Written by Sarah Shelley | Content Development Specialist

Every graduate from Cohort 2 of the PA program in NKY successfully pass the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) this spring.

Physician assistant (PA) students at University of the Cumberlands Northern Kentucky (NKY) Campus had a strong showing this spring. Not only did every graduate from Cohort 2 of the PA program in NKY successfully pass the PANCE (Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination) this spring, but, in addition, PA students placed 3rd in the AAPA National Medical Challenge Bowl.

In short, these PA students know their stuff, and they perform well under pressure. Just what the professors at Cumberlands’ NKY Campus have been educating them to do.

Blair Whitaker, PA-C, director of the PA program in NKY, said, “These students are great representatives of the program, PA profession, and university. I couldn’t be prouder of our faculty, staff, and students.”

This is the second consecutive year for the program to have a 100 percent PANCE pass rate. Whitaker said that, when the program faculty and staff received word about it, they were “elated.” In 2022, the national pass rate for all PANCE takers was 89%.

“A lot of hard work and dedication is poured into the program, and it is incredibly satisfying to see our graduates be successful,” Whitaker remarked. “It is very uncommon for a PA program to achieve a 100 percent PANCE pass rate for both their first and second cohorts. This speaks to the quality of the education delivered by the faculty and the commitment of our students.”

The third-place National Medical Challenge Bowl finish came shortly after Whitaker received official word that the entire second cohort of the program had passed their PANCE. The AAPA (American Academy of Physician Associates) National Medical Challenge Bowl is an annual competition in which PA students from around the country participate in what is essentially a game show to test their knowledge on various medical subjects. Questions cover the topics of physical diagnosis, microbiology, anatomy, OB/GYN, pulmonary, cardiology, primary care, emergency medicine, and surgery. PA students from Cumberlands’ NKY Campus competed against 88 other teams and beat teams from Stony Brook University, Southern Illinois University, Case Western Reserve University, Wake Forest University, and Mississippi College to advance to the finals, ultimately taking home 3rd place. Cumberlands’ PA student competitors included Sabrina Albanese, Josh Clopp, and Carly Welch – all members of Cohort 3 in the NKY Campus PA Program.

Whitaker said, “A lot of other PA programs had not heard of us before this year’s Challenge Bowl. Now, the word is out, and we continue to be excited about our future.”

PA students at University of the Cumberlands receive high-quality instruction from experienced faculty at affordable rates. To learn more about the PA program at Cumberlands’ NKY Campus as well as the university’s Williamsburg, KY, campus, visit www.ucumberlands.edu/academics/graduate.