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Physician Assistant Science Alum Nationally Recognized

July 6, 2018 Tags: Alumni , Distinctions , Health Sciences and Education , University News

Kristin EckenrodeKristin (Farabaugh) Eckenrode, PA-C, a 2012 graduate from the Physician Assistant Science Program at Saint Francis University, has been nationally recognized for earning a specialty credential called a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). 

Ms. Eckenrode, who is employed by UPMC Altoona, was recognized for earning a CAQ in Hospital Medicine, a distinction earned by meeting licensure, education and experience requirements and then passing a national exam in the specialty. She is one of only 11 certified PAs in Pennsylvania to earn a CAQ in Hospital Medicine since the program’s inception in 2014.

“Certified PAs who earn the CAQ demonstrate a strong commitment to lifelong learning and attention to evolving medical advancements in their area of practice,” says Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C, president and CEO of NCCPA. “Not only have they maintained certification through continuing medical education programs and assessments throughout their careers, they have pursued and been awarded this additional credential that attests to their knowledge and skills in their specialty.”

CAQs are offered to certified PAs in seven specialties: cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, hospital medicine, orthopaedic surgery, nephrology, pediatrics and psychiatry.

Physician Assistant Science at Saint Francis

As demand for healthcare services grows, physician assistants will be needed to provide care to patients. The Physician Assistant Program has maintained accreditation since the start of the program in the early 1980’s. The Master of Physician Assistant Science Program has been granted Accreditation-Continued status from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)

Students interested in physician assistant educational options at Saint Francis University may visit

National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only certifying organization for physician assistants (PAs) in the United States. The PA-C credential is awarded by NCCPA to PAs who fulfill certification, certification maintenance and re-certification requirements. There are more than 123,000 certified PAs in the U.S. today. For more information, visit

Physician Assistant Science