Physician Assistant (PA) Week is October 6-12
(PA DAY October 6th)
“History of the profession”
The PA profession came into existence in the mid-1960s due to the shortage and uneven geographic distribution of primary care physicians in the United States. Dr. Eugene A. Stead of the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina assembled the first class of PAs in 1965, composed of former U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsmen; who had received considerable medical training during their military service and gained valuable experience during the Vietnam War. He based the curriculum of the PA program in part on his first-hand knowledge of the fast-track training of medical doctors during World War II.
The first class of Physician Assistants graduated from the Duke University program on October 6th, 1967. Several of these graduates went to work at the Durham VA. The VA was the first employer of PAs and to this day is still the single largest employer of PAs in this country.
Currently there are 2,300 PAs employed by the VA system. PAs are present in every specialty including; Anesthesia, Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Compensation and Pension, Dermatology, Endocrinology, ENT, Extended Care, Gastroenterology, General Surgery, Geriatrics, Infectious Diseases, Mental Health, Sleep Medicine, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Nuclear Medicine, Occupational/Employee Health, Orthopedics, Podiatry, Plastic Surgery, Post Deployment Clinic, Primary Care, Pulmonology, Quality Assurance, Liver Transplant, Hematology/Oncology, Radiation Therapy, Interventional Radiology, Spinal Cord, Telemedicine, Urology, and Woman’s Health Clinic.