Last year, DeSales won the 19th Annual Medical Challenge Bowl held in San Diego, California, and previously won in 2002, 2004, and 2008. With this year’s win, DeSales now has the distinction of being the first school in the nation to three-peat—win back-to-back-to-back titles. Overall, DeSales has won five of the last nine national challenge bowl competitions.
In the highly competitive event, teams compete against one another in a medical question and answer format. DeSales was one of 48 teams that qualified to participate. A total of 30 states and Washington, D.C., were represented in the contest.
Members of this year’s team were Kyle Zehr ’10 from Ridgeway, Va., Andrew Mayette ’10 of Riegelsville, Pa., and Jill Diasio ’10 of Jamison, Pa. Kelly Sweeney ’10 from Hellertown, Pa., was the team alternate. DeSales faculty member and PA program director Christine Bruce of Orwigsburg, Pa., has been the faculty advisor for all of the DeSales Challenge Bowl teams.
This win allows Pennsylvania schools to lead the nation in national championships with seven (DeSales with 5, Duquesne with one and St. Francis University with one) overtaking New York state with six. These two states have dominated the competition with 13 total wins in the 20-year history of the contest. These two states also have the most PA programs with New York having 19 programs and Pennsylvania with 16 accredited programs.
In the first round of the competition, DeSales defeated Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, South Carolina), Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester (Worcester, Massachusetts) and Mount Union College (Alliance, Ohio). The teams in the championship round were Touro University Nevada (Henderson, Nevada), Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, N.Y.), Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), and DeSales University.
About physician assistants Physician assistants are licensed medical professionals who work under the supervision of licensed physicians. They practice in both general and specialty medicine and surgery, and perform routine duties normally reserved for physicians.
There are a total of 148 Physician Assistant Programs in the nation, with 16 of those accredited programs being located in Pennsylvania. The highly regarded PA Program at DeSales first admitted students in 1997. Bruce was hired in 1996 in order to plan and develop the program.
About the DeSales PA Program
Since its inception, a total of 11 classes have graduated from the DeSales PA Program. Graduates of the program have consistently ranked first in the nation in the national standardized in-training examination known as the PACKRAT (Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating Assessment Test). Recently, it was announced that graduates of the DeSales Classes of 2009 and 2010 ranked first in the nation on PACKRAT examination making this the tenth straight time that a class has ranked first in the nation on this examination.