In just three years, Northern Arizona University health professions programs have expanded their presence at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, earned recognition for quality and are generating a pronounced economic impact.

NAU began physician assistant and physical therapy programs at the campus in 2012, beginning with just 29 total students. Today, those programs have been joined by occupational therapy and the total student count is up to 184.

That number was projected to reach 355 by 2019, but now will go even higher with the addition of the master’s of science in athletic training. Occupational therapy will expand from 25 to 135 students by 2019, and athletic training will start at 15 students per cohort in 2016, then move to 30 in 2017.

Amid overall program expansion, the physician assistant program recently was granted continued accreditation status for 10 years in a review that produced no findings—an unusual accomplishment for a new program.

Expansion for the highly competitive physical therapy program includes a plan of continued growth through 2018. Typically, hundreds of applicants have competed for a limited number of slots. To enhance specialization, a residency in neurologic physical therapy was established in 2014.

In total, NAU’s programs at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus have been shown to generate an economic impact of $17.5 million; those calculations were made for the 2013-14 academic year.