News & Notables

For Fourth Consecutive Year, DeSales PAs Win State Challenge Bowl

by Tom McNamara | Oct 23, 2013
PSPA Challenge Bowl Winners from DeSalesThe DeSales team and supporters in Erie: (from left) Brienne Marks, Bernie Childs, clinical assistant, Jane Arenas, clinical coordinator, Brianna Reilly, John Zerfass, Chloe Palma, and Beverley Zuccarello, a DeSales PA major serving as student director at large for the PSPA Board of Directors.

On Friday, October 18, students from the DeSales University Physician Assistant (PA) program won the State Challenge Bowl, held by the Pennsylvania Society Physician Assistants (PSPA) in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

Teams from colleges and universities with PA programs compete against one another in a medical question and answer format.

This is the fourth consecutive year DeSales student won the state Challenge Bowl and previously DeSales won the title consecutively from 2000 to 2006. Members of this year’s team were graduate students Chloe Palma of Burlington, Conn., John Zerfass of Nazareth, Pa., Brianna Reilly of Centerreach, N.Y., and Brienne Marks of Breinigsville, Pa.

Kathleen L. Ehrhardt, MMS, PA-C, assistant director of the DeSales PA program, is the faculty advisor to DeSales Challenge Bowl team. Jane Arenas, clinical coordinator in the PA program, and Bernie Childs, clinical assistant, accompanied the team to Erie.

In May, the team will go to the National Medical Challenge Bowl in Boston. DeSales has previously won 5 national titles, three of which were consecutive. No other PA program has ever won more than two national titles.

Physician Assistants are licensed medical professionals who work under the supervision of licensed physicians. They practice in both general and specialty medicine and surgery, and perform routine duties normally reserved for physicians. According to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, there are 86,500 certified PAs as of 2012.

The highly regarded PA Program at DeSales first admitted students in 1997. Since its inception, a total of 15 classes have graduated from the program. Graduates of the program have consistently ranked first in the nation in the national standardized in-training examination known as the PACKRAT (Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating Assessment Test).

For the past 12 years, 100% of DeSales PA graduates have passed the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination, which must be passed to be eligible for licensure in all 50 states.

For more information regarding the Challenge Bowl, contact Kathleen Ehrhardt, assistant director of the physician assistant program, at 610.282.1100, ext. 1483.

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