23 Aug 2014
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RI's First PA Program Starts

Johnson & Wales University Celebrates Opening of
Center for Physician Assistant Studies
“JWU’s Newest White Coat”

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — May 29, 2014 – Johnson & Wales University today celebrated the opening of the Center for Physician Assistant Studies, its renovated state-of-the-art, gold LEED certified, academic building located at 35 Claverick Street in Providence.

Participating in the speaking program and ribbon cutting ceremony were Governor Lincoln Chafee; JWU Chancellor John Bowen; JWU Providence Campus President Mim Runey, LP.D.; Director of JWU Center for Physician Assistant Studies, George Bottomley, DVM, PA-C; Brown Medical School Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Michelle Cyr, M.D.; Chief Executive Officer of the Rhode Island Free Clinic, Marie Ghazal. All 24 students accepted into JWU’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies – the first to be offered in Rhode Island – were present.

The JWU Center for Physician Assistant Studies “is a milestone for the university,” said Chancellor Bowen. “The students selected for this program will receive the education and training to help and heal others. We will prepare them for this great responsibility.”

“It has long been the practice at Johnson & Wales to anticipate where there will be market demand for college graduates,” said Dr. Bottomley. “A few years ago, the university began exploring which industries were predicting significant future growth that would complement our vision to introduce new professional graduate programs. Much of our research pointed in the direction of physician assistant. With a predicted10-year national job growth rate of 29.5% and median pay for a PA around $93,000, adding a master of science in physician assistant studies made perfect sense. It also would give Johnson & Wales – known nationally for our outstanding culinary arts program – a new white coat as the university expands its academic programs to include the health sciences.

“We received more than 1,000 applications for our inaugural physician assistant class,” said Dr. Bottomley. “That is a strong indicator of the number of students who want to pursue a career in patient care. We were very selective in who we chose for this inaugural class of 24 students. And we have set the bar very high: we want all 24 to graduate in two years, ‘ace’ their boards, and secure employment in 2016. The students we have selected are smart, curious and kind. They understand what we mean when we say they are the heart in health care.”

Johnson & Wales purchased the Claverick Street building and two parcels of land for parking in October 2012 for $2.8 million, with the cost for design and construction at $10.5 million. The renovated 18,000 square foot building contains lecture halls with global teleconferencing capabilities, small group conference rooms, a clinical skills lab, and a cadaver-based anatomy lab.

In September 2013, JWU’s Physician Assistant Studies Program was granted Accreditation-Provisional status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA). Accreditation-Provisional is the accreditation status awarded to all new programs that meet the ARC-PA criteria, including a comprehensive review of application material and a site visit team report.

This week, students are participating in one three-day orientation, with classes starting on June 2. The first year of JWU’s two-year, year-round PA program includes classroom instruction, with the second year for clinical rotations. For more information on JWU’s Physician Assistant program, visit: http://www.jwu.edu/PA/.

Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with approximately 17,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its four campuses in Providence, R.I.; North Miami, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; and Charlotte, N.C. An innovative educational leader, the university offers degree programs in arts and sciences, business, culinary arts, education, nutrition, hospitality and technology. Its unique model integrates arts and sciences and industry-focused education with work experience and leadership opportunities, inspiring students to achieve professional success and lifelong personal growth. The university’s impact is global, with alumni from 152 countries pursuing careers worldwide.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Pelosi; lisa.pelosi@jwu.edu; 401-598-1848

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