Video: Tour JWU’s Center for PA Studies

Rhode Island’s first PA program has opened its doors: JWU’s new Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) is housed in the Center for Physician Assistant Studies, a brand new, state-of-the-art facility located in Providence’s Knowledge District.


Facility Dedicated to PA Education
“One thing that really makes the Center unique is the fact that it’s one of the only buildings in the country dedicated totally to physician assistant studies,” notes program director George Bottomley, DVM, PA-C.

The Center offers 18,000-square-feet of space tailor-made to serve as a base of operations for PA students throughout the 24-month program.

Unique Training in Anatomy + Dissection
“Students actually [learn to] do dissection on human cadavers,” explains Patricia Brady Wilhelm, who teaches anatomy and serves as Science department chair. “In many programs, students are looking at already-dissected cadavers.”


Working in groups of 4, students learn anatomy and internal body systems. “It’s a hugely interactive class — students are not only doing the dissections, but they are then teaching each other,” says Wilhelm.

Interactive Clinical Skills Lab
Equally interactive is the clinical skills lab, which is set up to mimic a hospital emergency room.

“This is where students learn the complete head-to-toe physical exam,” says Assistant Professor Thomas Meehan.


Each exam station is equipped with a computer where students can access medical records, input data and update patient histories.

In addition, says Meehan, “We can also use this room as a ‘wet lab’ where we can learn suturing, splinting, casting and other skills [students] need to know before they go on to clinical practice.”

Roots in RI’s Medical-Education Community
Being part of RI’s interlinked medical-education community is a crucial component to building a team-based, collaborative learning model. “Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School is within walking distance, literally two blocks away,” notes Bottomley.

PA student and native Rhode Islander Reilly Loomis chose JWU because of the program’s prime location and strong links to community colleagues: “It was a great opportunity — especially with this first class — to have a very personal learning environment with only 24 students but also have the resources of larger institutions like Brown nearby.”