicians, teachers, researchers and administrators. You will be leaders in the profession. Don't let that frighten you. Embrace it.”

Denise Ros (left) and Marian Padilla are inthe inaugural class of 27 students in the Master of Science in physician assistant studies program.
Steve Fisch

The 30-month program will emphasize training alongside medical students in coursework and clinical care. The students are required to choose an area of scholarly concentration within one of four areas: community health, health services and policy research, clinical research or medical education. The quickly growing field has jumped from 20,000 licensed physician assistants in 1990 to about 115,500 today, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care, and Stanford Children's Health. For more information, please visit the Office of Communications website at

2022 ISSUE 1

Understanding the world within us

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