Medical Insurance and Health Care
Sufficient health insurance coverage, which includes hospitalization and medication coverage, is required of all physician assistant students. All students are automatically enrolled in the BU Health Plan – PLUS Plan unless they are granted a waiver based on comparable insurance coverage with another carrier. Students also have the option to change to the BASIC Plan.
In the course of the clinical education, there are times when students may be exposed to infectious agents and environmental hazards. At the beginning of the Clinical Practicum, students will be trained to prevent exposure to health hazards as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Strategies for prevention and risk reduction will be reviewed again prior to beginning the program’s clinical phase.
In the event that a student is exposed to a health hazard, we encourage them to seek care at the BU Student Health Services. If they are on rotation away from the Charles River Campus, they should go to the nearest health care provider, which may be the emergency room. Treatment for these exposures will be covered by the student health insurance. With the exception of an emergency situation, the PA faculty are not permitted to provide medical care to the PA students. More information is available in the Clinical Handbook, which will be distributed to all students about to begin the clinical portion of the program.
Boston University Student Health Services
Boston University Behavioral Medicine (Mental Health)
881 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA 02215
BUSM Behavioral Health Center (Medical Campus)
Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Building
85 E. Newton St., Suite 816, Boston, MA 02118
Aetna Student Health
Search “Boston University” on the homepage to view health plans available to Boston University students.
Student Health Compliance
Student Health Services offers medical and behavioral health care on the Charles River Campus and the Medical campus. They maintain your BU admission health record and review compliance with immunization policies which are reported to the University Registrar.
General university requirements include compliance with the immunization policies for health professionals. Students are not permitted to register for classes if they are not compliant with the policies. Please visit the BU Student Health Services website for more information: https://www.bu.edu/shs/getting-started/incoming-health-requirements/#gf_31 To check your compliance with the immunization policies and download a copy of your immunization record, please see the Personal tab>Compliance> on your Student Link page. Please note most clinical sites require up-to-date documentation of immunizations. If you fail to keep your immunizations current, you will be unable to continue in the clinical phase until the Student Health Services deems your record to be satisfactory.
Behavioral health services are available for student on the Charles River and Medical campuses. To contact behavioral health, please call 617-353-3569 to schedule an appointment. If you need assistance scheduling an appointment, please contact your academic advisor or any faculty member who can assist you in obtaining a same day appointment.
SHS also offers wellness and prevention programs for students.
Class schedules for Semesters 1-7 are maintained on a Google Calendar that is shared with your BU account. Please contact the PA Office if you have difficulty accessing the schedule.
The DRx class schedule for School of Medicine classes taken in Semesters 2 and 3 of the first year noted in the BUSM II Google Calendar. PA students do not take the other medical school courses listed on the block schedule. This schedule is added to the PA student Google Calendar, however, please use to the School of Medicine schedule, if there appear to be discrepancies.
Background Checks and Drug Screenings
Students who are admitted routinely participate in clinical education experiences as a part of the PA program. Most clinical sites require criminal background checks and drug testing to define the student’s eligibility for participation. History of a criminal background or a positive drug screen may disqualify students from participating in these experiences, which are required for successful completion of the PA program. Please review the Student Handbook for more information about how background checks and drug screens are performed.
Policies and Procedures
PA Program Student Handbook
The Student Handbook contains all policies and procedures for matriculated students at the Boston University PA Program. The Handbook is reviewed each year and distributed to students for review. The current 2021-2022 Boston University PA Program Handbook can be found here.
Student Work Policy
While students may volunteer to serve on the curriculum committee or the Admissions committee, PA students are not permitted to be employed by or perform clerical or administrative tasks for the Program. Students are not permitted to substitute for the instructional faculty, which would result in formal instruction of fellow students.
Furthermore, students are strongly discouraged from working while in PA school due to the rigorous nature of the educational program. In the event a student chooses to work, they are not permitted to miss nor reschedule lecture, lab sessions, journal clubs, seminar sessions, and clinical training. Students are expected to disclose their employment if asked. The Student Progress and Promotion Committee will routinely review students’ progress to determine whether or not their employment interferes with education. The Committee has the right and responsibility to require the student to quit their job if it is found to interfere with their education.
Clinical students are encouraged to actively participate in the care of patients as it relates to their education and development of PA competencies, however they must not substitute for the clerical or clinical staff at the clinical sites. This policy, consistent with the ARC-PA Standards, is discussed in detail before the clinical phase begins.
Grievances, Discrimination, Title IX
When possible, students should attempt to resolve academic-related conflicts with the PA faculty members and the program director. If the conflict is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student may wish to contact the Office of the Ombuds which is an independent, impartial and confidential place where persons can bring issues related to life and study at BU. Talking to the Ombuds can be a good first step if you have a concern and you don’t know where to turn for help. If informal conflict resolution does not occur, PA students are encouraged to utilize the processes and resources of the Office of Student Affairs.
The BU PA program believes that the learning environment should be safe for all students and free from discrimination. Please use the links below to learn more about reporting safety or discrimination concerns.
BU Equal Opportunity Office for general policies
Discrimination based on disability reporting
Sexual misconduct policies and resources
BUSM Title IX coordinators
Karen Symes, PhD
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
Gwynneth Offner, PhD
Assistant Dean of Admissions, BUSM