The ConnAPA Board of Directors is sad to announce the passing of Joseph Kaplowe, PA-C, a PA pioneer in Connecticut for over 40 years, on April 29, 2019.
Joe graduated from the Northeastern University PA Program in the 1974 and began his PA career in Claremont, New Hampshire. Joe was the Founding President of the New Hampshire of Physician Assistants. Joe was one of the first PAs at Mount Sinai Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, beginning his lengthy Connecticut PA career there in 1979. During his tenure at Mount Sinai, Joe was instrumental in helping develop the concept of a multi-specialty surgical physician assistant. Mount Sinai Hospital was a trend-setter in the early employment and effective utilization of PAs in a community hospital. The PA concept, still in its relative infancy at the time, thrived in the Department of Surgery there. Joe helped institute and foster the concept of PAs serving as surgical providers, while at the same time serving as what now would be considered hospitalists for their patients. While at Mount Sinai, Joe also helped develop and advocate for PAs to provide care in critical care settings – a somewhat unique niche at the time.
After leaving Mount Sinai, Joe became the Physician Assistant Coordinator for the Department of Surgery at the then New Britain General Hospital (now The Hospital of Central Connecticut at New Britain) in 1994. His career continued after that as the Physician Assistant Coordinator for the Department of Surgery at MidState Medical Center in 2007. Most recently, he completed his healthcare career in the Department of Surgery at Backus Hospital in Norwich. Throughout his career, one of the things he loved most was mentoring junior PAs and precepting PA students. His remarkable intellect, clinical savvy, and “street smarts” made him a favorite preceptor for decades of PA learners. His legacy will endure, and many of us who worked with or were mentored by Joe will remember him for being a trail-blazing PA and for his tireless advocacy for our profession and for our students. We will also remember him for his unforgettable sense of humor, his “don’t take life too seriously” philosophy, his love for sailing, and for the many lessons he taught all of us about life and about caring for our patients.
In celebration of Joe’s career-long dedication to PA education and students, his family has agreed to establish the Joseph L. Kaplowe, Jr., PA-C, Memorial Scholarship Fund which will be administered by the Connecticut PA Foundation through the Connecticut Academy of Physician Assistants.
Contributions to this scholarship can be made in his memory to the Connecticut Physician Assistant Foundation at One Regency Drive, P.O. Box 30, Bloomfield, CT 06002 or online at