In May 2012, Bruce Charles Fichandler PA, stepped down from the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) Board of Directors after serving the organization for 32 years. This is the longest period that any one person has served on the AAPA Board of Directors. He was first Treasurer (1980-84), than Speaker of the House of Delegates/Vice President (1984-88), President —Elect (1989-90), President (1990-91) and Immediate Past President (1991-92). He returned as Treasurer from (1992-2011) and finished as Secretary — Treasurer (2011-12).
Fichandler was born October 3, 1946 in New Haven, CT. His formative years were spent in the rural community of Storrs, CT until starting his military service in 1967. He served in Vietnam as a Combat Medic with the 1st Air Calvary of the United States Army. He was the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal and the Combat Medic Badge.
After completing his military service, he continued his undergraduate education at the University of Connecticut. Following his graduation he enrolled in the Yale University Physician Associate Program in 1971. As a PA student, Fichandler was elected President of the Jack W. Cole Society by his classmates. The Cole Society is a Student Chapter of the AAPA.
Upon graduation from Yale University, Fichandler took a position within the Section of Plastic Surgery of the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. There he worked as a clinical physician assistant in the surgical emergency room and on the burn service, eventually devoting most of his time to taking care of burn injured patients and general plastic surgery patients.
He was one of the first physician assistants to become a member of the American Burn Association (ABA). He coauthored and presented a number of scientific papers on Burn Medicine at the national meetings of the ABA.
In addition to his clinical practice, as a faculty member Fichandler taught and evaluated the clinical skills of Yale University physician assistant students. He also served as co-director of the Yale University Division of the Norwalk Hospital/Yale University School of Medicine PA Surgical Residency Program from 1976-98. He became Director of the Yale Division in 1998 and continues with this work today.
Fichandler has been actively involved in local, state and national physician assistant organizations. He first served as Treasurer of the Connecticut Academy of PAs (CONNAPA) (1979-80) prior to becoming a member on the Board of Directors of the AAPA. In 1980 he began a one year term as President of the CONNAPA. In addition he was Election Committee Chairman (1983-91), Co-Chairman of the Membership Committee (1984-89), Member of the Legislative Task Force (1988-95) and Webmaster for CONNAPA (1998 — present). He served on the Board of Trustees of the national Physician Assistant Foundation (1990-91). Academically, Fichandler has co-authored 19 publications in clinical and academic journals and has given more than 30 major scientific presentations at national meetings.
Community service has been a passion for Fichandler. He has volunteered with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (1989-93), Special Olympics (1991- 95), the Connecticut Food Bank (1992-2004) and the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen (1998-2005). He loves being a literacy volunteer in the Read Aloud Program. Fichandler has volunteered time in the New Haven, Connecticut School System at Vincent Mauro Elementary School (2001-02 & 2004- 07), Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School (2002-03) and the Roberto Clemente Elementary School (2005-06). Other Literacy Programs include the Martin Luther King/Jackie Robinson Elementary School (2006-present) and New Haven Reads (2012-present).
Fichandler has been recognized for his clinical, academic and volunteer achievements. He was the recipient of the Clinical Instructor of the Year Award from the Yale PA students (1978), President’s Award from the Connecticut Academy of Physician Assistants (1983), Special Appreciation Award from the AAPA Veterans Caucus (1985), Jack W. Cole Student Society Award from the Yale University PA Program (1987), Outstanding Service Award from the AAPA House of Delegates (1988), AAPA 20th Anniversary Service Appreciation Award (1988), Honorary Member Georgia Association of PAs (1988), the Civilian PA of the Year Award from the AAPA Veterans Caucus (1994), the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Yale University PA Program (1997), Jack W. Cole Student Society Award from the Yale University PA Program (1997), New York Institute of Technology PA Program Outstanding Professional Role Model Award (2001), Connecticut Food Bank Partnership Award (2001), newly established Bruce Fichandler Community Service Award from Quinnipiac University PA Program (2009), President’s Award from the Connecticut Academy of PAs (2009) and the newly established Bruce C Fichandler Student Society at the Bridgeport University PA Institute in Bridgeport, CT.
Acknowledgments: This Biographical Sketch was prepared by J. Jeffrey Heinrich PA-C, EdD and edited by Bruce C. Fichandler PA and submitted to the Society on July 5, 2012. The banner photograph is courtesy of the PA History Society. The second and third photographs were donated to the Society by Fichandler.