The ATSU-College for Healthy Communities houses the Central Coast Physician Assistant program, which educates culturally-humble, diverse physician assistants (PAs) to serve the primary care needs of medically underserved communities. The program prepares highly competent professionals in the science of medicine steeped in the osteopathic tradition of body, mind, and spirit care for the whole person and service to underserved populations.
ATSU has developed the CCPA program to meet the needs of the nationwide network of community health centers providing compassionate care to medically underserved populations. CCPA participates in ATSU’s Hometown Scholars program, which helps the University meet these needs by identifying, attracting, and educating dedicated, motivated, and qualified community-minded healers.
The CCPA program goals are:
- Recruit, matriculate and graduate a diverse class of culturally humble students.
- To develop life-long learners with the requisite medical knowledge and skills ready to deliver evidence-based, patient-centered health care.
- Foster recognition of ways in which the social determinants of health affect individuals and their respective communities.
- Utilize innovative evidence-based educational methods aided strongly by technology and focused on equity and inclusion.
From their first day, CCPA students are immersed in engaged scholarship, threading the philosophy of whole person healthcare and serving the underserved through classes and activities designed to foster critical thinking. Program curriculum is grounded in this philosophy and emphasizes the sociocultural dimension of the practice and delivery of healthcare. The learning environment is active and learner-centered, designed around guided independent study and small group case analysis and problem-solving.
Facility, Equipment, & Materials
The ATSU-College for Healthy Communities is located in Santa Maria, California. The second floor of the new Central Coast Credit Union building, located at 1075 E. Betteravia Rd., Suite 201, Santa Maria, CA 93454, serves as the initial location for the program and has been recently built out to accommodate the needs of students, faculty and staff, including all classroom spaces for the program.
The 27,000 sq ft facility has furniture, fixtures and equipment providing an attractive and safe environment for student learning. The entire facility is both spacious and state of the art with large meeting spaces and clinical simulation areas designed to provide an atmosphere of cooperative learning in a comfortable environment.
The ATSU facility includes the following:
- Secure Entrance Lobby
- Administrative Offices and Workspace
- Academic Support Services Workspace
- Large Learning Theater (6,000 sq ft) with Audio and Video Equipment
- Maternity Support Room
- 10 Clinical Simulation Rooms with Exam Tables and Equipment
- Clinical Supplies Storage Room
- Learning Resource Center (aka Library)
- Task Training Area with Large Tables
- Faculty Work Area (4,000 sq ft)
- 4 Conference Rooms
- Faculty Break Area
- Student Lounge Area (2,500 sq ft)
- Large Outdoor Patio
The entire facility is served by a secure, high speed wireless network system that connects students, faculty and staff directly to the University network and online resources including a large resource of library holdings. From the on-campus Learning Resource Center, or from anywhere in the world, students have 24 hours a day/7 days a week access to ATSU’s library resources via their ATSU issued network login credentials. Library learning resources are available at https://www.atsu.edu/library.
Contact ATSU-College for Healthy Communities
The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Central Coast Physician Assistant Program sponsored by A.T. Still University of Health Sciences.
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.
Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.
The program’s accreditation history can be viewed on the ARC-PA website at http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation-history-at-still-university-central-coast/.
ATSU-College for Healthy Communities is a private institution approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Approval to operate means ATSU-College for Healthy Communities complies with state standards as set forth in the CEC and 5, CCR. http://www.bppe.ca.gov.
Office of Student Assistance and Relief
The Office of Student Assistance and Relief is available to support prospective students, current students, or past students of private postsecondary educational institutions in making informed decisions, understanding their rights, and navigating available services and relief options. The office may be reached by calling 888.37.758, option #5, or by visiting osar.bppe.ca.gov.
Certification & Licensure
The written examination for certification as a physician assistant is administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Successful completion requires that the applicant achieve the passing score established by the NCCPA for that examination. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that certification of their examination score is received by the Physician Assistant Board (PAB). The NCCPA phone number 678.417.8100 and their website address is http://www.nccpa.net/. The PAB phone number is 916.561.8780 and their website is http://www.pab.ca.gov/.
