The Keck School of Medicine of USC Primary Care Physician Assistant Program has risen 50 spots since 2011 and is now ranked 20th in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 “Best Graduate Schools” rankings.

“This honor demonstrates the commitment that our program has received from USC, the Keck School of Medicine and the Department of Family Medicine, as well as the commitment our faculty, staff and students have to the profession and the communities we serve through our mission,” said Program Director Kevin Lohenry, PhD, PA-C.

U.S. News surveyed 192 accredited PA programs for the 2015-16 ranking. PA programs are ranked based on a survey of academics at peer institutions. Also ranked at 20th are Yale, Northeastern, Rosalind Franklin and Midwestern universities.

The Primary Care Physician Assistant Program at USC focuses on recruiting, educating and graduating a diverse group of students in primary care medicine. A national leader in interprofessional education, the Keck School program has trained future interprofessional leaders in practicing team-based medicine in underserved communities.

The 33-month master’s program is one of few in the United States that places an emphasis on medical Spanish, with most students reporting a doubling of their confidence in communicating with patients in Spanish by the time they graduate.

Keck’s program also encourages leadership development — having students attend annual advocacy training in Washington, D.C. — and is among the first in the nation to invest in technology in the classroom with the funding of a director of innovative education. This focus on technology has increased the classroom engagement from students in all aspects of the curriculum.