A smiling group of students

PA Electives

The Physician Assistant (PA) program offers elective opportunities for students interested in public health and global health. More information about electives is available for students upon admission.

Paths of Distinction in Public Health

If you are interested in adding a focus on public health to your required professional coursework, you may wish to pursue the Path of Distinction in Public Health (PoD). PoDs are offered in population health, global health, rural health, tribal medicine and addiction medicine. To complete their selected PoD, students will take two 1-credit electives during the didactic phase, complete a focused clinical rotation in their clinical phase and choose a capstone topic related to the PoD they have selected.

International Health Opportunities

Students enrolled in the PA program may participate in an expanding variety of opportunities in international health. The university’s health professions’ programs have an Office of Global Health for coordination of health experiences available at UW–Madison. In order to participate in a PA program-sponsored international activity at UW–Madison, the student will need to complete an additional one-credit course on various international health care topics prior to travel.

The UW–Madison PA program currently has two international opportunities available to our PA students. Both are in the Central American country of Belize and allow students to experience community health in culturally diverse environments.

The first international opportunity is a one-week interdisciplinary service-learning trip with fellow classmates, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Pharmacy students, to the rural and underserved areas around Independence, Belize, located in the Stann Creek District of southern Belize. We partner with Peacework International and Belize Family Life Association for this international experience, which occurs each year at the end of didactic training, in May. During this one-week, faculty-led experience, students visit small rural villages to provide medical care and well-woman and well-man examinations. The student cost for this experience is approximately $1,700, plus airfare. This cost includes all in-country meals, transportation and lodging and students will have opportunities to fundraise throughout the didactic year.

The second international opportunity occurs as a four-week elective rotation in March of the clinical year of training through Hillside Health Care International in Belize. This preceptorship opportunity includes staffing a clinic in an East Indian township near the Garifuna city of Punta Gorda and providing mobile medical care to surrounding Mayan villages. Only a handful of students are selected for this annual international experience, which requires a letter of intent. Students completing the Global Health PoD will be given preference for this elective rotation. The cost for this four-week experience is approximately $2,000, plus airfare, which includes in-country meals and lodging.