N.C. A&T Appoints Burwell Founding Director of Physician Assistant Program

03/10/2023 College of Health and Human Sciences

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (March 10, 2023) – Following a national search, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has appointed Nicole B. Burwell, Ph.D., PA-C, to serve as founding director of its new physician assistant (PA) program. The UNC System Board of Governors approved the program Oct. 19, 2022.

Nicole BurwellBurwell also will serve as chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, housed in the John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences.

Her priorities include building the administrative structure of the department, acquiring provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) and subsequent recruitment of students.

“We are excited to have Dr. Burwell join the Hairston College leadership team. Her academic qualifications and professional experiences make her uniquely qualified to lead the implementation phase of the PA program,” said Hairston College Dean Elimelda Moige Ongeri, Ph.D.

Burwell brings decades of experience as a clinical PA educator to N.C. A&T. She recently was named president-elect of the PA Education Association (PAEA), the national organization representing PA educational programs. She will serve as chair of the PAEA Doctoral Summit where national stakeholders and key industry subject matter experts will convene March 13-15 in Charlotte, North Carolina, to explore the question of the entry-level PA doctorate and how PAs can help meet the future needs of the health-care workforce.

Previously, Burwell served as director of pre-clerkship for the Stanford University M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies program and director of clinical education for The George Washington University PA program. She has proven to be a staunch researcher, educator and advocate for increasing diversity and representation of marginalized populations in PA education. She has contributed to several publications and peer-reviewed journals with a unique focus on creating a workforce that reflects the population of people it serves and eliminating health disparities. 

“I am honored to serve as the founding department chair and program director for the developing PA program in the John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences,” said Burwell. “I look forward to building on the great work already being done at one of the top universities nationally in STEM education and upward social mobility.”

Burwell completed her PA training at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and earned her doctorate in nutritional sciences from Howard University. Her research interests include inclusion, diversity, equity and workforce issues.

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu

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