Rick Rohrs, DFAAPA, SFHM, PA-C
“Richard C. Rohrs is one of the most accomplished leaders in the PA profession both on the state level as well as nationally,” says James F. Cawley, who met Rohrs when they were both at Johns Hopkins School of Health Sciences.
Rohrs was working as a hospitalist PA with Northwest Hospital, part of Lifebridge Health, a large health system in central Maryland, for 20 years before there was a name for it - much less a designated specialty. After many years of doing the job, he was instrumental in introducing a formalized hospitalist program in the late 1990s at Northwest. The program has since grown so much that today nearly 90 percent of all patients utilize the hospital medicine service. There are nearly 300 PAs in the LifeBridge system, which includes four hospitals. Over 100 PAs practice at Northwest Hospital, including seven hired just this year.
Currently Rohrs is assistant vice president for provider operations at Northwest Hospital. In this role, he has administrative oversight for physician, PA, and NP services in anesthesia, surgery, hospital medicine, critical care, emergency department, hospice, and imaging. Over the past 40 years, he has built the PA staff at this institution where he began as a hospital medicine clinician.
In addition to his clinical career, Rohrs contributes his time and knowledge both on the state and national level. He has served as president of the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA), the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), and the NCCPA. In 1997 while he was president and Board chair of NCCPA, he also served as interim executive director. Rohrs has served the Board of Directors of the PA Foundation and is currently its immediate past president. In Maryland, he was one of the early leaders of MAPA and for years has served on the Legislative Committee working to advance PA practice statutes and regulations.
Rohrs has also been very active in the international development of the PA profession serving at the first chair of the AAPA International Affairs Committee. He has consulted with Great Britain, Netherlands, Taiwan, South Africa and others on the utilization of PAs in their health systems. He has led delegations to China, Brazil, and most recently Cuba. In addition to this, he has volunteered with Peacework International in Ghana, where he and other healthcare professionals offered primary care services to as many as 400 patients a day in both rural and urban settings.
One of Rohrs' passions is patient experience and delivering compassionate care. “It is said that too often our only focus is ’finding out what is the matter with the patient, when we also need to be asking, what matters to our patients.’ Understanding not only the illness but the entire patient situation will always yield better outcomes,” says Rohrs.