Doctor of Medical Science: Expanding Physician Assistant Skills, Healthcare Contributions, & Career Opportunities

by | Feb 8, 2019 | News

Healthcare professionals continuously seek strategies to improve skills and enhance their contribution to quality healthcare. Often, however, opportunities for career progression are less obvious. Jill Gilliland states in her article Four Ways NPs and PAs Can Make More Money in 2018, that one way for Physician Assistants (PAs) to advance their career is to increase their leadership role within their practice. One opportunity for PAs to address all three areas (skills, contribution, and leadership) is through the new Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc) program offered at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP).

The DMSc program at RMUoHP prepares PAs for leadership roles in clinical, administrative, and academic settings. PAs with active and unencumbered state licensure and/or NCCPA certification and a master or doctoral degree from a regionally-accredited institution are eligible for the DMSc program. The DMSc credential is valuable to all PAs, whether new graduates or seasoned practitioners looking for career advancement. The program director is Dr. Bartley Rust, who has been practicing as a PA since 2001, involved in PA education since 2006, and currently serves on the review board for The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice.

The program also benefits students looking for other ways to increase their impact in the healthcare profession. Dr. Rust believes, “Even if a PA has no plans to seek a formal leadership position during his or her career, the DMSc program will allow students to gain knowledge and skills that will prepare them to make an even greater impact on individuals, communities, and organizations in the rapidly-changing healthcare environment.”

What makes the program unique is the high level of engagement students will receive from faculty who are committed to their success. The program was built to accommodate working professionals who cannot leave their practice and relocate. The DMSc can be completed in as little as four semesters and is entirely online, which allows students to further their education while still continuing to meet personal and professional obligations. The DMSc curriculum is evidence-based and has been developed by PAs with significant clinical, academic, and administrative experience. The curriculum focuses on the knowledge and skills that are most applicable to advancing a PA’s career. Students may choose from three concentration track options which are healthcare leadership and administration, advanced clinical practice, and healthcare professions education.

Dr. Rust is excited about the future of this program because he “…believes that DMSc credential is the future of the PA profession and it is exciting to be so well-supported by a university that is completely focused on the education of healthcare professionals.” He is confident that the current and future students in this program will make a significant contribution to healthcare. For more information about the program, visit