Story by Maria Christina Yager, U.S. Army Three Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Soldiers graduated from the Interservice Physician Assistant Program and were commissioned into the Army Medical Specialist Corps during a ceremony on Fort Campbell, Friday, June 5.
Three Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Soldiers graduated from the Interservice Physician Assistant Program and were commissioned into the Army Medical Specialist Corps during a ceremony on Fort Campbell, Friday, June 5.
Former Army medics, 1st Lt. Jonathan Chamberlain, 1st Lt. Matthew Dale and 1st Lt. Vanessa Profit earned their diplomas and joined the ranks of Army physician assistants after completing their clinical rotations at BACH. Physician assistants serve as the primary medical provider to Soldiers in battalion and division level units and are responsible for unit readiness and training medics. They can also provide garrison healthcare to Soldiers, family members, and other eligible beneficiaries.
The Army trains about 150 Soldiers annually through IPAP, providing Soldiers an all-expense-paid path to a commission and a career in the medical field as a physician assistant.
“It’s exhilarating and I’m moving forward, going to my first battalion at Fort Bliss, Texas,” said Profit, who served with an air defense artillery regiment before applying for IPAP. “I had a lot of good mentors and physician assistants I worked with who helped me to consider going through the IPAP program.”
The IPAP offers well qualified officers, warrant officers, and enlisted Soldiers the opportunity to become a physician assistant through its two-phase program. In Phase I, students learn the basic medical sciences and clinical medicine courses during the 16-month program at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Phase II training lasts approximately 13 months and consists of supervised clinical rotations where students rotate through about 22 primary care settings and specialty services, like dermatology, internal medicine, and behavioral health in order to gain knowledge and experience. Phase II training is offered at Blanchfield and other Army medical treatment facilities. Blanchfield has about 16 students at any given time going through the Phase II training pipeline.
Soldiers interested in applying for IPAP must have completed a minimum of 60 semester hours of college courses with an emphasis in science course work, SAT, Basic Life Support (with current card) and a service unique applicant package. Graduates will earn a master’s degree and receive a commission as a first lieutenant in the Army Medical Specialist Corps.