Veteran Physician Assistants Are Choosing LMU’s Doctor of Medical Science Program

Veteran PAs Choose LMU's DMS Program

Veterans make up 25% of the current students in the Doctor of Medical Science (DMS) program at Lincoln Memorial University-School of Medical Sciences (LMU-SMS), and 34% of alumni are veterans or retired military. For physician assistant (PA) veterans wanting to gain a competitive edge within their profession, they can earn a DMS degree with the help of the veterans GI-Bill educational benefits.


Andre Sonne, DMS, PA-C, joined the Army in 2003 as a combat medic in search of himself and of opportunity. He has since served in many roles including a line medic with infantry units in Iraq and as an Aeromedical Physician Assistant at Fort Bliss in Texas.


“The opportunity to mentor and train medics and watch them grow and even see a few of them head off to become future PAs are some of my best memories of serving in the military,” said Sonne.


Sonne says LMU’s DMS program has helped him become a better PA with a depth of understanding that his master's program just began to touch on.


“I am as comfortable managing complex medical and psychosocial issues as I am at treating trauma,” said Sonne. “I truly believe that LMU's clinical focus and brilliant, dedicated faculty bridge the gap of knowledge and empower PAs to function at the top of their scope and training with particular focus on cost effective care.”


The PA profession emerged in the late 1960s to train former military medics and corpsmen for civilian health care jobs. The idea of training military veterans as PAs was identified as a strategy to help fill the physician workforce shortages. The curriculum for the program was based in part on the fast-track training of doctors during World War II.


“Today we are seeing a similar shortage in health care providers with advanced training,” said Paula Miksa, DMS, EdS, MHS, PA-C, assistant dean and program director for the DMS program at LMU. “The DMS program is a way to offer PAs an opportunity for advanced medical and scientific knowledge allowing them to meet their fullest potential as a medical provider or educator.”


The DMS program is a post-graduate curriculum designed to build on a PAs knowledge base and skills. The program is open to currently practicing certified PAs, including recent graduates who are beginning their career. The 45-credit-hour graduate program can be completed in 17 months or four semesters. The program is offered online with a short on-campus residency component, allowing the student to continue their clinical or academic work while pursuing their degree.


“The flexibility, clinical focus and amazing faculty make the DMS program ideal for veterans,” said Sonne.


Tuition for the program can be offset for retired military with the educational benefits from the military. Graduates are highly sought after from employers witnessing the benefits of advanced skills and knowledge. The DMS program is currently accepting applications. For more information contact or visit


Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or email at

Back to previous page