Ted J. Ruback, MS, PA-C Emeritus, has been a PA for more than 40 years. His PA career has included nearly 20 years of clinical practice in pediatrics before moving on to an academic career, first as member of the faculty of the Emory PA Program and then as Founding Director of the PA program at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Throughout his PA career, Ruback has consistently provided service to the PA profession nationally and within his current home state of Oregon.
Ruback received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1971 from Hobart College in Geneva, New York. After several years in the business world and a year’s long journey exploring the country, he settled in Denver, Colorado. Ruback was accepted into the University of Colorado PA Program (CHA/PA), then known as the Child Health Associate Program, and graduated in 1979. He received a Master of Science Degree in Child Health from the Colorado Program in 1982.
Ruback started his PA career practicing pediatrics in a small rural community in Washington State. He then moved his family to Atlanta, Georgia to continue clinical practice as a member of the pediatric staff of a local group practice. During that time, Ruback was invited to guest lecture for the Emory PA Program. He joined their faculty in 1990, serving one year as Clinical Coordinator, and then was named Associate Director and Director of Admissions. In 1994, Ted was recruited to OHSU to develop and serve as the founding director of the first PA program in the state. Under Ruback’s leadership, within the first seven years of the program’s development, the OHSU PA Program was recognized as among the top ten PA programs in the country by US News & World Reports. Ruback served as director and head of the OHSU School of Medicine, Division of PA Education for 22 years before retiring from the program in August 2016. He then served a year on special assignment to the provost, advising her on the potential expansion of health care education at OHSU. Upon his retirement a year later, Ruback was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the President of OHSU and was named Associate Professor Emeritus in the School of Medicine.
Ruback’s contributions nationally began with service as a member of the AAPA’s Education Council in 1995. He served as a member of the Council for four years, two of which he served as Chair. During that time, he helped advocate for adoption of the master’s degree as the entry level degree for the profession. He served four years as a member of the Board of Directors of the PA Education Association (PAEA), including as president in 2010. His service to PAEA included spearheading the initial concept of a centralized application process for PA admissions. He was instrumental in the initial design and implementation of the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) and served for 10 years as a member of the CASPA Advisory Committee, including 6 years as chair. The CASPA program has prospered since its beginning and has become an integral component of the PA profession. It continues to serve as an important revenue stream for PAEA.
In 2006, PAEA awarded Ruback the Master Faculty Award for his contributions to PA education. He also served as a site visitor for the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the PA (ARC-PA) for ten years and provided committee service to two committees of the National Commission on Certification of PAs (NCCPA).
In his home state, Ruback served as a member of the Oregon Society of PAs’ (OSPA) board of directors and then as its president.. Ruback served in the AAPA House of Delegates as a representative for Oregon for 14 years. He served as a member of OSPA’s Government Affairs Committee for more than 20 years, contributing to the passage of several bills improving the practice of PAs in the state. He also served as a member and chair of the Oregon Medical Board’s PA Committee. In 2002, OSPA recognized him as PA of the Year.
Ruback’s service to his profession was generously recognized by the AAPA in 2019. At the annual conference that year, he was presented with the Eugene A. Stead Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. Ted describes this recognition as the highlight of his long PA career. Ruback now lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon, with Holly, his wife of 42 years, and his two sons Jordan and Greyson. Their two former foster children, Savannah and Gabe Pizzuti, are still a part of their lives..
Acknowledgments: This biography was written by Greg Thomas with the assistance of Ted Ruback and was submitted to the Society in April 2023. The photographs are courtesy of Mr. Ruback.