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  • Office Location:
    315 Science Center
  • Mailing Address:
    Clarkson University
    Box 5535
  • Phone: 315/268-4483

Clarkson University Supports Physician Assistant Hiring and Retention at Canton-Potsdam Hospital

[A photograph for media use is available at .]

Clarkson University is helping Canton-Potsdam Hospital (CPH) attract and retain physician assistants with a contribution of $100,000 to the Hospital Foundation’s “Constructing Healthier Communities” Campaign. The contribution is payable over five years.

CPH Physician Assistant Terri Joyce (left) examines Grace Merchant, while her mother, Keri Merchant, looks on.CPH was the first healthcare system to affiliate with Clarkson’s Physician Assistant (PA) program that will launch in January 2012 with its first cohort of 17 students. Several of the PA faculty in the new program have a clinical practice at CPH as well.

“A strong physician assistant network is vital to rural regions like ours and directly impacts the quality of healthcare in our community in so many areas,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins. “We know that CPH spent three years undertaking an exhaustive physician needs assessment, strategic plan, and comprehensive facilities plan that has led to unprecedented hiring of new physicians and physician assistants. We value this expanded presence of CPH for our students, faculty and staff with emergency and chronic health conditions. The staff at CPH takes great care of our students and our employee families in times of great need.”

“To meet community need, our medical staff is growing,” said CPH President and CEO David Acker. “Our ability to recruit and retain top-notch medical staff depends in large part on the availability of modern and accessible office space. Providers want to be close to the Hospital or Hospital services like Lab and Imaging, and they want to be close to each other. Virtually every available physician office space owned or leased by the Hospital is full. In fact, the newly renovated 49 Lawrence Avenue campus in Potsdam is already fully-occupied, as are three of the four physician suites in the new E.J. Noble Annex in Canton.”

Canton-Potsdam Hospital is completing the largest construction/renovation project in its history, including $.4.4 million to acquire and renovate the former St. Mary’s School in Potsdam, $2.5 million to construct an addition to the E.J. Noble Building in Canton, and $8 million to construct a new Center for Cancer Care on the Hospital’s main campus.

“The CPH team has been tremendously supportive of the Physician Assistant (PA) program from its genesis,” said Michael Whitehead, department chair of the Physician Assistant Program at Clarkson. “Our PA partnership follows the same collaborative model of support from the hospital that Clarkson has enjoyed with its other health sciences programs. Through the PA program, we believe we will add to the pipeline of quality health providers for students and families in the region.”

Clinicians from CPH collaborate with the education of Clarkson Physical Therapy students through tutoring, assisting with clinical labs and coordinating community wellness events that support CPH and clinical education opportunities. Physical therapy faculty also see CPH patients and consult with the PT staff at CPH. Biology and pre-med students also gain valuable health care experiences with CPH providers which gives them an advantage in gaining admission to highly-selective professional schools. 

As part of a full spectrum of partnership in the community, faculty and students at Clarkson are involved with CPH providers in the commercialization of mechanisms like patient preparation, business plan development and links to private, state and federal funding sources that occur in their fields through the Shipley Center for Innovation.

Clarkson athletic teams and their visiting teams get tremendous support from the CPH medical staff during competitions, and the University promotes CPH services to the community in Cheel Arena. CPH also staffs Clarkson’s on-campus health services office and engages with the University community in health fairs, flu shot clinics and wellness activities. 

For more than 85 years, Canton-Potsdam Hospital has focused on providing “Caring Beyond Medicine.” With a medical staff of more than 60, and more than 900 employees on staff, the Hospital offers a full range of primary care, specialty care, and acute care services, The Hospital Foundation was chartered 25 years ago to raise and manage funds for the sole benefit of the patients served by Canton-Potsdam Hospital. To date more than $1.9million has been pledged for the Foundation’s “Constructing Healthier Communities” campaign. 

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University is helping Canton-Potsdam Hospital (CPH) attract and retain physician assistants with a contribution of $100,000 to the Hospital Foundation’s “Constructing Healthier Communities” Campaign. Above, CPH Physician Assistant Terri Joyce (left) examines Grace Merchant, while her mother, Keri Merchant, looks on.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or]

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