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AMGA Mourns its President and CEO, Donald W. Fisher

News  |  By Debra Shute  
   March 27, 2017

AMGA accomplishments highlighted at annual conference underscore significance of its leader's legacy.

A celebratory annual conference ended on a sad note for the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), with the passing of Donald W. Fisher, PhD, CAE, AMGA's president and chief executive officer, on March 26, 2017.

"Don leaves a professional and personal legacy that is not bound by time or physical space," said Donn Sorensen, chair of the AMGA Board of Directors and president, east region, Mercy, in an announcement.

"His dedication to advancing the best possible patient care, to leading with integrity, and to building a great place to work, not forgetting to have a little fun while accomplishing much, have made a permanent mark on the hearts of all who knew him. We will miss him greatly."

Prior to becoming the CEO of AMGA in 1980, Fisher served as the first Executive Director (1973-1980) of the American Academy of Physician Assistants in Alexandria, Virginia. Throughout his career, he received numerous honors for his work on behalf of the healthcare professions through his activities within and beyond the AMGA.

One day prior to Fisher's death from cancer at age 71, Sorensen reflected on the AMGA's accomplishments during the final keynote of the AMGA 2017 Annual Conference held in Grapevine, Texas.

"We are celebrating our 16th year in a row of continuous growth," Sorensen told attendees. "We have 175,000 physicians taking care of 120 million Americans. That's one in three Americans being taken care of by our members. That's pretty awesome."

There were 8,000 physicians practicing in the AMGA's member organizations in 1980 when Fisher became CEO.

More granularly, Sorensen noted that nearly half of its member physicians currently participate in one of the AMGA's nine quality programs.

"So as of today, just under 100,000 AMGA physicians through these programs are positively impacting about 27 million patient lives—curing disease, prolonging life, making a high quality of life for almost 30 million Americans."

Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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