June 24, 2024

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Introducing a New Era in PA Healthcare Education at Keck Graduate Institute

4 min read

Transforming healthcare education through partnership and community: KGI takes an innovative step by renaming its degree program to reflect the evolving nature of the Physician Assistant profession while honoring new Chan family benefactors.

The Chan Family-Keck Graduate School Master of Science in PA Studies Naming Ceremony

The Chan Family and leaders from KGI cut the ribbon to celebrate KGI's new Chan Family MSPA Studies program.The Chan Family and leaders from KGI cut the ribbon to celebrate KGI's new Chan Family MSPA Studies program.

The Chan Family and leaders from KGI cut the ribbon to celebrate KGI’s new Chan Family MSPA Studies program.

Claremont, CA, April 16, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — March 20, 2024 marked a new era for Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) as its Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) program has changed its name to the Chan Family Master of Science in Physician Associate Studies (MSPA), named for Dr. Tony Chan, Dr. Virginia Chan, and their family.

KGI held a special naming ceremony to commemorate the name change on March 20. In attendance were members of the KGI community, including students and faculty in the MSPA program, Claremont community members, and members of the Claremont City Council. The City presented the Chan family with a certificate of recognition from the City of Claremont. KGI presented them with a framed lab coat bearing the named program and a family portrait to recognize their support.

“The inspiration behind naming the program after my family stems from the values instilled in me by my late mother, who emphasized the importance of giving back to the community and supporting education,” said Dr. Tony Chan, owner and CEO of ABC Pharmacies and a long-time Claremont resident.

Chan said the program’s investment aims to “support the next generation of compassionate and skilled healthcare professionals who will go on to make meaningful contributions to patient care.”

“Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Chan family, KGI reaffirms its commitment to pioneering healthcare education that prioritizes both innovation and community service. This support for our PA Studies program not only enables a leap forward in how we prepare our students for the rapidly changing healthcare landscape but also embodies the spirit of giving back that the Chan family has so graciously demonstrated,” said Sheldon Schuster, president of Keck Graduate Institute. “We are deeply honored to partner with them in this endeavor, fostering a new generation of healthcare leaders poised to make meaningful impacts across the globe.”

Since the launch of the program, the results have vastly exceeded expectations.

“Our initial cohort of 40 students began their journey with us in Fall 2022 and have entered clinical rotations as of two months ago, said Christy Eskes, Program Director for KGI’s Master of Science in Physician Associate Studies. “The preliminary feedback we have been receiving from their preceptors has been nothing short of phenomenal. They have shared that our PA students are more advanced in some areas than their MD residents. Others are asking how they can get more KGI students. Students are even getting job offers during their first clinical rotation, which is quite uncommon.”

Chan remembers receiving scholarships and support from mentors and educators and the transformative power of educational assistance. These experiences drive him to help students reach their career and healthcare goals. “These individuals believed in my potential and provided me with the resources and guidance I needed to succeed,” he said. “Their unwavering support instilled in me a deep sense of gratitude and a strong desire to pay it forward by supporting future generations of students.”

“These funds will truly equip us to train the next generation of PA leaders, whose impact will extend to all with whom they come into contact, positively affecting the communities around them and advancing health equity for all,” said Eskes, who has been with the program since 2020 and was thrilled to be part of its launch alongside a team of Master of Science in Physician AssociateStudies faculty and staff.

A New Vision For PA

It isn’t just the Chan Family’s name that graces the program name but a shift from PA standing for physician assistant to physician associate. Recently, professional PA groups have voted to change the name to “Associate” to provide clarity to the role of the PA in an evolving healthcare system. Although this change is still being rolled out nationwide, the change reflects where the program is in spirit and philosophy.

The school’s third cohort of 40 students, chosen out of more than 1,300 applicants for the program, will begin in August. The MSPA students at KGI have a special family to thank for the additional advantages and opportunities this group will have due to their support.

“With the Chan family’s incredibly generous donation,” said Eskes, “this is the time for us to further align with our mission as a future-focused institution with innovation at our core.”


Founded in 1997, Keck Graduate Institute is a private, nonprofit graduate school focused on educating tomorrow’s biotech, life sciences, and healthcare leaders. As part of the seven Claremont Colleges consortium, KGI educates students through concentrated and hands-on approaches to learning that bring them together to work on real-world problems in real-world settings that allow students to gain the experience and knowledge to transform healthcare.



CONTACT: Nick Simonton Keck Graduate Institute (909) 607-2308 [email protected]


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