Students from the Physician Assistant Studies program outside of the mobile healthcare clinic.
Students from the Physician Assistant Studies program outside of the mobile healthcare clinic.

Touro PA Program Awarded $1 Million Federal Faculty Development Grant to Enhance Healthcare for Disadvantaged Populations

$1 million grant awarded to the Touro Nevada Physician Assistant Studies program for research initiatives.
Oct 9, 2017

The Physician Assistant Studies (PA) program at Touro University Nevada recently received a $1 million federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for faculty development research to improve healthcare for disadvantaged populations.

Touro contracted with the Washington D.C.-based consulting firm McAllister & Quinn, who helped identify the grant and led the Touro team in the writing and submission of the grant. Touro’s selection as a recipient of the $1 million federal grant is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in the process.

After identifying the grant and reviewing the criteria with McAllister & Quinn, PA Program Director Dr. Phil Tobin immediately had a vision as to how it would best be utilized.

“I quickly thought about Amie [Duford] because of her efforts with our mobile health clinic and our clinic at The Shade Tree,” he said. “Outreach is a huge focus of the PA program, and the clinics are a huge draw for students who are looking to come to Touro.”

The $1 million will be distributed over a five-year period as Duford, an Assistant Professor in the PA program, joins national organizations, attends conferences and develops research initiatives to improve access to healthcare for disadvantaged populations across the country. The funding also covers Duford’s salary and provides her with a research assistant.

“Community outreach is the basis of our PA program, and this will allow us to improve upon all of our existing partnerships,” Duford said.

HRSA had nothing but glowing reviews for Touro’s application and the comprehensive plan the university put forth.

“The application clearly demonstrates commitment to meeting the needs of the populations they serve, particularly those served through community-based settings and located in rural and underserved areas,” according to the feedback provided by HRSA. “The mentors are qualified through past education and experience to fully support the candidate’s career development plan and proposed training project.”

The Touro PA program has partnered with several non-profits across the Las Vegas Valley. The mobile health clinic provides basic healthcare needs to the underserved populations living at Catholic Charities, Veterans Village II, U.S. Vets, and Village of Hope. The Stallman Touro Clinic at The Shade Tree, which Touro’s PA program has been a partner in operating since 2009, provides adult health care, preventative health measures, sick call services, and pediatric services to residents at the shelter.

Tobin credited Touro’s existing community outreach initiatives as deciding factors in the university receiving the grant.

“The Touro mission is to serve, to lead, and to teach, and this grant will help us support our mission,” said Shelley Berkley, CEO and Senior Provost of Touro University Western Division. “With our PA mobile health clinic and The Touro Stallman Clinic at The Shade Tree, our PA program has impacted many lives throughout the Southern Nevada community.”

Duford, a 2007 graduate of Touro’s PA program, described the grant as a “community initiative.” The grant allows her to give research presentations and participate in national panel discussions regarding healthcare for displaced populations, something she’s incredibly passionate about.

“As we develop these community partnerships, I’m encouraging our students to work in the primary care setting,” she said. “I think primary care is where we can be most valuable as PA’s.”

Touro was one of only three national PA programs to win the faculty development grant, and Tobin is hopeful that Duford’s research will make an impact nationwide.

“Making Amie an ‘expert’ is going to help all PA programs because she’ll be presenting at national conferences where they can use her ideas and the initiatives that we have already started,” he said. “Every PA program could have a mobile clinic. If we could make that happen, we could change healthcare for disadvantaged people across the country.”

Learn More About Touro Nevada's PA Program