Updated August 29 at 7:42am

Physician assistants can help fill primary-care need

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

As George Samuel Bottomley led centers for physician-assistant studies from Pennsylvania to Maine over the past decade, he envisioned launching a center in Rhode Island. Today, he is at the helm of a new program at Johnson & Wales University that this fall received provisional accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant Inc.

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Physician assistants can help fill primary-care need

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As George Samuel Bottomley led centers for physician-assistant studies from Pennsylvania to Maine over the past decade, he envisioned launching a center in Rhode Island. Today, he is at the helm of a new program at Johnson & Wales University that this fall received provisional accreditation by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant Inc.

In October, JWU purchased a building at 157 Clifford St. in Providence’s Knowledge District and two parcels of land for $2.8 million and will spend an estimated $10.5 million to build a home for its new Center for Physician Assistant Studies.

Construction, which includes renovating the 18,000-square-foot building with state-of-the-art lecture halls, small conference rooms, and clinical skills and cadaver-based anatomy labs, is expected to be completed by March 2014. The first class of 24 students chosen from a field of more than 500 is slated to begin the following June.

PBN: As director of Johnson & Wales University’s new Physician Assistant Studies Program, what qualities are you looking for in applicants?

BOTTOMLEY: They need to have a history of academic excellence. They need to have demonstrated a philanthropic spirit toward people, and I don’t mean money. I would like to see them have a background in volunteerism and giving to something bigger than themselves. I’d like to see evidence of humanism in their everyday lives. Our mission is to graduate students who practice humanistic medicine for the greater good, to be able to empathize and understand the patient and who they are in relation to their community. It’s important for them to have a self-reflective capacity.

PBN: Describe the role of the physician’s assistant in today’s primary-care landscape.

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