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American Academy of Physician Assistants elects Fenn

July 24, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Dr. William H. Fenn, professor of physician assistant at Western Michigan University, was elected vice president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and speaker of its House of Delegates during the annual AAPA conference in San Antonio in May.

AAPA is the only national organization to represent the nearly 70,000 physician assistants practicing in all medical and surgical specialties and all practice settings.

As vice president, Fenn sits on the AAPA Board of Directors, along with the academy's president, president elect and other key officials. As speaker of the House of Delegates, he presides at all business meetings of this body, which has such academywide responsibilities as setting organizational policies, chartering constituent chapters, and establishing councils and committees.

PAs are licensed health professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physicians. They deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations, including conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting tests, prescribing medications and assisting in surgery.

A practicing PA for more than 30 years, Fenn is one of the few tenured "full" professors in his field. He has previously served as chair and program director for WMU's Department of Physician Assistant.

Fenn is a veteran clinical PA who is widely recognized as an expert on international development and has extensive experience as a health policy analyst--serving as a consultant at levels ranging from small local organizations to the national health departments of several nations.

He has played a leadership role on the AAPA Board of Directors since 2003, filling such posts as director at large, first as well as second speaker of the House of Delegates, and chair of the International Affairs Committee.

Fenn chairs the Michigan PA licensing body and is the only PA to have been given a gubernatorial appointment to the state Board of Medicine. He was named a 2007-08 AAPA Distinguished Fellow, putting him in the inaugural class of this select group, and has received the AAPA House Outstanding Service Award, Michigan PA of the Year Award, and several WMU Distinguished Scholar awards.

A decorated veteran who retired from the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant colonel, Fenn has served as president-elect of the Veterans Affairs Academy of Physician Assistants, chief delegate to the AAPA House of Delegates from the Society of Air Force Physician Assistants, and vice president of the Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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