Director Named for Physician Assistant Program


ATLANTA H.W. “Ted” Matthews, dean of Mercer University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, announced today the appointment of Bradford W. Schwarz, MS, PA-C, as the director for the College’s new Physician Assistant Program. Schwarz previously served as associate director and assistant professor for the Physician Assistant Program at Emory University.

“I am delighted that Mr. Schwarz has accepted the position of director of the Physician Assistant Program,” Matthews said. “We are quite fortunate to have someone with the experience and knowledge that Mr. Schwarz has about physician assistant education to serve as our inaugural director.”

At Emory University, Schwarz shared responsibilities with the program director, including strategic planning, implementation and evaluation, planning and monitoring budgets, and supervision and mentoring of faculty and staff. He also taught courses in the areas of cardiology, EKG interpretation and professional issues. Schwarz holds certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, and is a residency-trained aeromedical physician assistant for the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

Schwarz received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma and a master of medical science degree with an emphasis in rural primary care from Alderson Broaddus College in Philippi, W.Va. In 2002, Schwarz received the Air Force Achievement Medal for providing humanitarian medical care to Native Americans on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. Most recently, he received four Meritorious Service Medals for his exemplary duty at the Pentagon and while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 1997 and 2000, Schwarz was named to Who’s Who in Medicine in Healthcare.

“This is an exciting time to be involved in PA education with a variety of opportunities available for future graduates. I foresee continued demand for PAs in the areas of surgery, cardiology, dermatology, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and as hospitalists,” Schwarz said.

Last May, the Center for Health and Learning, a partnership of Mercer University and Piedmont Healthcare, announced the creation of a physician assistant program to begin in January 2008. The initial class of 25 graduate candidates will earn a master of medical science degree from the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences of Mercer University. The program will be based on Mercer’s Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta and will eventually enroll a total of 50 students annually. Coursework will include studies in clinical medicine, anatomy, pathophysiology, genetics, pharmocotherapeutics and human sexuality, among others.

In addition to the master’s degree-level program, Mercer will also introduce a bachelor’s degree pre-physician assistant program on its Macon campus. Undergraduate students successfully completing 90 hours of pre-requisite coursework in the program, including all College of Liberal Arts general education requirements and a designated number of hours of patient care, will be guaranteed admission into the highly-competitive master’s program in Atlanta.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the physician assistant is among the fastest growing occupations in America and is expected to grow faster than average than all other occupations through the year 2014. In May 2004, the median salary of physician assistants was nearly $70,000.

About Mercer University and the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences:

Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has a century-long tradition of excellence and a national reputation for producing outstanding leaders in the profession of pharmacy. In September 1981, the College became the first pharmacy school in the Southeast and fifth in the nation to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) as its sole professional degree. The College also offers the Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences. Pharmacists from Mercer are currently practicing in 43 states and in several foreign countries. Previously known as Southern School of Pharmacy, the College changed its name in July 2006 to better reflect additional health science offerings. Beginning in fall 2007, the College will begin offering a master of medical science degree as part of its new physician assistant program.

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; teaching hospitals in Macon and Savannah; an educational partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit