In Memoriam: Donald W. Fisher, PhD

Dr. Donald Fisher, 2002. Photograph courtesy of PA History Society, Johns Creek, GA

Dr. Donald Fisher, 2002. Photograph courtesy of PA History Society, Johns Creek, GA

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Donald W. Fisher, PhD, the first executive director of the association that is now PAEA. Dr. Fisher passed away from cancer at the age of 71 on Sunday, March 26.

Dr. Fisher served both the Association and AAPA from 1973-1980, when PAEA was still known as APAP. Since that time, he had been president and CEO of the American Medical Group Association.

“Dr. Fisher’s passing is a huge loss for the PA profession,” said PAEA CEO Timi Agar Barwick. “He was a tremendous source of leadership and stability in the early days of both PAEA (then APAP) and AAPA and was instrumental in building the legislative foundation that enabled PAs to flourish. He continued to be a friend to the PA profession throughout his career. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Prior to his leadership role at APAP/PAEA, he was co-director of the PA program at the University of Mississippi/Hinds Junior College, where he had received his PhD in anatomy.

Dr. Fisher was instrumental as a leader of both PAEA and the profession as a whole. During his time here, he was able to double our membership and forge strong relationships among the four professional PA organizations. He is also known for his work toward state policies on allowing PAs to practice with physicians in the 70s and 80s.

“Don was a natural and tireless leader and is remembered for his intelligence, fairness, and wit,” said Fred Sadler, former president of both APAP and the PA History Society. “His leadership and hard work in the 1970s played a major role in putting the PA profession on the national map.”

A full biography for Dr. Fisher is available from the PA History Society.