Gretchen Picking Paruch has spent her PA career promoting the development of the physician assistant profession and the training of physician assistants. In recognition of this lifelong endeavor, in 2007, Arcadia University established the Gretchen M. Paruch Award for Humanitarian Service.
She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Long Island University/The Brooklyn Hospital Center (LIU/TBHC) Physician Assistant Program in 1977. She practiced clinically in both family practice and surgery in New York, before joining the faculty of her alma mater in 1979. At LIU/TBHC she served as the Pre-professional Coordinator for 18 years. In 1996, she and her husband, a surgical PA, relocated to New Hope, Pennsylvania when she joined the faculty of the newly established Department of Physician Assistant Studies at then, Beaver College. She was quite instrumental in the initial stages of the development of the program, including the introduction of early “hands-on” clinical experiences for first year PA students.
Ms. Paruch completed her Master’s Degree Program for Physician Assistants offered by Pacific University in 2003 as being a member of their first class. She retired in May of 2006 and at that time Arcadia University inducted her as their first faculty member into Pi Alpha National honor Society. In the fall of 2010 she came out of retirement to join the faculty at Salus University in Pennsylvania as the Academic Coordinator of the Physician Assistant Program.
She is dedicated to quality PA education and program development and improvement. Her major interest includes the history of the Physician Assistant profession and she is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Society for the Preservation of Physician Assistant History. She is proud of her early roots in the profession and endeavors to preserve its history for future generations of physician assistants. Her other area of interest is the role of non-physician clinicians in the delivery of health care – the subject of her Master’s thesis.
Acknowledgments: This biographical sketch was prepared by Gretchen Paruch with the assistance of Dr. Alfred Sadler and submitted to the Society on June 2011. The photographs are courtesy of Gretchen Paruch.