Robert Lee Wooten, Jr., PA-C, is a 1981 graduate of the Wake Forest physician assistant program. During his distinguished career, Mr. Wooten has served on various committees and boards within the physician assistant environment. He is an Assistant Professor within the Wake Forest Physician Assistant Program and spent the majority of his career practicing emergency medicine at Forsyth Medical Center where he precepted numerous physician assistant students from various programs. Mr. Wooten was also a medical examiner for Forsyth County in North Carolina for a period of time.
Mr. Wooten was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. He re-located to Greensboro, North Carolina in 1972 where he became interested in the physician assistant profession while working as a paramedic and nursing assistant in the emergency department at his local hospital. He attended Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University (currently known as Wake Forest University) alongside Gail Curtis where he received his certificate in physician assistant studies. Following the completion of his studies, Mr. Wooten worked in an underprivileged community in North Carolina in family practice from 1981-1986. He then moved on to Forsyth County Health Department to become manager of the Public Health Clinics involving HIV testing and education for the North Carolina health department. In 1990, Robert was hired at the Forsyth Medical Center to practice emergency medicine where he would work for the next 32 years and retire in 2022.
Mr. Wooten was the first African American president of the AAPA and served from 2011-2012. Additionally, he was president of the African Heritage Caucus from 1999-2000 and served as president of the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants from 1997-1998. Mr. Wooten also served on the Task Force on Physician Assistants Rules and Regulations for the North Carolina Boards of Medical Examiners from 1993-1994. He also served on the Physician Assistant Advisory Committee on the North Carolina Medical Board from 1995-1998 and Physician Assistant Foundation Development Committee Member from 1998-2008. From 2015-2020, he served as a PA History Society Trustee.
Currently, Mr. Wooten is the president of the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistant endowment where funds are raised to support scholarships and various programs. In the past, he was a member of the Commission to End Health Care Disparities representing the AAPA and currently serves as Chair of the AAPA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Commission that was formed in 2020.
Mr. Wooten and his wife Teresa have been married since 1982 and have three children. One of his children, Aaron, is both a PA and a Physical Therapist who practices in Orthopedics. Additionally, he and Teresa are active foster parents. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and jazz music, and he would like to travel around the world.
Acknowledgments: This biography was written by Raisa Polacek with the assistance of Robert Wooten and was updated by Joshua Penninger. It was submitted to the Society in May 2015 and updated in June 2022. The banner photograph was taken by the PA History Society archivist in 2016 at the PA Veterans Memorial Garden. All other photographs are courtesy of Mr. Wooten.