First-in-the-Nation Partnership between Wake Forest School of Medicine and Wake Forest University School of Law Establishes Innovative Program for Physician Assistant Students

February 14, 2018

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Feb. 14, 2018 – The next generation of physician assistants (PAs) now have the ability to partake in a new partnership -- the first of its kind in the U.S. -- established by Wake Forest University’s School of Law online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) Program and Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program.

The new cross-disciplinary initiative is designed to develop PA leaders who are prepared to transform the delivery of health care while navigating a complex legal marketplace.

The Emerging Leaders Program in Law (ELP-Law) graduates will earn a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) and Master of Medical Science (MMS) in PA Studies.

The 36-month sequential degree program begins accepting applications in April.

Accepted ELP-Law students begin their first year in May 2019 with online MSL coursework, moving to their PA studies in May 2020 and graduating in 2022 with both MSL and MMS degrees.

The online MSL is designed to provide working professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to address the legal requirements in their fields, not practice law.

Law School Dean Suzanne Reynolds, J.D., said “Health care is facing unprecedented change from technological innovation and increasing regulatory oversight, as well as the demand for reform. Our online MSL will provide ELP-Law students with the tools to understand the framework and navigate the changes behind today’s complex, rapidly changing environment.”

The mission of the School of Medicine’s PA program is to produce highly capable, compassionate PAs who deliver patient-centered care, make significant contributions to the healthcare community, become leaders, and continually advance the PA profession. The ELP-Law program will be an extension of the current ELP-Business program in which PA students can earn their Master of Arts in Management from the Wake Forest School of Business.

“All of our MMS graduates benefit from our program’s patient-centered approach, which immerses students in real-life cases and fosters their clinical problem-solving abilities,” said L. Gail Curtis, PA-C, MPAS, associate professor and chair of the Department of PA Studies at the School of Medicine, which is part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Our ELP-Law graduates will receive the additional benefit of an in-depth, practical understanding of how law impacts the work of direct-care providers and the delivery of health care today.”

Learn more about the ELP-Law program by contacting Sobia Hussaini of the Department of PA Studies at or Ellen Murphy of the online MSL at


Media Relations

Joe McCloskey:, 336-716-1273