An individual is required to have a license in order to practice or represent themselves as a Physician Assistant in the State of California. A license is granted by the California Physician Assistant Board (PAB) in the Department of Consumer Affairs. A complete description of and an application for licensure is available on the PAB website https://www.pab.ca.gov/applicants/index.shtml. Fees are required to apply.
Applicants must provide proof of graduation from an accredited PA program and successful completion of the certification examination (NCCPA Pance or PANRE). Additionally, applicants must provide fingerprints, complete a criminal background check and be free of mental illness or disorder that would have an ongoing impact on their functions as a physician assistant.
Technical Standards for Admissions, Matriculation, & Graduation
Minimal Technical Standards for Matriculation (the “Standards”) state expectations of ATSU students. The Standards provide sufficient information to allow the candidate to make an informed decision for application. Minimal Technical Standards for Matriculation are a guide to accommodation of students with disabilities. Academic adjustments can be made for disabilities in some instances, but a student must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.
Applicants and current students who have questions regarding the technical standards, or who believe they may need to request academic adjustment(s) in order to meet the standards, are encouraged to contact Learning Resources & Accommodation Services. Procedures to apply for academic adjustments are found at the conclusion of this policy.
The holder of a health sciences professional degree must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. In order to carry out the activities described below, candidates for a degree in Physician Assistant Studies, must be able to consistently, quickly, and accurately integrate, analyze, and synthesize data.
A candidate for the Master of Science degree for the CCPA program must possess abilities and skills in seven identified categories, including observation; communication; motor; sensory; strength, mobility and endurance; intellectual, (conceptual, integrative, and quantitative); and behavioral and social.
These abilities and skills are defined as follows:
- Observation: Candidates and students must have sufficient uncorrected or corrected visual acuity, depth perception, and color perception to be able to observe demonstrations, experiments, and laboratory exercises in the basic and clinical sciences. They must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance of 20 feet and up close. Vision must be sufficient to utilize clinical instrumentation; identify dissected nerves and landmarks on anatomical structures such as the tympanic membrane; observe motion; and evaluate posture, locomotion and movement in a clinical setting. Adequate visual capabilities are necessary for proper evaluation and treatment integration, including the assessment of symmetry, range of motion, and tissue texture changes.
- Communication: Candidates and students must possess formal and conversational speech and language skills in English. The student must be able to write, read and comprehend classroom lecture and assessment materials, technical reports, diagnostic and treatment reports and professional correspondence in English. They must be able to speak, hear (with or without the use of amplification and/or other assistive technology), and observe patients in order to elicit information; examine and treat patients; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive nonverbal communication. They must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. They must be able to communicate effectively in oral and written form with all members of the healthcare team.
- Motor: Candidates and students must have sufficient motor functions to execute movements required to perform laboratory exercises and provide clinical care. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine motor movements and equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
- Sensory: Candidates and students must have functional use of sensory skills such as tactile discrimination and proprioception for classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences. Functional use of hearing and vision are also required and are described in the sections above.
- Strength, mobility and endurance: Candidates and students must have sufficient upright posture, balance, flexibility, mobility, strength and cardiovascular endurance for standing, sitting, lifting moderate weight and participating in classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences.
- Intellectual (conceptual, integrative, and quantitative): Candidates and students must be able to engage in activities of discovery, measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of health professionals, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, candidates and students should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand the spatial relationships of structures.
- Behavioral and social: Candidates and students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all academic requirements and responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients. Candidates and students must be able to develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates and students must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, respect for differences, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and educational processes.
ATSU-College for Healthy Communities School Policies
Faculty Academic Advising
A team-centered approach will be utilized to provide academic support for students. Each student will be connected to one or more faculty advisors upon matriculation. Advising will focus on each student’s unique strengths and challenges. Advisors will inform and facilitate students in accessing appropriate supports from other areas of the University as appropriate. Students are ultimately responsible for their own success.
Learning Resources & Accommodation Services (LRAS) provides advising and services to ATSU students who want to enhance their learning and academic performance. LRAS works with the PA program to facilitate current students, graduates, and others who express interest in providing tutoring to PA students challenged by the program. Students wishing to obtain tutoring assistance should contact their advisor and/or LRAS to inquire about available tutors.
