American Academy of Physician Assistants to Honor Exemplary Healthcare Providers at IMPACT 2012 Conference

May 28, 2012, 11:30 ET from American Academy of Physician Assistants

Honorees Recognized with PAragon Awards for Distinguished Service and Commitment to PA Profession

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) announced the distinguished recipients of the 2012 PAragon Awards which recognize PAs and collaborating healthcare providers for excellence in patient service, community outreach and overall advancement of the PA profession both domestically and around the world. The PAragon Awards will be presented on May 28 at AAPA's Annual PA Conference which will be held in Toronto, Ontario.

"AAPA is proud to recognize these extraordinary healthcare professionals for their commitment to furthering our profession's commitment to improving the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare," said AAPA President Robert Wooten, PA-C. "Their work and care to patients and the larger community serve as inspirational models for current and future PAs who will lead our profession into the future." It is my honor and privilege to present the 2012 PAragon Awards to such exceptional leaders in our profession."

The 2012 PAragon Award recipients include the following:

  • Federal Service PA of the Year Award: Over the course of her 20-year career, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Pamela Lucas, PA-C, of Alexandria, Va., has improved disaster and humanitarian response worldwide and streamlined the standards for medical care in the Air Force.
  • Humanitarian PA of the Year Award: Jack Gardner, PA-C, of Portsmouth, N.H., left a successful business career 12 years ago to become a physician assistant, and has helped thousands of lives in his pursuit to provide medical care to those in need.
  • Outstanding PA of the Year Award: Cynthia Lord, MHS, PA-C, of Cheshire, Conn., is driven by her passion for serving patients with the greatest need for care. As program director and professor at Quinnipiac University's PA Program, Lord transfers her empathy for patients and her love of serving others to the next generation of PAs.
  • Physician-PA Partnership Award: Dwight Deter, PA-C, and Wilbur J. Strader, MD, of El Paso, Texas, founded one of the most highly-regarded diabetes and endocrine practices in the Southwest to help care for the growing number of El Paso residents struggling with diabetes and other chronic endocrine disorders.
  • PA Service to the Underserved Award: Thousands of women who were homeless or survivors of domestic abuse and their children could not afford much-needed health care. Inspired to take action, Vicki Chan-Padgett, PA-C, of Las Vegas, Nev., opened a first-of-its-kind clinic to promote free, high-quality health care to Las Vegas women and children who need it most.
  • Eugene A. Stead, Jr. Award of Achievement: Ruth Ballweg, PA-C, of Seattle, Wash., will receive the profession's highest honor for her commitment to education, advancing the PA profession, her dedication to veterans and creating paths to the PA profession for military servicemen and women.
  • Publishing Awards: Monica Furman, PA-C, first place; Danielle Kruger, PA-C, second place; Linda Sekhon, DHSc, PA-C, third place.

For video of these outstanding PAragon Award recipients, please visit

About the American Academy of Physician Assistants
Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of more than 84,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare. Visit to learn more.

SOURCE American Academy of Physician Assistants