PA Spotlight – Ruth Ballweg, MPA, PA-C, DFAAPA

PA Spotlight – Ruth Ballweg, MPA, PA-C, DFAAPA

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 Ruth Ballweg, MPA, PA-C, DFAAPA.

Ruth Ballweg

Ruth Ballweg

Ruth Ballweg is an amazing individual who continues to shape and form the path of physician assistants, PA students and the PA profession. She is currently the Director of International Affairs at NCCPA and was previously the Director of the MedEx PA Program for over 29 years. Ruth has been past president of the Association of Physician Assistant Programs (now PAEA) as well as the Washington Academy of Physician Assistants. She has served several on countless committees and task forces to help further PA educational programs both nationally and internationally. In addition to her service as a PA and PA educator, she is a published author and has received several grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Josiah and Mary Jr Foundation. In 2012 she was recognized and awarded the prestigious Eugene A. Stead, Jr Award of Achievement from AAPA and in 2015 she received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from PAEA.


Birthplace: Medford, OR

PA Program graduated from: MedEx University of Washington

Favorite Sports Team: Not a sports fan, but loves to read, travel especially to Australia and New Zealand

Mentors who had an influence on you: MedEx founder Dr. Richard Smith

Interesting fact: Leap year baby! Was born on February 29th!

PA Interview Questions:

What are you most proud of from you career: ”There was a time I would have said my long term leadership of Medex, as director, for over 29 years and its expansion into now four other programs and sites into places such as Alaska and Tacoma with continued emphasis on diversity and returning military both men and women, BUT now as I have been Director of International Affairs for NCCPA for almost ten years now, while it continues to move slowly, it is fascinating to see the expansion of the profession around the world and interesting to connect people”

What advice would you give current PA students: “Don’t plan anything, or don’t plan too much – if you look at people who have been around for a long time, they had no idea where this career would take them and all because of how things and how healthcare changes over time, and we are successful (as PAs) because of how adaptable we are”

Where do you hope our profession is in another 50 years: “I would like the ratio of physician assistants to physicians to continue to grow larger, it would be great that every doctor had at least one PA on their team, we bring something different to the health care environment, not in competition with physicians or other midlevels but just something different to contribute to the health care team”

Certified Medical Educators salutes Ruth Ballweg for being an incredible leader, teacher, and PA.


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