Students with Disabilities
Learning Resources & Accommodation Services (LRAS) supports ATSU students with disabilities by determining eligibility and coordinating necessary academic adjustments (accommodations), while maintaining the standards of the University. Any student seeking academic adjustments to accommodate limitations due to a documented disability is required to register with LRAS. ATSU faculty will not provide disability-related academic adjustments without referral to and notice from LRAS. To register, or to discuss adjustments and services as they may apply to your individual situation, please contact LRAS at email@example.com, 660.626.2774 Missouri campus, or 480.245.6248 Arizona campus.
ATSU-College for Healthy Communities does not offer formal placement services.
The Code of Academic Conduct is outlined in detail in the ATSU Policies section of this Catalog. The Code of Behavioral Standards is outlined in detail in the University Student Handbook. Students are expected to be familiar with this code. Additionally, the University Student Handbook outlines the procedure for reporting and investigating violations of the codes.
Academic Standing, Progression, & Probation
A student who is in good standing in the program will have met the following criteria:
- A passing grade in all completed preclinical and clinical courses as defined in each course syllabus.
- Meet the defined CCPA Professionalism Expectations and be in compliance with all program and University policies and procedures.
Progression in the program (from course to course) is contingent on:
- maintaining good academic standing,
- continued mastery of course learning outcomes, and
- demonstration of behaviors consistent with a healthcare professional as outlined in the Professionalism section.
Students who fail to maintain good academic standing will be placed on probation by the Student Progress Board (SPB) (see At-Risk Student Intervention section). In written notification, the Program Chair will specify:
- the reason(s) for probation
- the requirements for restoration of good standing, and
- the prescribed methods for completing those requirements.
Probationary status is noted on the student’s official transcript. Probation may affect a student’s financial aid status and/or funding opportunities. Probationary status may be reported or discoverable by future employers or state boards during background checks, credentialing, or licensure reviews.
- Students are expected to pass all completed courses.
- Students are expected to review their progress during each course, and proactively engage with course faculty and their advisor before summative assessments to address learning challenges.
- Students are expected to participate in a convened Student Progress Board.
- Students are expected to strive beyond merely earning passing grades to develop their understanding of and proficiency with the requisite knowledge and skills required to practice as a safe, competent PA.
At-Risk Student Identification & Intervention
Identifying At-Risk Students
Each learner is ultimately responsible for their own success. The program is committed to supporting students, including monitoring for early warning signs of learning challenges. Students may be deemed at-risk using one or more of the following criteria:
- Students experiencing a failing grade on:
- a course (eg Clinical Medicine I, CME II)
- two or more course module summative assessments
- a clinical year preceptor evaluation
- a clinical year site visit by clinical faculty
- Students failing to meet program grading standards on any required standardized test.
- Students failing to meet program defined professionalism expectations.
- Student who is dismissed from a clinical experience by a site or preceptor.
- Deficiencies in clinical experience course performance and/or fund of medical knowledge as identified during a clinical site visit by program faculty.
- Students not necessarily meeting any of the above criteria, but are of significant concern to program faculty and/or program partners.
At-Risk Student Intervention
Once a student has been identified as being at risk, per the above guidelines, the program chair (or their designee), the student’s primary advisor, and any appropriate course faculty or preceptors, will meet to formulate recommendations for the student’s progress. Recommendations, which may or may not include a Student Progress Board (SPB), will be relayed to the student in writing at a meeting with the advisor. Students who fail to respond to attempts by the program to arrange and conduct meetings with the student constitutes a Professionalism Violation.
Student Progress Board (SPB)
The SPB meets on a regular basis, and on-demand as needed, to review students’ academic and professional progress in the program. If the SPB identifies an at-risk student that would benefit from a collaborative discussion on said student progress, the student will be informed of the SPB in writing and may be called to appear in person (or by video-conference) or to submit a written statement (or both).
Each SPB will be convened by the program chair to consider at-risk PA students. This board will include the program chair (as appropriate), the preclinical and/or clinical coordinators (or designee, as appropriate), the student’s primary advisor, the instructor(s) of any of the courses with failed assessments, a Student Services/Affairs staff member acting as student advocate, and any other appropriate faculty and staff. When a specific member of the board is unavailable, a pro tem may be designated. A minimum of three program faculty members are required (in-person or online) to constitute a quorum.
The student is not allowed visitors or legal representation during the SPB meeting.
