NCCPA Media Room - NCCPA Leaders

The National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only nationally recognized credentialing organization for physician assistants (PA). In fact, every state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories have chosen to rely on NCCPA certification as one of the criteria for licensure or regulation of physician assistants. More than 100,000 physician assistants have obtained their certification through NCCPA since its inception in 1975.

Founded as a not-for-profit organization, NCCPA was created to fulfill the role of an independent certifying authority for the PA profession.

Read about the President/CEO below.

Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C


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Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C, joined the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) as president/CEO in June, 2014. Prior to assuming that position, she served as Dean of the College of Health Related Professions and Professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center since 2003.

Morton-Rias has been a certified physician assistant for 30 years. She served the residents of Brooklyn, New York, as a primary care PA, providing health care for the homeless as the medical officer and coordinator for an outreach mobile health team and providing primary care medicine as the first staff PA for the Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center. She has also practiced as a clinical PA in hospital-based and ambulatory gynecology settings and in-patient medical management of patients with addictive disorders.

She has served the PA profession in a number of capacities, including President of the Physician Assistant Education Association. She is an extended member of the New York State Board of Medicine, a 2012 appointee to the Federation of State Medical Boards Education Committee, and a 2010 appointee to the HRSA Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry. She has served as an advisor to the National Health Service Corp and as a commissioner on the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

Morton-Rias has been the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Specialists grant award, the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health’s Urban Medical Education Award, and the 2008 SUNY Chancellors Award for Professional Excellence. She is nationally recognized for her leadership in PA education and commitment to cultural competence in education and clinical practice.

Morton-Rias earned a Bachelor of Arts from Stony Brook University and a Bachelor of Science and Physician Assistant Certificate from Howard University, School of Allied Health. She completed a Professional Diploma in Instructional Leadership and earned a doctorate of Education from St. John’s University. She is a frequent speaker at national, state and specialty PA forums.