L. Gail Curtis, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Wake Forest School of Medicine. She serves as Vice President and Speaker of the House of Delegates for the AAPA, and also is the recipient of North Carolina Academy’s Physician Assistant of the Year Award for 2013.
Curtis graduated from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington with a Bachelors Degree–Magna Cum Laude with Honors–in biology/psychology. She was in the 1981 PA graduating class of the Bowman Gray School of Medicine (now Wake Forest School of Medicine). In 2003, she earned a Masters Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska.
Curtis’ entire clinical and academic career has been at Wake Forest. She was initially hired in the ENT Department, then moved to Pulmonology, Family Medicine in 1984 and finally to PA Studies in 2007. She currently holds joint appointments in both Family Medicine and PA Studies. In each department, she has had significant non-clinical leadership roles including the administration of a Robert Wood Johnson asthma study, co-directing the Center for Health Promotion and serving as the Program Director for the Wake Forest University’s Weight Management Program. She became an instructor in the Wake Forest Department of Family Medicine in 1986 and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1991. She was recruited to the Department of PA Studies in 2007 and promoted to Associate Professor in 2012. In 2011, she was named Vice Chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.
Simultaneously, Curtis began her involvement and service with the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants (NCAPA) on a trajectory that would take her up into the highest leadership positions within the American Academy of Physician Assistants, where she served as President from 2017-2018. Her NCAPA leadership includes a 3 year presidential term, a 20 year history as the North Carolina Chief Delegate to the AAPA House of Delegates, ongoing involvement with the North Carolina Medical Board to maximize PA practice opportunities, and leadership to create the NCAPA Health Committee. In support of PAs with impairment issues, she helped promulgate the gold standard legislation that created the North Carolina Physicians Health Program and inclusion of PA’s in this program. Curtis also served as the NCAPA Liaison to the North Carolina Physician’s Health Program (NCPHP) and served on their Compliance Committee and Board of Directors.
In 1986, 1996, and 1997, Curtis received the NCAPA Award of Appreciation. In 2010 she received the NCAPA Outstanding Service Award and in 2013 she was named the Physician Assistant of the Year.
Nationally, Curtis is well known and highly visible as a speaker, writer, researcher and editorial board member. Her work focuses on clinical topics such as otolaryngology, impairment, and obesity, as well as PA role issues such as regulatory updates, controlled prescribing, relationships with nurse practitioners, and the expanded numbers of women within the PA profession. She has been recipient of two HRSA federal grants on “Advancing Communication, Cultural Competency and Diversity” and “PAs Meeting Vulnerable Patients’ Health Literacy Needs.” Curtis also served as a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Journal of the North Carolina Medical Society.
Acknowledgments: This biography was written by Ruth Ballweg, MPA, PA-C, and was submitted to the Society in June 2015. The biography was updated on January 2019. Photographs are courtesy of Ms. Curtis.