The SPB will consider each case individually, and will render a decision that may include (but is not limited to) any of the following:
- Mandatory advisor meetings
- Review of strengths & opportunities report (S&O) and/or faculty & standardized patient (SP) feedback
- Mandatory tutoring
- Counseling referral
- Re-submit missed/failed assignments
- Extended plan of study (e.g. special topics course, repeat of clinical experience course)
- Dismissal from the program
A student identified by program faculty as having a significant deficit in knowledge, skills, or professional behaviors at any point in the program may be subject, upon SPB review, to sanctions which include remediation, deceleration, or dismissal from the program.
Whenever the program intervenes to support an at-risk student, the program chair (or their designee) will send a formal letter to the student detailing the reason for the intervention, the specific steps ordered, and, in the case of probation, what will qualify the student to be released from probation. A copy of this notice may be added to the student’s file. After the decision, the student has the option to file an appeal as outlined in the ATSU Policies of this catalog.
Remediation is defined by the ARC-PA as “The program defined and applied process for addressing deficiencies in a student’s knowledge and skills, such that the correction of these deficiencies is measurable and can be documented.”
All students earning a failing grade in a course (unless receiving a grade of incomplete) will be officially notified by their course coordinator via email. The course coordinator will work in conjunction with the course instructor(s) and the student’s primary advisor to create a Remediation Plan unique to that student’s individual needs. Remediation Plan assessments should provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate comprehension of the course content and be directed toward the content areas within the course in which the student was deficient.
Remediation plans may include additional assignments, examinations, quizzes, case studies, projects, oral or slide presentations and/or typed papers. To successfully complete and pass the remediation process, students must receive a passing grade on their Remediation Plan. Students who successfully complete the remediation process with a passing grade will receive a final grade of “RPass” for the course. Remediation plan assessments should provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate comprehension of the course content and be directed toward the content areas within the course in which the student was deficient.
Students will always be notified in advance of their remediation schedule. The student must fulfill all the requirements outlined in the remediation plan within 60 days of not passing the course. The course coordinator has the discretion to extend the remediation period if needed. At the discretion of the course coordinator, students may be scheduled to complete the remediation process outside of scheduled educational activities. This may include administering assessments during Fall Break, Winter Break, Spring Break, and/or Summer Break.
If all course remediation requirements are not successfully completed in accordance with ATSU-CCPA program policies, the final individual course grade will remain an “F” and a final course grade of “F” will be recorded on the student’s transcript. Refer to the At-Risk Student Identification and Intervention section for consequences of a failed remediation course. Students may be allowed to repeat up to two courses while in PA school. Students required to retake a third course may be recommended for dismissal.
Deceleration is defined by the ARC-PA as “the loss of a student from the cohort, who remains matriculated in the physician assistant program.”
Deceleration may occur as a result of academic failure or following a voluntary Leave of Absence. Deceleration is a mechanism for allowing students in the PA program an opportunity to complete the 24-month curriculum through required repetition of a portion of the curriculum as a result of failure to meet the program’s standards for progression. A student who is decelerated will be required to repeat all or part of the preclinical and/or clinical portion of the curriculum after a period of suspension (see Definition of suspension in the University Student Handbook).
Deceleration may occur following failure of a course or following a requested Leave of Absence. Deceleration occurring in either the preclinical or clinical phase of the program will result in a delay in graduation.
Plan for Deceleration and Follow-up of Decelerated Students
In the event that a student is decelerated, the SPB will provide a detailed Plan for Deceleration which will include all courses to be completed and the timeframe for completion of all components of the program. The Plan for Deceleration will be signed by the student and the program chair, and will be maintained in the student’s permanent program record.
Students repeating any portion of the curriculum will be closely monitored by program faculty upon resuming their coursework. The SPB will evaluate all decelerated students upon completion of the course (or courses) within the Deceleration Plan. If a student fails to meet academic or professional standards while decelerated, the SPB will review the student’s entire record in the program and make a recommendation to the program director regarding disposition. Failure to meet academic and/or professional standards while decelerated may result in dismissal from the program.
- Students are expected to monitor their own academic and professional performance and proactively seek guidance from their advisor.
- Students are expected to reply promptly to email communication regarding at-risk status, written recommendations, and/or SPB proceedings.
