Erasmo “Doc” Riojas (August 1931 – ), PA, was born in Dolores, Texas. Nearly 30 years of medical experience in the military and as a registered nurse preceded Mr. Riojas’s decision to become a physician assistant.
Mr. Riojas is a seasoned veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam War. Entering into the U.S. Navy in September of 1948, Mr. Riojas graduated from Hospital Corpsmen School at the Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, California, in 1949 and was assigned to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1950, he was sent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to become a U.S. Marine Corps Field Medical Tech. Mr. Riojas then went on to train at and graduate from Deep Sea Diving School to become a Medical Diving Tech in 1955. Before retiring from the Navy in 1970 he went on to become a Navy Frogman assigned as the Medical Representative of SEAL Team TWO. He was awarded a Purple Heart and several Medals of Valor for his service to the military.
After retiring from the Navy, Mr. Riojas went to work as a respiratory technician at Norfolk Hospital in Virginia. While working in Virginia, he decided to return to his home state of Texas to become a licensed nurse. Mr. Riojas received his Associate Degree in Nursing from El Centro College in Dallas, Texas, in 1972. After practicing as a RN, it was later suggested that Mr. Riojas become a physician assistant to better utilize his military and medical training and experience. He graduated from the University of Texas School of Allied Health Sciences with a Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies in 1977.
Mr. Riojas completed his PA surgical rotation with two cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons at the Baylor Medical Center and later went to work with them, focusing on thoracic surgery. After two and a half years as a surgical PA, Mr. Riojas decided to attend medical school. In 1985, Mr. Riojas graduated at the top of his class from the Autonomous University of Tamaulipas in Tampico, Mexico.
Mr. Riojas is retired and resides in Monterrey, Mexico.
Acknowledgments: This biography was written by the PA History Society. All photographs are courtesy of Erasmo Riojas.