Marquette unveils plans for new physician assistant building

University expanding PA program to address provider shortage

Marquette University is expanding its physician assistant program and plans to construct a new $18.5 million building on its Milwaukee campus in the hopes of addressing provider shortage.

Rendering of the planned Marquette physician assistant program building.

Marquette President Michael Lovell announced the project Wednesday.

The 44,000-square-foot facility, which will be located on land the university owns on the northwest corner of West Clybourn and North 17th streets, is expected to open in summer 2019.

Demand for enrollment in Marquette’s physician assistant program has grown, putting it in a unique position to address provider shortages. The program received nearly 1,400 applications for the available seats in the current cycle, and interest continues to grow by approximately 10 percent per year.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the state currently has several Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas, including one near Marquette’s campus. Data from the state shows that 10 counties need an additional three to 10 primary care providers to close existing shortages.

“We have a unique opportunity to make greater a world-class program that is addressing a real local, regional and national need for primary care providers,” said Marquette President Michael Lovell. “Through this expansion, we will graduate even more Jesuit-trained health care leaders each year, many of whom will go on to work in family and emergency medicine, or in underserved areas in Wisconsin and beyond.”

The facility will serve as an educational hub for the program’s existing and future clinical partners, said Dr. Paul Coogan, the program’s medical director and president of Aurora Health Care’s Emergency Medicine Division.

Currently, the PA program works with clinical partners at more than 400 sites. Partners include Aurora Health Care; Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin; Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin; ProHealth Care and Ascension.

“Our country has an aging population and a projected physician shortage of more than 100,000 primary care doctors by 2025,” Coogan said. “Those two factors alone are a clear call to top PA programs like ours at Marquette to be nimble and quickly address this important growing health care need.”

The PA program is currently located at the northwest corner of North 17th and West Wells streets in a former clinic that was constructed in 1954.

“The program has outgrown its space in an outdated building that does not allow for cost-effective expansion or modernization,” said Lora Strigens, vice president for planning and strategy. “It is no longer suited to appropriately train the next generation of health care providers.”

The new building’s location on the southwestern edge of campus puts the PA program closer to Schroeder Complex, which houses the College of Health Sciences’ other programs, as well as the university’s planned BioDiscovery District, Strigens said.

C.D. Smith Construction is the construction management firm for the project; HGA and Groth Design are the architects.

Marquette University is expanding its physician assistant program and plans to construct a new $18.5 million building on its Milwaukee campus in the hopes of addressing provider shortage.

Rendering of the planned Marquette physician assistant program building.

Marquette President Michael Lovell announced the project Wednesday.

The 44,000-square-foot facility, which will be located on land the university owns on the northwest corner of West Clybourn and North 17th streets, is expected to open in summer 2019.

Demand for enrollment in Marquette’s physician assistant program has grown, putting it in a unique position to address provider shortages. The program received nearly 1,400 applications for the available seats in the current cycle, and interest continues to grow by approximately 10 percent per year.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the state currently has several Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas, including one near Marquette’s campus. Data from the state shows that 10 counties need an additional three to 10 primary care providers to close existing shortages.

“We have a unique opportunity to make greater a world-class program that is addressing a real local, regional and national need for primary care providers,” said Marquette President Michael Lovell. “Through this expansion, we will graduate even more Jesuit-trained health care leaders each year, many of whom will go on to work in family and emergency medicine, or in underserved areas in Wisconsin and beyond.”

The facility will serve as an educational hub for the program’s existing and future clinical partners, said Dr. Paul Coogan, the program’s medical director and president of Aurora Health Care’s Emergency Medicine Division.

Currently, the PA program works with clinical partners at more than 400 sites. Partners include Aurora Health Care; Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin; Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin; ProHealth Care and Ascension.

“Our country has an aging population and a projected physician shortage of more than 100,000 primary care doctors by 2025,” Coogan said. “Those two factors alone are a clear call to top PA programs like ours at Marquette to be nimble and quickly address this important growing health care need.”

The PA program is currently located at the northwest corner of North 17th and West Wells streets in a former clinic that was constructed in 1954.

“The program has outgrown its space in an outdated building that does not allow for cost-effective expansion or modernization,” said Lora Strigens, vice president for planning and strategy. “It is no longer suited to appropriately train the next generation of health care providers.”

The new building’s location on the southwestern edge of campus puts the PA program closer to Schroeder Complex, which houses the College of Health Sciences’ other programs, as well as the university’s planned BioDiscovery District, Strigens said.

C.D. Smith Construction is the construction management firm for the project; HGA and Groth Design are the architects.

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