he Physician Assistant Education Association presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to William Kohlhepp, professor emeritus of physician assistant studies at Quinnipiac, during the 2020 PAEA Education Forum.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, the PAEA’s most prestigious award, honors those who have reached the pinnacle of their careers in PA education. Each year, it recognizes a current or former program faculty or staff member who has made extraordinary contributions to PA education over a sustained period of time.
“I am humbled by this recognition,” Kohlhepp said. “This has truly been a lifetime of involvement with PA education. Thinking back over these 40-plus years, I can certainly take pride in the leadership roles I have held across the profession. My goal for involvement was to make a difference in the profession, and this award is one measure of my success in doing so.”
Howard Straker, president of the PAEA, agreed.
“I’d like to congratulate Bill on a well-deserved award,” Straker said. “I have known him through my lifetime as a PA, and I am happy to have worked with him, been led by him and look forward to continuing to learn from him for many years to come.”
Kohlhepp, who joined Quinnipiac in 1996, rose in faculty rank to become a tenured professor of PA studies. He also held several administrative positions at the university, including director of undergraduate physician assistant education, associate dean in the School of Health Sciences, associate vice president for faculty affairs and dean of the School of Health Sciences. He held the dean’s position for four years before retiring in 2019.
A physician assistant for more than 40 years, Kohlhepp worked clinically at Yale New Haven Hospital, the Hospital of Saint Raphael, and the Community Health Care Plan. He also was a successful practice/hospital administrator for more than 10 years, working as the operations manager for St. Raphael’s Occupational Health Plus and the health center manager for the Community Health Care Plan.
Kohlhepp has remained active in the national professional organizations of the physician assistant profession, recently serving as president of the Physician Assistant Education Association. He is also a past board chair of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Kohlhepp was recognized as “PA of the Year” by the Connecticut Academy of PAs in 2019 and by the American Academy of PAs in Occupational Medicine in 2006. He is a past recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from Nova Southeastern University and the Distinguished Alumnus Award, School of Health-Related Professions, from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Kohlhepp is also a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and a member of Alpha Eta, the honor society for allied health professionals.
He holds a doctorate in health sciences from Nova Southeastern University and a master's degree in health administration from Quinnipiac. He also holds a bachelor's degree from the UMDNJ/Rutgers PA program in New Jersey, a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Connecticut and an honorary doctor of humane letters from A.T. Still University, Mesa, Arizona.