Published 01/31/14

exterior of new Physician Assistant Studies wing

Bryant U., Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown U. sign agreement to share resources

Online media kit available here


SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University have signed an agreement granting the use of the Alpert Medical School facility for key aspects of Bryant’s new Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies graduate program (MSPAS). Recently announced by the university and expected to launch in January 2015, the MSPAS will be the premier program of a new School of Health Sciences at Bryant. It will be housed in a new facility to be constructed this year on Bryant’s 428-acre campus.

Bryant "is proud to become part of Rhode Island's academic medical center."

Under the terms of the agreement, MSPAS students will complete the majority of the first year’s preclinical study in the new facility on Bryant’s Smithfield campus and study the foundational Human Anatomy course at Brown’s Alpert Medical School in nearby Providence. Alpert Medical School Morphology Director Dale Ritter, Ph.D., will teach the course. In addition, Bryant students will gain access to Brown’s extensive medical library resources – both physical and online. Furthermore, Brown and Bryant will facilitate adjunct appointments for faculty to attract the very best educators to teach MSPAS students.

“For more than 150 years, Bryant has been at the forefront of delivering exceptional education that anticipates the future needs of our dynamic economy,” said Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley. “With this strategic relationship with Brown, Bryant is boldly moving into this critical sector and is proud to become part of Rhode Island’s academic medical center.”

“The role of physician assistants is growing rapidly in health care. We’re facing a physician shortage in the U.S. and highly trained professionals such as those the Bryant program will graduate will be critical to ensuring access to quality health care,” said Jack A. Elias, M.D., dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown. “Alpert Medical School is pleased to provide access to key resources that will assist in their training.”

After the first year, the Bryant PA students will take part in 15 months of clinical rotations provided through Bryant’s clinical affiliations with preeminent partners including the Care New England Health System in Rhode Island, the Southcoast Health System based in Southeastern Massachusetts, and multiple specialty practices throughout the Lifespan health system, as well as distinguished  independent clinical providers throughout southern New England including Blackstone Orthopedics & Sports Medicine of Rhode Island, Butler Hospital, and Gateway Healthcare.

Jay Amrien, MPAS, PA-C, serves as program director and Boyd “Peter” King, M.D., is medical director for the new graduate program in Physician Assistant Studies. King served as Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown’s Alpert Medical School for 20 years. He served as a physician at Rhode Island Hospital for 18 years and had been the hospital’s long-time Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs.

Amrien most recently was Assistant Program Director and Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where he was responsible for shaping the curriculum and instrumental in enhancing the admission process. Prior to that, he was a member of the faculty and served on the Executive Board of the Inter-Service Physician Assistant Program in Fort Sam Houston, TX, where he helped expand the program, redesign the curriculum, and earn reaccreditation. These Massachusetts and Texas physician assistant programs are the world’s largest.

The physician assistant program, currently in the process of accreditation, will begin accepting applications in April 2014. The inaugural class of 32 students will begin the 27-month program in January 2015.            


Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., is a leading private university offering an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education. Founded in 1863, Bryant University has approximately 3,500 graduate and undergraduate students from 35 states and 85 countries. Bryant University is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report , Bloomberg Businessweek , Forbes and Barron’s.


Bryant University has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The University anticipates matriculating its first class in January 2015, pending provisional accreditation in September 2014. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new PA program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation standards. The program will not commence in the event that this provisional accreditation is not received.