EDUCATION PLUS

BITS signs MoU with MMM

Much needed: BITS Pilani Vice-Chancellor L. K. Maheshwari and Madras Medical Mission honorary secretary Jacob George inked an MoU to renew the ongoing course for Physician Assistants in Chennai recently.

Much needed: BITS Pilani Vice-Chancellor L. K. Maheshwari and Madras Medical Mission honorary secretary Jacob George inked an MoU to renew the ongoing course for Physician Assistants in Chennai recently.   | Photo Credit: Photo K. Pichumani

M. DINESH VARMA

The physician assistant degree programme offered jointly by the Madras Medical Mission and BITS Pilani is an innovative programme that aims at solving the dearth of trained manpower in this segment.

Is there space for expertise wedged between the professions of physicians and nurses? What was once a blank arena in the clinical setting has been successfully turned into a critical speciality by BITS Pilani.

Into the 16 year since launching the B.S. (Physician Assistant) programme in collaboration with Academy of Medical Sciences under Madras Medical Mission, BITS Pilani has positioned the innovative course to generate a base of trained manpower which would take a share of workload off the backs of doctors and nurses.

Going by the estimation that one doctor requires at least eight support staff, the healthcare sector in the country would need human resource in the vicinity of 96 lakh personnel.

The importance of the course, which is approved by foreign Universities, lies in supplying assistants who would alleviate to an extent the skewed doctor support staff ratio in hospitals across the country.

The diverse course curriculum includes rudimentary microbiology, laboratory diagnosis and radiology.

Under the work integrated learning model adopted for the programme for Plus 2 pass-outs, candidates (usually about 30-40 per batch) have to undergo the entire duration at the hospital.

Last week, BITS and MMM signed a Memorandum of Understanding to renew the programme that has churned out hundreds of qualified personnel. “We are planning to launch short term certification courses for working professionals,” said BITS Vice Chancellor L. K. Maheshwari after signing the MoU with MMM honorary secretary Jacob George.

The two institutions conduct an eight semester BSc Physician Assistant Degree programme (4 years) for class 12 Science stream students, a four semester M. Phil (2 years) for PA graduates, a three semester degree in Cardiac Sciences and even a four semester PhD in Medical Sciences.

According to B. R. Natarajan, Dean, BITS, the short-term courses being proposed would formalise with a certificate acquired skills of workers, say in fields such as instrumentation or electronics.

BITS, with an academic vision that coalesces with industry requirements, is offering various programmes in collaboration with industries in areas such as software engineering, IT, industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering and pharmaceuticals.

At any given time of an academic year, an estimated 17,000 candidates are working for a BITS degree at various industrial sites, Mr. Maheshwari said.





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