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Archie Golden, MD, MPH

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Archie Golden, M.D., MPH, (February 9, 1931 – August 16, 2022) was an American pediatrician, PA education leader, and global community health activist.  Golden was the founding program director of the Johns Hopkins Health Associate Program based in the then-School of Health Services at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes from 1972 through 1979. Golden was among the progressive medical education leaders who had early interest in establishing programs for new health professionals at Johns Hopkins. Golden earned his MD degree from the University of Vermont, served his residency in pediatrics at Belleview Hospital in New York, and earned his MPH from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health where he then went on to become a faculty member. While part of the faculty, he gained experience in designing educational programs to train a variety of community health workers in South America working for Project Hope. Golden was Project HOPE’s first medical director in Peru from 1962 to 1965. In 1969, Hopkins established the Office of Health Care Programs and a Health Services Research and Development Center incorporating PAs and NPs in two model community health programs, one at the Columbia Medical Plan, a suburban health maintenance organization, and the second at the East Baltimore Plan. At both of these sites, Hopkins faculty and researchers experimented with varied staffing patterns in delivering primary health care. In 1970, The Center for Allied Health Careers was created under the direction of Dr. Dennis Carlson which was charged with developing programs for the education and training of new types of health professionals. With the approval of the University Board of Trustees in December 1971, the Center evolved into the School of Health Services.

In 1972, Malcolm Peterson, MD, the Director of the Health Services Research and Development Center, was appointed Dean of the new School. In the fall of 1972, the School began the Health Associate Program and selected Dr. Golden, then a leading figure in the development of the national new health practitioner movement, as the inaugural program director of the Health Associate Program. In February 1973, with a $3 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the School initiated the Health Associate Program. Golden also obtained grant funding for the Health Associate Program from the US Health Resources and Services Administration. In 1972, Golden helped to found the Hopkins Health Assistant Program, based in the School of Health Services and established in collaboration with Essex Community College. The Health Assistant Program was an associate degree program, while the Health Associate Program, sponsored solely by Hopkins, awarded the bachelor’s degree. Golden was an early leader in the Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP) and served as its president in 1978-1979. Later he was recognized as a founder of the PA profession in the state of Maryland by the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants.

In 1977, Hopkins dropped its sponsorship of the Health Assistant Program which continued successfully at Essex. The Health Associate Program closed with the closure of the School in 1979. The curriculum was a progressive educational model design that incorporated the medical model so well established in the adjacent Hopkins School of Medicine, with core elements of primary care and population health, behavioral medicine, and problem-based learning. This curriculum was captured in a book, The Art of Teaching Primary Care, authored by Golden and the faculty of the School of Health Services.

Golden went on to serve as the Medical Director of the Chesapeake Health Plan–South Side in Baltimore from 1982 to 1988 and later became Associate Professor and Chief of Pediatrics at the Hopkins affiliated- Baltimore City Hospital (now Bayview Medical Center) from 1984 to 1998. For his international work in South America, he received an award from the president of Peru in recognition of his longtime service to the people of that nation as a volunteer physician for Project HOPE. Golden was given the Decoration of the Order of Merit for Distinguished Services in the Degree of Commander at a ceremony in the residence of the Peruvian ambassador to the United States. In the 1960s, Golden helped establish floating clinics on the Amazon River, as well as initiatives to improve medical education at the University of Trujillo. In 2009, he worked in Peru with Project Hope to help the University of Trujillo School of Medicine prepare primary care physicians for the needs of the country’s new universal health system.

Golden was an active teacher in the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health until his death at 91 years of age on August 16, 2022.

Acknowledgments: This biography was prepared by James Cawley, MPH, PA-C, with the assistance of Dr. Golden and submitted to the Society April 2021. The photos to the side are courtesy of the PA History Society Archives Photograph Collection. The headshot in the top banner is courtesy of the Chesney Archives of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. This biography was updated in August 2022.

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