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Faculty Directory

Tamara Ritsema Tamara Ritsema
Interim Chair of the Department of Physician Assistant (PA) Studies
Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies

Office Phone: 202-994-6690
Email: Email
Department: Physician Assistant Studies


  • AB, University of Michigan, 1989
  • MPH, University of Michigan, 1993
  • MMS, Emory University, 2001
  • PhD, The University of Nebraska, 2019


Tamara Ritsema is an associate professor in the Physician Assistant Program and has been a PA educator in the United States and in the United Kingdom since 2009. At the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ritsema’s teaching primarily focuses on students in the first year of the Physician Assistant Program. She teaches neurology, emergency medicine, clinical skills, and a course on the role of the Physician Assistant in the American health care system.

Ritsema enjoys mentoring PA students over the course of their time at GW. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Golden Apple Teaching Award. In the United Kingdom, Ritsema participated in the development of the first PA program in London. She drafted the upcoming accreditation standards that will assess PA programs across Great Britain. She is an item-writer and examiner for the UK PA National Examination.

Ritsema’s research interests include the development of the PA profession outside the United States, with particular interest in PAs in Great Britain. She is also interested in faculty development for research skills and the intersection of public health and medicine. 

Ritsema is the chair of the Research Subcommittee of the Faculty of Physician Associates at the Royal College of Physicians (London). In that role since 2011, she leads an ongoing cohort study of British Physician Associates. Ritsema has also served as a volunteer on several national-level committees with the Physician Assistant Education Association. She has served for seven years as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Physician Assistant Education. She is passionate about providing resources to assist PA faculty in developing their own research skills. She is a regular speaker at national and international PA conferences.


View publications by this faculty member.

Ritsema TS, Roberts KA. Explosive growth of British PA programs. Journal of Physician Assistant Education. 2019;(1) epub ahead of print

Ritsema TS. Diverting Dementia: scientific evidence for reducing risk of developing dementias. Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. 2018;31(12):13-19.

Ritsema TS, Smith N, Cawley JF. Physician Assistants in Urgent Care. Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants 2018;31(8):40-44

Ritsema TS, Klinger AM. Can physician assistants help address the pressing public health problem of rising maternal mortality? Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants 2018;31(6):11-12

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None