We are honored to have Carl E. Fasser, BA, PA, professor and former longtime director of the Physician Assistant Program in the School of Health Professions at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, as our commencement speaker. Mr.
Fasser brings a unique perspective on the history of PA education and practice as the founding director of the Baylor College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program as well as founding member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Texas
Academy of Physician Assistant, and an active participant of the formation of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and the AMA Accreditation Review Committee, forerunner to today’s ARC-PA.
Fasser served as a medical corpsman in the Air Force and worked as a dialysis technician before becoming a student in the Physician Associate Program at Duke University Medical Center where he graduated with honors in 1969. His long career in PA education
began shortly following graduation when he assumed the position of academic coordinator for the Duke PA Program and faculty member in the Department of Community Health Sciences, while practicing as a PA in the Faculty Health Clinic. While serving
in this role he participated in drafting the early essentials for program accreditation, and the proposal to the award of a bachelor’s degree to graduates of the Duke PA Program. In 1971, he was recruited to Houston to establish Baylor College
of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program. Between 1975 and 1990, he was instrumental in bringing a community-oriented primary care focus to the curriculum and transitioning the learning experiences offered students to a graduate level leading
to a Master of Science degree. He would likewise oversee the implementation of the first program of student-based faculty-mentored original research and the use of high stakes exams as requirements for graduation. During the period 1997-2002, Fasser
served as founding dean of the School of Health Sciences, and chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston. His knowledge of Harvard’s original interest in starting
a PA program in the 1970s would result in the Dean of Medicine of Harvard Medical School agreeing to allow its faculty and affiliated clinical facilities to assist in the training of PA students enrolled in the MCPHS PA Program. In 2002, Fasser returned
to Baylor College of Medicine and continued his association with the physician assistant program.
Over the period of four decades, Fasser has received numerous awards recognizing his contributions to PA education and the profession. Significant among these awards are the AAPA Founder’s Award, PAEA Master Faculty Award, BCM’s Fulbright
& Jaworski Faculty Excellence Award for Educational Leadership, Barbara and Corbin J. Robertson Presidential Award for Excellence in Education, Alumni Association’s Distinguished Faculty Award, the J. David Holcomb Award for Sustained Leadership
in Allied Health Education, induction into the Duke PA Program Hall of Fame as a distinguished alumnus, recognition as a Distinguished Fellow of the AAPA, and receipt of the Physician Assistant Education Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
His academic interests encompass student instruction, interdisciplinary education, and health services research. His favorite academic subjects continue to be gross anatomy, problem solving in medicine, evidence-based practice, shared decisions making,
and global health. From a curriculum design standpoint, his interests center on cancer risk assessment in clinical practice, chronic disease management, faculty development. The focus of his current research is on factors affecting the consultation
and referral practices of primary care providers. An outcome of these interests is a series of publications on a wide range of forces affecting PA practice.
Acknowledgments: This excerpt is from a biography from the Physician Assistant History Society.