- Students are expected to actively participate in formulating, instituting, and completing a remediation plan for addressing indicators of at-risk status.
- Students are expected to ensure they have met and passed all requirements outlined in their Remediation Plan or Deceleration Plan by the determined deadlines.
The Program works hard to ensure all scheduled educational activities are necessary and valuable to promoting and supporting student learning. As a result, attendance is mandatory for scheduled educational activities and will be monitored by the Program. Scheduled learning activities will be identified in course syllabi, eValue, and in Canvas. CME clinic shifts will be site specific and set by each site’s RDPAE.
Tardiness & Absences
Promptness is an important trait which students are expected to display during all parts of the program. Tardiness can adversely impact learning, work, and patient care for you, your fellow students, co-workers and preceptors in clinic, and patients.
Responsible students will proactively arrange for child and pet care, schedule routine appointments well ahead of time, and discuss time management and planning with their advisor and with student services regularly. The University calendar allows for approximately one week of time away from scheduled educational activities between terms during the preclinical phase, with additional time off between semesters. Students are encouraged to use these scheduled days off for routine working-day events (e.g. medical appointments, preventative vehicle maintenance).
Acute illness and personal emergencies, while uncommon, do occur. Students are expected to notify the Program of their absence as soon as possible using the PAAR. Students who have an unplanned absence from the program accept the risk of missing scheduled educational activities.
Repeated tardiness and/or absence from scheduled educational activities, any unapproved absence, and failure to submit a PAAR for each day of absence, are all considered unprofessional behavior. Any or all of the following may result from tardiness or repeated or unapproved absences:
- A professionalism feedback report may be submitted
- The student may be delayed in completing the preclinical or clinical component of the program or the program as a whole
- The student may be referred to the Student Progress Board (SPB)
The program recognizes that there will be times where students will be unable to be present for scheduled educational activities, but may be able to participate in those activities live while remote via web conference (e.g. Zoom). When presence is not possible but remote live participation is possible, students may request to attend preclinical scheduled educational activities remotely. Students seeking approval to attend remotely should use the PAAR form, which is accessible through the Program Pages course in Canvas. Approved remote attendance will count as equivalent to in person attendance for the purposes of attendance requirements. Unapproved remote attendance will count as an unapproved absence. The program does not provide for remote attendance during the clinical component. Remote attendance will not, in most cases, be granted retroactively.
Remote Attendance Allowance
Students are allowed two instances of remote attendance for scheduled educational activities per term. An instance is from one minute up to 8 hours during a single calendar day. Remote attendance will not be permitted during blackout dates and/or time frames. Requests for a third (or successive) remote attendance during a term will be sent to the program for review. The program may request additional information prior to deeming that request for remote attendance approved or not approved.
Students are provided absence time during the preclinical and clinical components of the program, which can be used for time away from scheduled educational activities, (except during blackout dates and/or time frames).
- Preclinical Component: 8 hours of absence time available per term
- Clinical Component: 2 days of absence time available per term
Students can spend absence time to secure an approved absence by following the Absence Request Process below. Planned absences (e.g. weddings, conferences) using absence time require a request submitted 2 weeks in advance.
Blackout Days and Time Frames
The Program will establish and publish blackout days and/or time frames where no absences will be approved. Blackout days and/or time frames will commonly cover summative assessments, but may include other scheduled educational activities. Students are expected to be present during blackouts.
Religious Observance and Practice
ATSU policy does not discrimination because of religious beliefs or practices. ATSU-College for Healthy Communities recognizes the important place of religious observances in the lives of some students, and will make reasonable accommodations for students whose religious observances conflict with program scheduling. Students should, when possible, contact the Program prior to any conflict.
Absence Request Process
When a student will be absent from a scheduled educational activity (including assessment), the student must submit a PA Absence Request (PAAR) using the appropriate form. The system determines whether there is sufficient absence time available for the request and whether the request conflicts with a blackout, then notifies the student and appropriate Program faculty/staff by email that the absence requested is approved or unapproved. When a requested absence exceeds the student’s available absence time, the system will send the student and appropriate faculty an email triggering faculty review of the request. Prior to approval of an absence request where there is insufficient absence time, additional documentation and discussion may be required. The approval decision resulting from this faculty review will be communicated via email.
