Ohio Dominican University’s (ODU’s) Master of Science in Anesthesiologist Assistant (AA) Studies program has received initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) as of Sept. 16, 2022.

The peer review conducted by the Accreditation Review Committee for the Anesthesiologist Assistant (ARC-AA) and CAAHEP’s Board of Directors recognizes the program's compliance with nationally established accreditation standards. The program, which ARC-AA will review for reaccreditation by CAAHEP no later than 2027, previously received accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission in July 2022 and approval by the Ohio Department of Higher Education in August 2022.

Following this most recent approval, Central Ohio’s first Anesthesiologist Assistant program remains on schedule to launch in January 2023, nine months after the university announced plans to develop the program in response to a mounting shortage of health care providers, an aging population, and greater demand for quality health care services. The program’s inaugural cohort will consist of 25 students, with additional cohorts of similar size beginning annually each spring.

“I am grateful to the ARC-AA and CAAHEP for the time they have taken over the past several months to carefully and thoroughly examine, assess and evaluate Ohio Dominican’s new Master of Science in Anesthesiologist Assistant Studies program,” said ODU’s AA Program Director Aaron Grabovich, MS, MHSc, CAA. “We are truly blessed to have an outstanding group of talented, experienced and passionate individuals who have worked tirelessly to develop this innovative program, and who are committed to training and preparing future generations of anesthesiologist assistants so they can provide their patients with the high quality of care they deserve.”

“Approval from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, the Higher Learning Commission, and the Ohio Department of Higher Education is a testament to the tremendous quality, commitment and caliber of the professionals we have here at Ohio Dominican and, specifically, within this program,” said ODU President Connie Gallaher. “This new Anesthesiologist Assistant Studies program has been meticulously designed and built to ensure it meets the highest quality standards in the industry, and we are confident that it will equip students with the knowledge, tools and experiences they need to pursue successful careers in health care and improve the lives of their patients.”

Anesthesiologist Assistants work within an anesthesiologist-led anesthesia care team to provide care to patients before, during, and following surgery or other procedures. During a procedure, an AA administers, monitors and adjusts anesthetic as necessary. Also, AAs may perform a multitude of procedures and assist in conducting laboratory work, such as drawing blood and conducting various tests. The average starting annual base salary of an AA is $170,000, excluding sign-on bonuses, overtime opportunities, retirement, insurance, paid time off and educational funds, amongst others, which are dependent on each anesthesia group’s benefits package.

During ODU’s 24-month program, students will complete a combination of didactic and clinical education in the first year, which consists of time spent in the classroom, simulation labs and clinical affiliates. During the second year, students will be immersed in full-time clinical experiences at various sites to accumulate required case volume and experience anesthesia specialties to further clinical hours. The program will prepare students to take the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) exam, which is required prior to beginning clinical practice and state licensure (state dependent). The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center serve as ODU’s Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredited school of medicine and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) sponsor institution.

The AA program will occupy approximately 7,000 square feet of newly renovated space inside Peace Hall, which is located adjacent to ODU’s main campus at 2600 Airport Drive, Columbus, 43219. The modern student-centered facility will feature state-of-the-art equipment and include a high fidelity anesthesiology simulation lab, two lecture hall classrooms, a student lounge and a large lecture hall auditorium. The launch of the AA program will mark an expansion of ODU’s Health Sciences Division, which includes the university’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program. The PA program also was the first program of its kind in the region when launched in 2012, and has since graduated more than 400 students who are currently practicing around the country.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in healthcare professions is expected to grow by as much as 16% between 2020 and 2030, or by 2.6 million jobs, which is significantly faster than other occupational groups. Columbus’ status as one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States means there will be increased demand in the immediate area surrounding ODU’s campus. According to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2021, the population of the 10-county area centered around Franklin County increased by more than 230,000 last year to reach more than 2.13 million, which is an increase of 12.2% over 10 years, placing Columbus first in the Midwest and 17th in the nation in growth.

For more information about the program, visit ohiodominican.edu/AAStudies or contact ODU’s Office of Graduate Admission at 614-251-4615 or grad@ohiodominican.edu.

The Anesthesiologist Assistant Studies graduate program at Ohio Dominican University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Review Committee for the Anesthesiologist Assistant (ARC-AA). Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) 9355 - 113th St. N, # 7709, Seminole, FL 33775-7709, 727-210-2350, www.caahep.org.