Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) has partnered with the physician assistant (PA) program at the Northern Kentucky Campus of University of the Cumberlands (UC).

“In order to build the healthcare workforce in Appalachia, students have to be introduced and recruited from the region,” said Joe Grossman, ARH president and CEO. “We need to grow our own, so to speak.”

That’s why ARH will be providing 300 clinical rotation slots to UC Northern Kentucky Campus PA students. (Cumberlands’ PA students are required to complete 10 months of supervised clinical practice experiences in various fields of medicine in order to graduate.) Because of the partnership with ARH, students from Appalachia will be able to return home and complete these clinical rotations at ARH facilities.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics records the median yearly wage of PAs in 2017 as being $104,860, and the rate of employment for PAs is growing significantly faster than the national average. A recent article from U.S. News ranked Physician Assistants third on the list of “100 Best Jobs” and second for healthcare jobs in particular.

The hope is that, by granting opportunities for students to complete clinical rotations in their home communities, students will be able to pursue careers in the Appalachian region, in which there is a push for more high-quality healthcare professionals.

“With the ongoing shortage of providers, physician assistants are providing high levels of care in many different specialties,” said Brad Hall, Assistant to the President for Health Professions Education “ARH is a trusted healthcare provider that is offering rotation slots for our students. We hope that students from their service region will consider applying for admission to our program.”

ARH is a not-for-profit health system serving 350,000 residents across eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia. Operating 12 facilities, multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, HomeCare Stores and retail pharmacies, ARH is the largest provider of care and the single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky, as well as the third largest private employer in southern West Virginia.

Students in Cumberlands’ Northern Kentucky Campus PA program can obtain their Master’s degree in 27 months. Students complete 16 months of didactic classwork, then 10 months of clinical rotations, and finish with one month of professional development to prepare for the national certification exam. More information about Cumberlands’ Northern Kentucky Campus PA program can be found at

University of the Cumberlands Northern Kentucky Campus Physician Assistant Program has applied for Accreditation–Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). University of the Cumberlands Northern Kentucky Campus Physician Assistant Program anticipates matriculating its first class in October 2019, pending achieving Accreditation–Provisional status at the June 2019 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 or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction offering quality undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and online degree programs. Learn more at