PA Spotlight – Richard “Rick” Milam, PA-C

PA Spotlight – Richard “Rick” Milam, PA-C

This year, in celebration of our PA professions 50th anniversary, Certified Medical Educators would like to honor 50 exceptional PAs for their professional accomplishments, passion, and dedication. It is with great excitement that we spotlight Richard “Rick” Milam, PA-C.

Richard Milam, PA-C

Richard Milam, PA-C

Richard “Rick” Milam is not only one of the founding fathers of the Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiovascular Surgery (APACVS), but has devoted his career to giving back and helping other Physician Assistant graduates to successfully start their own surgical careers. His contributions to our profession are endless: from helping establish the APACVS, to founding and helping place hundreds of recent PA graduates through Milam Associates, and working in various surgical fields. Rick worked in cardiovascular surgery for over 25 years before transitioning into orthopedics and neurosurgery for another 12 years. Rick founded Milam Associates, after serving numerous leadership roles for the APACVS and finding a desperate need for a service to connect established surgeons who are seeking qualified surgical assistance and PA students who were eager for careers in surgery. Rick has also been the American liaison for Project HOPE/ Cardiac Surgery Program in Morocco and been published numerous times in academic journals. Rick has also successfully passed and taken the NCCPA PANCE/PANRE seven times!


Birthplace: Clarksville, TN

PA Program graduated from: University of Alabama – Birmingham

Favorite Sports Team: University of Alabama

Mentors who had an influence on you: Dr. Don Magilligan, Previous Chief of Surgery at Henry Ford

Interesting fact: Founder of Milam Associates, program that helps connects surgeons searching for qualified physician assistants and recent PA graduates find surgical opportunities. Rick came up with the concept after serving as Vice President and newsletter at APACVS and posting job opportunities for members. Before long he would have recruiters and numerous surgeons calling him directly for Physician Assistants and it became easy to transition into its own organization and services. Other interesting fact is that he is related Benjamin Milam, who helped the Texicans fight for independence at the Battle of the Alamo and was killed the night before Santa Anna lead the attack on Goliad.

PA Interview Questions:

What are you most proud of from you career: ”Helping so many PAs find employment, not just in CV surgery, but before the housing market crash, 1991-2008 I was placing 15-20 PAs every year, so probably placed over 300 PAs”

What advice would you give current PA students: “I think it is important to keep a life perspective that you shouldn’t let your job absorb you, but you should commit everything you can to learn everything there is in whatever specialty you are in. If you really want to be successful need to commit yourself to getting early before other and later, don’t let anyone at outwork you, because there are lots you can out think, but a lot you can do with determination”

Where do you see our PA profession in another 50 years: “I actually hope it becomes a more independent profession, that it isn’t reliant on physician supervision”

Certified Medical Educators salutes Rick Milam for being an incredible leader, teacher, and PA.

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