An absence request is only in effect for the hours submitted. Each calendar day requires a new PAAR for additional hours; one PAAR cannot cover more than one calendar day. Approved absence requests cannot be transferred to different dates or times. Students may cancel an absence request using the PAAR form.
Make-Up Assignments and Assessments
Students may be allowed to make-up certain missed scheduled learning activities (including assessments) through an alternative method of delivery (for approved absences only). Make-up for unapproved absences may or may not be approved on a case-by-case basis. The opportunity to make-up something missed will be at the discretion of the faculty responsible for the missed activity(s). The student will be responsible for contacting faculty responsible for missed educational activities to explore make-up opportunities.
- Students are expected to attend all scheduled educational activities.
- Students are expected to arrive with sufficient time prior to activity start time to be prepared to participate immediately when the activity begins.
- Students are expected to arrange for appropriate care for home, family, and/or pet obligations prior to and during the program to avoid foreseeable barriers to attendance.
- Students are expected to submit requests for absence time as soon as the absence is anticipated.
- Requests for unanticipated absences (eg. illness, emergencies) should be made as soon as possible.
- Students are responsible for all materials (instructions, curricular content, assessments, etc.) presented in or discussed during scheduled educational activities, whether or not they are in attendance.
- Students may inquire by email about make-ups for missed educational activities.
- Students must discuss clinical make-up days with their RDPAE for any clinical year absences, which may include shifts outside normal business hours/days.
- Students are subject to additional ATSU mandated policies on absences, which are located in the ATSU Policies , and include policies regarding short-term absence and a leave of absence.
- Students must submit a medical clearance form before returning to a CME after three consecutive days of absence.
- Students are expected to contact Clinical Staff and RDPAE immediately by email if a clinical preceptor is absent for any reason or any reduction in clinical exposure arises.
- Students are expected to contact the program person responsible for attendance proactively if an unapproved absence presents a concern for the student.
Background Checks & Substance Use Testing
Students were required to undergo a background check prior to matriculation into the PA program. These background checks are available to clinical sites upon request to the PA department. Some clinical sites may require a more recent background check and/or urine drug screen and possibly fingerprinting. In these cases, students shall be responsible for paying any and all associated costs.
Final approval for clinical experience placement is contingent upon satisfactory review (by the program and clinical site) of information contained in the criminal background check report and/or drug screen, as required by individual clinical sites. If a student is using prescribed medication(s) that would result in a positive result in a drug screen, the program will require an official statement (on letterhead) from the prescribing provider verifying that they prescribe said medication(s) for the student. This must be furnished prior to the sample collection in a sealed envelope, and will only be opened by the program if the drug screen result is positive.
Please note that some clinical experience sites may have requirements beyond those stated in this document (e.g.. tobacco screening). Students who do not meet these additional requirements may not be able to be placed on those clinical experiences. This may affect the ability of the program to assign the student to required clinical experiences.
The CCPA Program reserves the right to prohibit matriculation based upon the results of such testing, or the refusal to submit to such testing.
ATSU-College for Healthy Communities program adheres to the University grading scale. See ‘Grading’ under the ATSU Policies section for more information.
Grades for each PA student will reflect the evaluation criteria as stated in the course syllabi. Course grades are reported as Pass (PASS >=70%), or Fail (FAIL <70%). In addition to earning a cumulative grade above 70%, individual courses may also specify further requirements in order to successfully pass.
A failed class that is remediated is reported as a Remediated Pass (RPASS). GPA is calculated using the final actual percentage score a student achieved in a course or system, weighted in proportion to the units of the course or system. Enrollment Services is responsible for calculating and reporting each student’s official GPA.
During the preclinical component of the program, each student receives training in accordance with the requirements of the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) on Universal Precautions and learns about the appropriate methods of handling blood, tissues, and bodily fluids as well as dealing with the management of communicable diseases. As part of professional development, each student is responsible for incorporating these precautionary measures into the daily routine while taking care of patients. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with the policies and procedures for applying these precautions during all ATSU-College for Healthy Communities program-sanctioned volunteer activities, and at each of the clinical sites to which the student is assigned.
