Illinois ‘Healthcare Hero’ to Lead National Healthcare Provider Organization

Rush’s Director of Advanced Practice Providers Begins Term as President of American Academy of PAs

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (July 19, 2021) — Jennifer M. Orozco, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Director of Advanced Practice Providers (APP) at Rush University Medical Center and a recipient of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Healthcare Heroes Award, will serve as president of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) for the 2021-2022 leadership year, which began July 1.

As president and chair of the board of directors, Orozco will lead the national professional society for PAs (physician assistants), representing more than 150,000 PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the uniformed services.

As Director of Advanced Practice Providers at Rush, Orozco partners with other executive leaders to provide oversight, utilization, and continued development of the APP role across the health system. She played a critical part in Rush’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by leading the drive-through testing operations, as well as provider and staff redeployment efforts. In recognition of her efforts leading healthcare providers on the frontlines of COVID-19, Orozco was one of four Illinois leaders who received a Healthcare Heroes Award from Governor Pritzker in December 2020.

“Jennifer Orozco and the team in our Office of Advanced Practice have been essential in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and across a number of clinical growth efforts across Rush,” said Richa Gupta, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Rush University Medical Group. “She has been a pioneer in advancing the role of the APP and is a driving force behind many critical strategic initiatives and to see her bring that leadership to the AAPA presidency bodes very well for the future of the organization and the members it serves.”

AAPA CEO Lisa M. Gables, CPA, says Orozco’s longstanding dedication to team-based healthcare and expanding patient access to care is evident not only through her work at Rush but also through the many leadership positions she has held within AAPA and other PA organizations.

“Throughout her many years of service to AAPA and to the Illinois Academy of PAs, Jennifer Orozco has been a passionate and forward-thinking leader who has taken an active role in numerous AAPA initiatives while also serving as a tireless advocate for much-needed improvements to PA legislation in Illinois,” Gables said.

Orozco’s term as AAPA president will mark her third term on the AAPA Board of Directors, having previously served as Director-at-Large from 2017-2021. She also served four terms as a delegate in AAPA’s House of Delegates, representing the Illinois Academy of PAs (IAPA), and is a past president of IAPA.

“As president of AAPA, Jennifer brings invaluable experience and above all a commitment to patients, equipping her to be the trusted leader AAPA needs during such a pivotal time in healthcare,” Gables added. “We are excited to welcome her to her new role and look forward to the strategic, patient-driven priorities she will advance as president of AAPA.”

PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop, and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative. PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality.

To learn more about AAPA’s leadership team, visit


Media Contact: Jenni Roberson, 703.380.2764

About the American Academy of PAs

AAPA is the national membership organization for all PAs. PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. Learn more about the profession at and engage through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.