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Franklin Pierce University Invests in Allied Health Programs and Expands its National Reach

Published Thursday Dec 21, 2023

Author Scott Merrill

New Hampshire Master of Physician Assistant Studies students Amanda Seale, Sydney Hanford, Morgen Smith, Bianca Dorsey and Michelle Blouin during scrub training at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. (Courtesy of Franklin Pierce University)

Since its founding in 1962 in the bucolic setting of Rindge, Franklin Pierce University has expanded not only within NH, including sites in Manchester and the Upper Valley, but also well outside the state to the West Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. And soon it will expand to the prairie and hill country north of Austin, Texas. It is part of its strategy to grow with a strong focus on its allied health programs.

When Franklin Pierce University began its long-range planning in March 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit stateside, a specific goal was to expand the university’s allied health programs, says President Kim Mooney. The university’s programs include graduate education in physician assistant studies, a master’s entry program in nursing and a doctorate in physical therapy.

As part of the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act, a $1.7 trillion federal omnibus spending bill, Franklin Pierce University secured $825,000 for healthcare simulation training equipment. The funds will support specialized equipment for the university’s Master of Physician Assistant

Studies program in its Lebanon Academic Center, with a focus on rural and medically underserved communities. The college’s Texas-based program, which will be in Round Rock, Texas, is a two-year Master of Physician Assistant Studies. To make its programs accessible, the university offers a hybrid approach offering students virtual classes as well as in-person clinical training.

“We want to put Franklin Pierce University at the leading edge—and I mean leading edge—of innovation in teaching and learning, and we’ve created a hybrid medical education,” says Mooney, who announced Sept. 26 she will step down as president in June 2024. “If a student in our physical therapy program at our Goodyear, Arizona center wants to be in our program, they may not want to relocate from Nevada or Missouri. The hybrid approach allows students to take their course work virtually with their faculty and then they go to the Goodyear center for immersive clinical training.”

Mooney says the physician’s assistant program is especially important because physician’s assistants have become frontline care workers. “Seldom do people see a doctor today, and our PA program has been ranked as high as number two in the country for producing graduates serving rural communities and underserved populations.”

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