Professional Appearance Code
The CCPA Professional Appearance Code has been designed to guide students in learning to present a professional appearance in order to inspire confidence in both colleagues and patients, as well as to comply with health and safety standards that promote effective patient care and minimize the possibilities for body fluid exposure or the spread of infectious disease, (ARC-PA Standards B3.03). Students should maintain a professional appearance whenever they are representing the ATSU-College for Healthy Communities and the PA profession in any setting. This includes the campus, all clinical sites, meetings, and special events. Being neatly dressed and well-groomed exemplifies professionalism and courtesy toward your colleagues and patients. Appearance should not distract from the educational effort.
Students will successfully implement the appearance code by:
- Demonstrating elements of dress and grooming appropriate (as defined below) to each setting (e.g. educational, clinical, community) they are in.
- Discussing with peers and program faculty the rationale and evidence supporting elements in the appearance code.
- Seeking guidance from program faculty or clinical site officials before making changes in appearance.
Assessment of Immunity, Screening & Certification Information
The CCPA Program requires all residential students to provide documented proof of completion of all required immunizations, immunity, screenings and certifications, and maintain compliance with the requirements in this section for the duration of enrollment in the program. The CCPA program will utilize the eValue portal to review and approve documentation. Students will receive an account prior to matriculation to the program.
Students are responsible for all costs associated with being in compliance with these requirements.
Failure to comply with the health requirements defined below is considered unprofessional conduct and may impact course standing, and clinical experience attendance.
Assessment for immunity to disease will require documentation of the following:
COVID-19 / Sars-CoV-2
Documentation of a completed vaccine series approved by the CDC (via EUA or full approval), with the last dose administered more than 14 days prior to the start of program orientation.
Number of doses required to complete a vaccine series varies by vaccine.
No lab test results may be substituted for documentation of a completed vaccine series
For more information, please reference The COVID-19 Vaccine Policy for Students found within ATSU Policies section of this catalog.
Documentation of two (2) dose series of Heplisav-B or three (3) dose series of Engerix-B, Recombivax or Twinrix Hepatitis B vaccine. Series must be started prior to matriculation and completed per prescribed timeline.
OR documentation of POSITIVE immunity to Hepatitis B (Hep B Surface Antibody titer). If you receive a negative result after the primary series, you must complete a secondary Hepatitis B series followed by a repeat titer 1-2 months after the completed secondary series. If you have a negative result after the secondary series, additional testing including Hep B Surface Antigen must be performed. Please refer back to your Healthcare Provider and contact the Program Chair.
Influenza – Due annually based on seasonal vaccine availability and due date will be set
by CCPA program.
Measles Mumps and Rubella – MMR
Documentation of two (2) doses of MMR vaccine. The doses must be started prior to matriculation and completed per prescribed timeline.
OR documentation of POSITIVE immunity to each of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (IgG antibodies). If you receive a negative result, please refer back to your healthcare provider and contact the Program Chair.
Tetanus Diphtheria and Pertussis- Tdap
Varicella – Chicken Pox
Documentation of two (2) doses of varicella vaccine.
OR documentation of POSITIVE immunity to Varicella (IgG antibodies).
History of this disease does NOT fulfill this requirement.
Tuberculosis – annual screening must have documentation for ONE of the following:
a negative 2-step PPD skin test
a negative 1-step PPD skin test if annual TB screening has been maintained within the past 12 months (provide two years of consecutive screening)
a negative 1-step PPD with a completed TB assessment form if annual screening has NOT been maintained within the last 12-months
a NEGATIVE QuantiFERON TB Gold or T- Spot blood test within twelve months of matriculation.
a negative chest radiograph AND medical clearance from your personal healthcare provider if student has/had:
a history of positive PPD skin test
a positive QuantiFeron TB G blood test
OR documentation of treatment for LTBI treatment or TB disease
For medical conditions or religious beliefs, a request for exemption from Risk Management requirements will be considered. However, ATSU cannot guarantee the ability to participate in patient encounters and placement in clinical rotations if this exemption is granted. Consequently, students receiving an exemption from vaccine requirements may take longer to complete the curriculum and graduate, or the student may not be able to complete the curriculum and graduate. Students seeking exemptions should submit the Request for Exemption from ATSU Vaccination Requirement form. If students are granted immunization exemptions, they must acknowledge the above risks by signing and submitting to the CCPA Program Director an Immunization Exemption Risk Acknowledgment and Additional Disclosures and Requirements form.
Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification
Knowledge and ability to perform CPR will require documentation of the following:
- Documentation of unexpired Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers Adult & Child AED certification issued by American Heart Association (AHA), American Red Cross, or the Health & Safety Institute
- No other credential issuers will be accepted
- Valid certification must include in-person skills testing; online-only certifications will not be accepted
Student Risk Management Form
The Student Risk Management Record supplied electronically MUST be filled in and signed by your personal healthcare provider (MD, DO, PA or NP). ALL verifying documentation must be included. Students should mail, fax or email the Student Risk Management Record and documentation to:
PA Program Administrative Assistant
A.T. Still University of Health Sciences
Central Coast Physician Assistant Program
1075 E. Betteravia Road, Suite 201
Santa Maria, California 93454
Compliance with Health Requirements
- Students are required to maintain compliance with the ATSU-College for Healthy Communities Assessment for Immunity, Screening & Certification rules (as above).
- Students are required to submit the Student Risk Management Record prior to matriculation (provided to students electronically to complete).
- Students are required to maintain continued compliance with immunity and certification rules.
- Students are responsible for obtaining any clinical experience site-specific immunization or certification requirements. These documents shall be delivered to the clinical site in a timely manner. It is the student’s responsibility to maintain compliance throughout the duration of the clinical experience.
- Students are responsible for the costs for maintaining continued compliance with all immunization and CPR requirements.
Maintaining Continued Compliance with Health Requirements
- Students are required to maintain compliance with the CCPA program Assessment for Immunity, Screening & Certification rules (as above)
- Students are responsible for obtaining and maintaining any clinical experience site-specific immunization or certification requirements. These documents shall be delivered to the clinical site in a timely manner
- Students are responsible for the costs for maintaining continued compliance with all immunization and CPR requirements
- Students are required to submit proof of continued compliance with all immunization and CPR requirements to the CCPA program clinical support staff via the eValue portal prior to requirement expiration(s)
- CCPA program clinical support staff will attempt to notify each student a reminder for upcoming immunization and/or CPR compliance expiration(s). It is each student’s responsibility to review and ensure they maintain compliance with ongoing health requirements
- Students are not allowed to participate in required or elective educational learning activities, either on campus or off, while out of compliance.
- Student absences from required educational activities due to non-compliance are considered unexcused absences.
- Students absent from a required educational activity due to non-compliance may be required to, at the discretion of appropriate faculty, forfeit some or all of the professionalism points from missed activities.
- Students absent from a required educational activity due to non-compliance may, at the discretion of appropriate faculty, be granted the opportunity to make-up missed assignments/exams on a timeline established by the faculty person(s).
- Absences from required educational activities because of non-compliance may negatively impact the students’ academic standing in the program. Such neglect could result in course failure and or delay graduation. Students who remain out of compliance for more than 30 consecutive days will be placed on probation and called before an SPB for unprofessional conduct.
- Students out of compliance are required to submit appropriate documentation of compliance to CCPA program clinical support staff to return to compliance.
- Preclinical Component students are required to also notify their advisor of return to compliance.
- Clinical Component students are required to also notify the CCPA program clinical support staff of return to compliance.
- The preferred method of student notification of program faculty and staff is using the carbon copy (cc) field when emailing documentation of compliance to CCPA program clinical support staff.
Students who return to compliance (and meet the terms of their probation if applicable) will be permitted to return to campus and required and elective educational activities.
Students are expected to find housing independently in Santa Maria, CA and its neighboring communities for the first year. Students are also expected to secure housing independently for their clinical placement(s) during the second year. The average rent for Santa Maria, CA is $1,500 per month.
ATSU-College for Healthy Communities does not provide student housing/dormitories and has no responsibility to find or assist students in finding housing.
Grievance policies may be found in the ATSU Policies section of this catalog.
A student or any member of the public may file a complaint about this institution with the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education by calling 888.370.7589 or by completing a complaint form, which can be obtained on the bureau’s website www.bppe.ca.gov.
Any questions a student may have regarding this catalog that have not been satisfactorily answered by the institution may be directed to the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education at 1747 N. Market Blvd. Ste 225 Sacramento, CA 95834, www.bppe.ca.gov, 888.370.7589, 916.574.8900, or by fax 916.574.8900.