The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) congratulates Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C, who was recently selected as the president and CEO of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). She is the first PA to serve as CEO in NCCPA’s 38-year history.
Morton-Rias has been a certified PA for 30 years and has assumed a number of leadership roles in the profession. She previously served as dean and professor at the College of Health Related Professions at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, president of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) and commissioner for the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
She was also a PA in primary care for more than 15 years, providing healthcare for the homeless as the medical officer and coordinator for an outreach mobile health team in Brooklyn. She also served as the first staff PA for the Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center. Additionally, she practiced as a clinical PA in hospital-based and ambulatory gynecology, and did inpatient medical management of patients with addictive disorders.
Morton-Rias earned a bachelor of arts from Stony Brook University and a bachelor of science and physician assistant certificate from Howard University’s School of Allied Health. She completed a professional diploma in instructional leadership and earned a doctorate of education from St. John’s University. In 2008, she received the Urban Medical Education and Leadership Award presented by the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health and the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Professional Excellence.
Morton-Rias said, “I am honored to serve the PA profession in this capacity at this point in our rich history. At this time, we stand at the threshold of a period of rapid growth, enhanced visibility and great expectation. We have an obligation to continue to instill confidence in the certification and recertification processes and CAQ and approved CME programs. I welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively to educate certified physician assistants, physicians, other health professions and the public of the unique value of NCCPA certification.”
NCCPA is the only certifying organization for PAs in the United States. The PA-C credential is awarded by NCCPA to PAs who fulfill certification, certification maintenance and recertification requirements.