Wayne Bottom’s career spans 40 years as a PA educator. He spent nine years on the faculty at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) and twenty-seven years from 1983 to 2010 as Director of the PA Program at the University of Florida (UF) where he ultimately became Associate Dean and Director Wayne D. Bottom, MPH, PA-Cof the School of PA Studies within the University’s College of Medicine. At UF, he guided the administrative move of the PA Program from the College of Allied Health Professions to the College of Medicine in 1993 which allowed the doubling of the PA Program’s enrollment in 1996. He continued efforts to improve the PA Program’s status by having it recognized as the School of Physician Assistant Studies, thereby ensuring the PA director had the same rights and privileges as other chairs in the College of Medicine.
Bottom is a charter member and served as the 1st and 3rd president of the Alabama Society of Physician Assistants (ASPA). In Florida, as a member of the Florida Academy of Physician Assistants (FAPA), he served on the organization’s Legislative and Governmental Affairs Committee advocating for changes in the state’s PA laws to improve practice standards. As a recognized leader in the Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP now PAEA), he served on the APAP board from 1997 to 1999 and as a board liaison to the task force for establishing CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants. He served as APAP’s appointed representative to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) from 1986 to 1994, and he successfully lobbied a second seat for APAP on the NCCPA board. His publications have appeared in journals including the Alabama Journal of Medical Sciences, Geriatrics, Family and Community Health, Physician Assistant, Journal of Medical Education, JAAPA, and the Journal of Allied Health.
Bottom was born in Newport News, Virginia, in 1941. He attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPISU) where he earned his first baccalaureate degree in 1971. He then completed the UAB Physician Assistant Program in 1974 where he earned a second baccalaureate degree and joined the PA faculty as Clinical Coordinator and ultimately Associate Director of that program until federal funding ceased and the program closed in 1976. That same year he received the Master of Public Health degree from UAB, successfully secured federal funding for interdisciplinary health team education, and served as Associate Director of the Alabama Interdisciplinary Health Team Development Program (AIHTD) as well as Associate Professor of Family Medicine until 1983 when he accepted the position of Director of the Physician Assistant Program at UF. His clinical area of interest is psychiatry, and he held a joint appointment in both Medicine and Psychiatry within the College of Medicine. He practiced continuously in the Department of Psychiatry throughout his tenure at UF.
As its first recipient, Bottom received the ASPA’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the PA Profession in 1983 and later, the FAPA’s Presidential Award for Valued Service to the Academy and Enduring Contributions to the Profession. In 1987 and 2009, he received awards from the University of Florida for exemplary teaching of health professional students and upon his retirement the University recognized his outstanding service by according him its highest honor, the University Medallion. In 2010, he received the Physician Assistant Education Association’s Outstanding Service Award for his sustained, exceptional service and leadership to the PAEA and the PA profession through his scholarly activity, teaching, and advocacy.
Bottom retired from UF in 2010. He currently resides in Gainesville, Florida, and maintains his status as Associate Professor Emeritus in the School of Physician Assistant Studies where he assists in admissions interviewing and occasionally lectures to academic-year PA students.
Acknowledgments: This biography was prepared by Reginald Carter with the assistance of Mr. Bottom and submitted to the Society on June 25, 2014. Portrait photograph is courtesy of the University of Florida. The second photograph is from AAPA photographic collection, Physician Assistant History Society, Johns Creek, GA. Information for this biography was extracted from an article that was accessed on June 17, 2014 that appeared on the PAEA’s website.