Several people gathered at 24 N. Walnut St. in Hagerstown, Maryland for the grand opening of a new medical center that will house Frostburg State University’s physician assistant program.
“It’s been completely renovated into a state-of-the-art facility to teach physician assistants students,” said Erin Harman, director of advancement and outreach at the University System of Maryland in Hagerstown.
The program itself will span over 24 months, including intersessions and summers, totaling at 117 credits.
“So it’s a master’s of medical science. And it will teach physician assistants to serve, hopefully, in this area,” said Dr. Beth Smolko, founding director of the new program. “We’ve done a holistic admissions process to get students from this area into the program to live and work here.”
And the process of bringing this program to light took about six years, including completing feasibility studies.
“And to determine that there was a tremendous need actually for health care providers in this area,” said Dr. Smolko. “And so Frostburg State University undertook the overwhelming task of accreditation.”
And after receiving accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, inc., Dr. Smolko knows these students will be able to attend thousands of patients after graduating.
“Imagine a 30-year career. And we have 3 million patients for just one class,” said Dr. Smolko. “And multiply that by year after year after year.”