Xavier University of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System teamed up to launch a new Physician Assistant (PA) Program for the inaugural class matriculating in January 2020. The 28-month, full-time graduate program, which leads to a master’s degree in health sciences, is comprised of three semesters of classroom instruction followed by 16 months of clinical training within the Ochsner Health System. 

Following three semesters of classroom instruction, the PA students will complete approximately 2,000 hours of hands-on clinical experience through 11 rotations at various Ochsner facilities. Students will work and study with healthcare professionals across a variety of specialties, including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine, behavioral health and women’s health.

Varsha Castro Gusman has been appointed as director of the program. She will serve also as Clinical Assistant Professor of professional programs in the Physician Assistant Department. As the founding director, she will oversee the degree approval process, plan and develop accredited curriculum and serve as a classroom instructor, mentor and advisor to students.