Balancing mission-driven organizational goals with leadership skills and financial acumen has never been so crucial in the field of health care. This made partnering with the Warren Alpert Foundation through a $2.5 million challenge grant particularly timely and impactful.
Glenn M. Sulmasy, J.D., LL.M., Provost and Chief Academic Officer, explains: “Costs continue to rise and the industry is being put under a microscope. Bryant is well positioned to create leaders and innovators in health care. We know we can help create efficiencies that will leave doctors, administrators, and patients available to foster a more productive and caring relationship.”
Adds David Wegrzyn ’86, Vice President for University Advancement, “Professionals who speak the languages of business and medicine can close the knowledge gap between financial management and health services.”
“The successful partnering with the Warren Alpert Foundation to advance the School of Health Sciences means we can expand our academic offerings and provide new opportunities for health care professionals to better work within a dynamic and often complex industry,” says Sulmasy (left).
The challenge grant presented a unique opportunity for alumni, parents, and friends to make a difference, says Wegrzyn. “And the Bryant community exceeded expectations. Every gift that came in through June 30 was matched by the Warren Alpert Foundation, effectively doubling it.”
The matching gift challenge was part of Bryant’s historic capital campaign, Expanding the World of Opportunity: The Campaign for Bryant’s Bold Future , which has raised more than $74 million toward the campaign’s $75 million goal.
Now that the Warren Alpert Foundation challenge grant has been met, the University’s academic leadership is working to design innovative classes, connect with industry leaders, and acquire essential course materials, Wegrzyn adds.
Donors pave the way
One donor who helped pave the way for a more robust offering through the School of Health Sciences is George Vecchione ’06H, the former Bryant Trustee who is credited with turning around the finances of a troubled hospital system during his 13-year tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer of Lifespan, Rhode Island’s most powerful hospital network.
“I was delighted to participate" in the challenge, says Vecchione. “Our health care system is vast and complex and in need of significant change. At 17.5 percent of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product and with the baby boomer generation coming of age, the pressure to use resources wisely will only increase. Bryant University’s commitment and leadership in this area is greatly appreciated. I thank the Warren Alpert Foundation for creating this challenge grant, thereby allowing donors to maximize the impact of their gifts.”
“Diversification of the academic programs being offered by Bryant University is of interest to us, but only if the added programs make sense in the master plan. And added health care programs do,” say Clifford and Kim Garnett P’13, parents of Brooke ’13, who were recognized as Bryant Champions for Philanthropy in 2012. “With delivery of high quality health care continuing to be a major challenge in society today, programs that advance services to patients and providers while reducing costs to both deserve our attention. Bryant’s goal is to provide the marketplace with well-trained professionals who are innovative leaders in the field, and launching this new enterprise requires capital. The recent addition of the School of Health Sciences with Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is further evidence of the progressive thinking of Bryant University and President Ronald K. Machtley. There is no better place to make an investment, in our opinion.”
Gordon and Ursula Riblet P’97 (left) agree. “Our son’s experience at Bryant was so positive,” says Gordon, President of Microwave Development Labs and member of Bryant’s Board of Trustees. Adds Ursula, “In addition to a wonderful education, he had caring faculty who helped him find his own path and develop as a person.” The Riblets made a leadership gift to the University in support of the campaign that went to the Warren Alpert Challenge Grant because they believe in President Machtley's vision. “The integrity of the financial management of Bryant is rock solid,” says Gordon. “You can be sure that money donated to the capital campaign will be well spent.”
Addressing emerging needs
Increasing demands for high-quality care at manageable costs drive the need for businesses and practitioners to think and operate innovatively.
Bryant’s School of Health Sciences will prepare students to address these imminent issues and emerging needs by educating future leaders and innovators in an industry that continues to evolve and change.
The first class of Physician Assistants (PAs) graduated on March 25, 2017, from Bryant. After receiving their Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies diplomas, the newly certified health care providers took the Physician Assistant Oath. One hundred percent of the graduating class passed the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE) upon eligibility. Since its inception in 2014, the Bryant PA program has grown by 50 percent, and philanthropy, including the Warren Alpert Foundation challenge grant, is helping the University build on efforts to integrate this clinical side of health care with Bryant’s core strength in business education.
Grant from Rhode Island Foundation
Bryant alumni have been distinguished leaders in the health care sector for decades, paving the way for the University to establish the School of Health Sciences in 2014 and launch its first clinical program, the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.
As Bryant’s School of Health Sciences continues to grow, the University is expanding its role as a resource for leaders in health care management, physicians and other health care providers, hospitals, and health care delivery systems on how best to anticipate and address changing dynamics in medical practices.
“We’ve received a $150,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation to study and share with other stakeholders how to integrate physician assistants into practices, patient-centered medical homes, and hospitals in Rhode Island. How do PAs fit in? Does the current practice model make sense?,” says Sulmasy. “We can give back to this state by helping to create a blueprint for a new medical model that adds more synergy – that brings the role of doctors as leaders to the forefront. We recognize there’s a need to construct a patient-centered experience in facets including comfort, convenience, safety, and manageable cost.”
President Machtley identified health sciences as an important growth area for the University in its strategic plan, Vision 2020. “For more than 153 years, Bryant has been at the forefront of delivering exceptional education that anticipates the future and the needs of students in a changing world,” said President Machtley. “Health care sits at the heart of the U.S. economy, and as a leading University with a strategic focus on business, Bryant is boldly positioning the School of Health Sciences programs to prepare innovative leaders for the future of our health care system.”