Chapman University announces Michael Burney, EdD, PA-C is director of the University’s Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program. Burney comes to Chapman from West Coast University where he was also director of the PA program. Burney started his position at Chapman last month and brings more than 25 years of experience in PA practice.

man smiling, wearing glasses

Dr. Michael Burney

“Michael Burney brings both the experience and the leadership we need for this young program,” said Janeen Hill, Ph.D., dean of the Crean College. “We look forward to seeing him grow the PA program both in students and stature to serve the increasing needs in health care.”

Chapman’s PA program was founded in 2016 and matriculated its first cadre of 25 students one year ago in January 2017, after completing the necessary accreditation requirements. Part of Chapman’s Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, the PA Program is located at Chapman’s Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine, CA.

Dr. Burney has held several leadership positions in PA education and PA professional organizations.  He served as vice-chair, director of operations, and regional clinical education coordinator for Western University of Health Sciences and most recently as the program director at West Coast University.  He served as a California Association of Physician Assistants House of Delegates representative to the American Academy of Physician Assistants and has been the CAPA director at large and education committee chair.  He has taught extensively and has more than 25 years’ experiences as a practicing PA in the areas of family medicine and orthopedic surgery.

“I am excited about being a part of a new program with dedicated faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and incredible support,” said Dr. Burney. “In the short-term I plan to focus on educating our students. Over time, I look forward to being part of leading our students to becoming physician assistants by passing the national boards, and becoming excellent clinicians. I also enjoy growing the partnerships with local physicians and medical groups. We have a bright future for our students and eventual alumni providing patient care.”

An avid surfer in his free time, Dr. Burney received a B.A. in Exercise Science from USC in 1984 before going on to receive his PA certificate and M.S. in Health Professions Education from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific. In 2002, he completed his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne. He has published a number of papers on health and education and has been a medical volunteer at Marina High School, Grace Community Church, and the Seal Beach Fun-Run 5-10K. He continues to keep his clinical skills sharp by working one day per week in patient care at Health Pointe Medical Clinic in Corona, CA.

Chapman University’s Master of Medical Science (MMS) Physician Assistant Studies Program curriculum is a 24-month, full-time, year round model. The first 12 months are didactic (classroom) and the second 12 months are clinical, where students will work in hospitals and other medical facilities in and around Orange County. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification examination through the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). Once nationally certified, graduates of Chapman University’s PA program will be eligible to apply to the California’s State Medical Board or another state board for a license to practice in the state. PAs can work in hospitals, medical centers, and private practices; as well as in specialties such as pediatrics, cardiology and others. Chapman admitted 25 students in the inaugural class, with an increase to 35 the following year, and capping out at 50 students per year starting in 2019.

Chapman University’s new Master’s Physician Assistant program is located in Irvine, CA, in conjunction with the Physical Therapy program, Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as the School of Pharmacy. Over the next five years, the accreditation process will continue as Chapman strives for full accreditation for the PA program.

More information on Chapman’s PA Program can be found here:

A physician assistant is a national certified and state-licensed medical professional. The Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010, recognized PAs for the first time as one of three primary care providers: PAs, nurse practitioners and physicians. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers; including diagnosing and treating patients, as well as prescribing medication.

As an academically distinguished center of learning, Chapman University attracts extraordinary students and faculty from around the globe. Its ten schools and colleges foster a vibrant intellectual community, and provide extensive opportunities for students to learn, grow and discover alongside remarkable faculty. The University is home to some 8,000 students pursuing bachelor, master and doctoral degrees, and is alma mater to more than 40,000 alumni found throughout the United States and the world. Now celebrating its 157th year, Chapman is known for its distinguishing strengths in leadership and civic engagement, in the arts and entertainment disciplines, and in specialized sectors of technology and science. The University is comprised of its main campus in Orange, California, and the Rinker Health Science campus for graduate health science programs in Irvine, California. Visit us at

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