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Medical worker in an operating room

ODU to Launch Region's First Anesthesiologist Assistant Studies Master’s Program

Apr 6, 2022

In direct response to a mounting shortage of health care providers locally and nationwide, an aging population, and greater demand for quality healthcare services, Ohio Dominican University (ODU) will launch Central Ohio’s first Anesthesiologist Assistant (AA) Studies master’s-level program in January 2023. The inaugural cohort will consist of 25 students, with additional cohorts of similar size beginning annually each spring thereafter.

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 ODU AA Program is under review and will be offered pending final review and approval of the Higher Learning Commission.

The Anesthesiologist Assistant Studies Program at Ohio Dominican University has a site visit scheduled for pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org). This step in the process is neither a status of accreditation nor a guarantee that accreditation will be granted.

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, student lounge and a large lecture hall auditorium.

Aaron Grabovich, MS, MHSc, CAA, a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant with 12 years of clinical experience, has been appointed to serve as the program’s director.

“Throughout my professional journey, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a wide range of medical experiences and work within a dynamic anesthesiologist-led care team,” said Grabovich. “One aspect of my career that I most enjoy is the opportunity to give back. I am excited to share my experiences, insight and passion with students as we train and prepare future generations of anesthesiologist assistants who are committed to providing patients with the outstanding care they deserve. As the need for anesthesiologist assistants grows, ODU’s program will be vitally important in helping to ensure patients and providers, especially those in Central Ohio, continue to have access to anesthesiologist-led care in the years to come.”

“As a registered nurse for nearly 45 years and having served in a wide range of patient settings, I’ve seen firsthand the impact that qualified, compassionate healthcare professionals can have on a patient’s experience, recovery and quality of life following a procedure. This is the caliber of anesthesiologist assistant that Ohio Dominican will produce and share with the world,” said ODU President Connie Gallaher. “Similar to our Physician Assistant Studies master’s program, which has helped to prepare nearly 400 physician assistants since its launch in 2012, ODU’s new Anesthesiologist Assistant Studies program, led by its outstanding and experienced faculty, will help to address a significant need in Central Ohio and across the nation that is growing by the day. While innovative, this program also aligns with ODU’s ever-so-important mission to serve others.”

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.