Published 02/02/14

Bryant U., Southcoast Health System announce strategic partnership for Physician Assistant Studies

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University and the Southcoast Health System have signed an agreement to collaborate in the delivery 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.

"We are eager to work with Bryant graduate students and to teach them how to be great team players."

The University plans to break ground on a new home for the physician assistant program in May, creating an addition to the landmark Unistructure building on its award-winning 428-acre campus. Students will complete the majority of their first year of the program in the new facility and study the foundational Human Anatomy course at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence.

In their second year, the Bryant PA students will take part in 15 months of hands-on training through specialty rotations provided by Bryant’s preeminent clinical partners including the Southcoast Health System, as well as the Care New England Health System, the Lifespan health system, and distinguished independent clinical providers throughout southern New England.

Based in New Bedford, Mass., Southcoast Health System is a community-based health delivery system with multiple access points, offering an integrated continuum of health services throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and East Bay, Rhode Island. A consortium of three hospitals in Massachusetts make up the Southcoast Hospitals Group: Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, and Tobey Hospital in Wareham.

“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 partnership with the Southcoast Health System, Bryant is boldly moving into this critical sector and is proud to become part of our region’s academic medical center.”        

“Great relationships make great health care. A strong team, and a strong connection between the team and patients, is key to primary care. At Southcoast, we are eager to work with Bryant graduate students and to teach them how to be great team players,” said Robert Caldas, DO, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Southcoast Hospitals Group.

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.