Anatomage Table used at Bryant PA program
Bryant Physician Assistant Program Director Robert Jay Amrien, MPAS, PA-C, in white coat, describes the Anatomage Table used as part of the Bryant PA students' anatomy training.

Bryant Physician Assistant Program is first in RI to earn full accreditation
Jul 23, 2018, by Staff Writer

SMITHFIELD, RI – Bryant University’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program has been granted full accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA), earning Accreditation-Continued status.

This rigorous full accreditation is a distinction that has proven especially challenging for the state’s PA programs to achieve, and Bryant’s program is the first PA program in R.I. to receive it.

Bryant’s PA program was launched in January 2014 as the first program of the University’s School of Health Sciences. During the conditional accreditation period, the program has met or exceeded the required standards to be granted Accreditation-Continued status. The next review of the program will be June 2028 and will include periodic compliance reporting and a visit by members of the ARC-PA.

"This full accreditation by ARC-PA is critical validation of the good work of our program faculty, students, and supporters."

“During the past decade Bryant University has expanded our academic programs and significantly enhanced our academic reputation,” noted Bryant President Ronald K. Machtley.

“This full accreditation of our Physician Assistant program is yet again an example and reflection of the academic excellence of Bryant University and our faculty."

“We are pleased to have the excellence of Bryant’s PA program recognized and to become the first university in Rhode Island to receive this hard-earned Accreditation-Continued status from ARC-PA,” said Bryant program director Robert Jay Amrien, MPAS, PA-C.

“With four years of success, increasing applications and enrollments, valued partnerships with health care organizations across the region, and 66 alumni already contributing in service to thousands in Rhode Island and around the country, this full accreditation by ARC-PA is critical validation of the good work of our program faculty, students, and supporters.”

University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Glenn Sulmasy, JD, LL.M, said, “Bryant’s PA program is among several new academic programs we have recently launched to answer the call for innovative leaders in industry and society. The ARC-PA has high standards, and the process has been rigorous and demanding. The full accreditation is a tribute to the entire team, and everyone who contributed to achieving this important milestone for Bryant. We look forward to continued success for the PA program and to future programs being developed within the School of Health Sciences.”

A distinct need for specialty PAs

In today’s health care environment, there is a shortage of primary care providers and a distinct need for specialty physician assistants, particularly in hospital medicine. The need for providers and the growth of the physician assistant profession led to the strategic decision to make the PA program the first in Bryant’s School of Health Sciences. This clinical graduate program began in a new $8-million state-of-the-art clinical teaching space on the Bryant campus in Smithfield.

“With the healthcare industry at almost 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product and expected to create 5.6 million more jobs by 2020, we have positioned our programs so that Bryant students will be at the forefront of the opportunities in the health sciences sector,” adds Machtley. “By integrating health sciences with our exceptional programs in the business, science, and liberal arts disciplines, we will produce well-rounded health science professionals in a way that no other institution can.”

Amrien collaborated with key regional partners – including The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Lifespan, CharterCARE, the Care New England Health System, and the Southcoast Health System – to build the program, which features an unprecedented 12 clinical specialty rotations. As the PA program has grown, Bryant has partnered with almost every healthcare entity in R.I. and southeastern Massachusetts, but also includes rotations well beyond the local region. Students are paired with preeminent doctors affiliated with regional New England partners and benefit from an ongoing partnership with the Lyndon Baines Johnson Tropical Medical Center in American Samoa.

Bryant’s PA program features high-tech classrooms and laboratories. Learning spaces include two physician assistant classrooms, a high-fidelity simulation laboratory, and a physical examination laboratory. Students also study gross human anatomy at Brown University in its award-winning medical education building in downtown Providence. The program introduces students to the management principles of medical practice – from quality management to organizational governance. This unique focus on business fundamentals is critical in today’s complex and fast-changing health care environment.

Through Bryant’s historic capital campaign, Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future, the Warren Alpert Foundation supported the continued growth of School of Health Sciences with a $2.5 million matching grant in November 2016. These resources are allowing the School of Health Sciences to develop innovative approaches that address challenges in the health care industry.

In January 2018, the PA program welcomed its fourth incoming class of 45 students, and in March the second class of 36 graduated. This most recent class was selected from more than 800 applicants, with an average of 5,000 hours of health experience. There are currently 87 graduate students enrolled in the PA program.

For 155 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. Bryant delivers an innovative and uniquely integrated business and liberal arts education that inspires students to excel. With approximately 3,700 graduate and undergraduate students from 38 states and 53 countries, Bryant 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. Visit

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