McHugo elected to national PA accreditation commission

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.— Assistant Professor Jeanie McHugo, Ph.D., PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, was elected to be a commissioner on the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).

The ARC-PA is the recognized accrediting agency that protects the interests of the public, including current and prospective PA students, and the PA profession by defining the standards for PA education and evaluating PA educational programs within the territorial United States to ensure their compliance with those standards. ARC-PA commissioners are elected by the ARC-PA from a slate of nominees submitted by the ARC-PA collaborating organizations. Commissioners initially serve a three-year term and are eligible for reappointment for a second three-year term. McHugo’s term runs until December 31, 2018.

Executive Director of the ARC-PA John E. McCarty said that with McHugo as a commissioner, “The commission would benefit from your expertise in PA education, leadership and thoughtful approach to issues when presented.”

McHugo has been a physician assistant for more than 15 years and involved in PA education for more than 12 years. Her educational focus began as a preceptor; she subsequently progressed from academic and clinical faculty to department chair. Her clinical experience includes urgent care and family medicine, general medicine with psychiatric emphasis, and clinical and surgical orthopedics.

A graduate of Mankato State University, the University of South Dakota, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha, McHugo completed her Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning–Higher Education emphasis at the University of North Dakota with her dissertation titled “An Evaluation of the Clinical Teaching Process: Perspectives from the University of North Dakota Physician Assistant Program.” Her academic interests include online anatomy and electrocardiograph instruction; patient history and physical assessment; diagnosis and treatment in rural primary care settings; specialty clerkships; and professional issues and role development toward PA practice. She has served on the former Conference Curriculum Committee and currently serves on the Recruitment and Admission Council for the Physician Assistant Education Association. She is also an accreditation site visitor for the ARC-PA. Her research interest areas include clinical teaching evaluation and improvement, student and program assessment, teaching and learning strategy, and andragogical (adult) learning theory.

The composition of the commission currently includes about half physicians and half PAs in various roles from dean to senior leadership positions in several organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Surgery, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, American Academy of Physician Assistants, Physician Assistant Education Association, Public Health, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“I am honored to represent the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences by serving the ARC-PA in the role of commissioner,” McHugo said. “In this exciting time of nationwide growth for the PA profession, it is essential to ensure educational compliance protecting the interest of our students and ultimately the patients we serve.”