Adjoining Scranton, Pennsylvania in the northeastern portion of the state is the Borough of Dunmore. It grew out of the anthracite coal, brick, stone, and silk interests of the late 19thcentury. It is here that the family of William “Bill” Reynolds lived and eventually provided the PA profession with this dedicated and hard-working individual. He became a leader of state and national PA organizations as well as his community.
Reynolds grew up in a family of 6 that included his mom, dad, and 3 younger brothers. His role model was his father who worked 2 jobs in order to meet the needs of the family. Outside the home, Reynolds found fun, guidance, knowledge, and a sense of accomplishment through the Boy Scouts and achieved the honor of Eagle Scout. He would become the first in his family to achieve a college
Reynolds had a talent for music. His main gift was his voice, but he also played saxophone in concert, marching and jazz bands. His talent led to a love of teaching younger students. This would lead him to be a music major in college. Seeking service to his country and the benefit of educational financial support, he entered the U.S. Army Reserve in 1988 and was trained as a medic the summer of his freshman year. This was when he determined that his earlier interest in medicine was his true desire. A visit with a high school counselor to consider a career as a nurse led to a discussion about the “new profession” of physician assistant. There was a PA program being offered at nearby King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Having been a medic for the 300th Field Hospital of the U.S. Army Reserve out of Ashley, Pennsylvania, from 1988-1994, he was called to serve during Operation Desert Shield/Operation Desert Storm from 1990-1991. During this assignment, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. It was during this same time period, 1989-1993, that he managed to attend the King’s College PA Program. Following his deployment, he was fortunate to rejoin his class and graduated Summa Cum Laude.
From 1993 to 2020 he provided clinical services through the Rural Health Corporation (RHC) of Northeastern Pennsylvania. His other roles there included time serving as Maternal and Family Health Care Services Coordinator, a member of the Patient Care/Quality Assurance Committee, and as the PA representative to the RHC medical staff. He served as team leader for the National Health Disparities Collaborative on Diabetes through the Bureau of Primary Health Care program through the US Public Health Service. Despite having all these responsibilities, he still found time to teach a pediatrics course and precept PA students for the King’s College PA Program and the Marywood University PA Program in Dunmore, PA.
Reynolds has always strived to support his profession. In 1994, he became a Fellow member of the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA). He first served on the Membership Committee, which he later chaired, and went on to serve on and chair the Conference Planning Committee and to serve on the Government Affairs Committee. He first served on the PSPA Board as Director at Large in 1998 and worked his way to that chapter’s office of President for the 2001-2003 term. He continues to serve PSPA through his work as a Delegate to the American Academy of PAs’ (AAPA) House of Delegates (HOD), beginning in 1996, for a total of 25 years.
Reynolds’ role as a Delegate from PSPA has been interrupted over the years, but not due to a lack of interest on his part. He served as 2nd Vice Speaker from 2013-2016, 1st Vice Speaker from 2016-2019 and
was elected as Speaker of the House of Delegates for the 2019-2021 terms. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he embraced the task of continuing the work of the HOD in the virtual setting over his 2 terms as Speaker. Not only did he manage to successfully negotiate this tremendous task, but he was able to successfully preside over the debate that changed the name of our profession from physician assistant to physician associate in this virtual setting. Following his terms as Speaker, he served on the Policy Manual Task Force from 2021-2023 and was its chair from 2021-2022. His service to the House has also included 10 stints on reference committees. He was a member of 4 reference committees and served as a Reference Committee Chair for 6 additional years. For all of this he deservedly received the 2022 House of Delegates Outstanding Service Award.
During his time as Speaker, Reynolds served on the AAPA Board of Directors as the Academy’s Vice President and also served on the Board during his time as 1st and 2nd Vice Speaker. His duties on this Board included service on the Internal Affairs Committee, Commission on Professional Development and Education, External Affairs Committee, Judicial Affairs Commission, Early Career PA Commission, Finance Committee and the Government Relations and Advocacy Commission. After his time on the Board, he continued to serve AAPA as a Trustee for the PA Political Action Committee in which he assumed the role of chair for 2023-2024.
Reynolds’s enthusiasm for assisting others goes beyond his profession. He served as treasurer for his church for 14 years and was an Assistant Scoutmaster for 9 years. He was the lead PA for medical mission trips to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti in 2016, 2017 and 2019. He continues to serve on the Luzerne County Child Fatality Review Committee in Pennsylvania.
Reynolds continues to serve as the Clinical Director and Clinical Professor at the King’s College PA Program in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He teaches courses on pediatrics, health care policy and on the PA profession. His wife, Colleen, is also a PA. They have two children, Matthew and Mikayla. Mikayla will finish PA school in August 2023. Colleen and Bill love to travel and have the heady goal to visit all National Park Service sites (over 400)!
Acknowledgments: This biography was written by Steve Wilson with the assistance of Bill Reynolds. It was submitted to the Society in September 2023. All photographs are courtesy of Mr. Reynolds.