October 20, 2021
Paul Lombardo Has Held Leadership Roles in Every National PA Organization
By Sarah Blugis
April 27, 2020
Paul Lombardo, MPS-HSA, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA, is the 2020 recipient of the Eugene A Stead Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. Lombardo was the first and only PA to have served as the president and chair of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the PA Foundation (PAF), and his state PA chapter, the New York Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA). He has also served as the treasurer of ARC-PA, and is a founding member of the PA History Society and the PA Foundation Legacy Circle, whose members demonstrate their dedication to future generations of PAs through estate-planned gifts.
The Eugene A. Stead Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award honors a lifetime of achievement that has had a broad and significant impact on the PA profession. It is AAPA’s most prestigious award.
Lombardo began his career as a PA at Stony Brook University, in New York, and graduated in 1973. Shortly after graduation, he joined the faculty of the program as an Assistant Interdisciplinary Coordinator, then a Clinical Year Coordinator/Instructor. He was the first program graduate asked to join the faculty. Over the years Lombardo was involved in institutional committees, task forces, and strategic planning groups, and subsequently became vice-chair and chair of the program at Stony Brook. Throughout Lombardo’s tenure as program director, Stony Brook was ranked among the top 10 programs by U.S. News & World Report.
Following his retirement in 2012, Lombardo has used his expertise as a PA program and accreditation and development consultant, helping new PA programs to get off the ground. He has completed 82 PA program and state accrediting body consultations.
For many in the PA community, Lombardo’s face is a familiar one. He has been professionally involved in every facet of the PA world, and his commitment to advancing the PA profession is evident throughout his career. He has dedicated his career to ensuring that PAs are recognized for their ability to improve patient care, and that diversity and inclusion are an ongoing, essential part of the profession’s mission. Lombardo has also lectured nationally and internationally on the PA profession, and has long been committed to seeing PA practice become an integral part of the global healthcare system.
Early on, Lombardo was heavily involved in NYSSPA at many levels, where he worked to help improve PA practice in the state of New York. From 1979 to 1983, he was a Delegate for the AAPA House of Delegates, and became the president of NYSSPA in 1980. During this formative time for the profession, his colleagues say, he was instrumental in elevating the profession in the state.
From there, Lombardo became more involved at the national level. He served on the AAPA Board of Directors as Director-at-Large from 1984 to 1988 and then as President from 1989 to 1990. In the 1990s, he served on several boards and committees, and moved on to become president of PAF in 1995.
During his time as the president of PAF, the organization initiated its first community service project, which focused on a tattoo removal for former gang members in Chicago, done by a PA. This project has served as the model for those that PAF supports today.
Perhaps one of Lombardo’s most well-known roles was with the Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP), now PAEA. As president, 2003-2004, he initiated and chaired the APAP Transition Initiation and Planning Team, leading the organization to become the sole national organization representing PA programs and faculty. While involved with PAEA, he was also instrumental in the creation of the CASPA application system.
Since then, Lombardo has been involved on many committees, panels, and task force groups dealing with organizational governance and maintenance of certification. In 2018, Lombardo served as the Chair of the Board of Directors for NCCPA, and was a crucial part of re-evaluating and changing the recertification process.
Lombardo has achieved far too much to cover in one brief summary. His list of awards and honors is extensive, and includes a Master Faculty Award and an Outstanding Professional Achievement Award from PAEA, the Inaugural Clara Vanderbilt Lifetime Achievement Award from NYSSPA, and now – the Eugene A. Stead Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lombardo’s colleagues sum it up best: He is known throughout the PA community as a “fierce and thoughtful advocate,” a “change agent in all aspects of the PA profession,” and a “once-in-a-lifetime PA.”