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Date Published: June 3, 2024

Celebrating Pride 2024

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Pride Month started in 1969 when two transwomen of color at a LGBTQ+ bar called Stonewall refused to be cowed by police for being who they were. This led to what would be known as the Stonewall Rebellion and the following year would introduce Pride marches as an ongoing tradition. In 1999, the 30th anniversary of Stonewall, President Clinton declared June a month to celebrate LGBTQ+ Americans and their contributions.

To celebrate Pride Month, the PA History Society would like like share a few of the inspiring stories in our collections of PAs who made history by making a difference in their LGBTQ+ communities and in healthcare as a whole.

PAs and the HIV/AIDS Crisis – in this series of video recorded oral history interviews, PAs talk about their experiences, either clinically or in research, during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the ’80s and ’90.

PA Involvement with the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, 1980s-1990s – a historical essay by Reginald Carter, PhD, PA.

Oral History Interviews:

Mark Behar helped in the formation of the LBGT Caucus back in 1979, even though he was only a PA student at the time. He has worked tirelessly since then to help advance the Caucus. He worked to battle the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and was also one of the first (and few) medical practitioners to openly talk about HIV/AIDS on TV.

Diane Bruessow’s earliest act of service to underserved communities as a PA was to help set up a nonprofit for those in the LGBTQ+ community who were battling breast cancer.  Listen to her tell the story in her.

Paul Lombardo is a past president/chair of the AAPA, PAEA and NCCPA and a former PA educator.

Eric Schuman was one of the early newsletter editors of the AAPA’s LBGT Caucus. Since becoming a PA, he has practiced in a variety of specialties including Infectious Disease, HIV/AIDS, Headache, and primary care. He also served on the JAAPA editorial board for many years.

Julie Theriault is a past president of the AAPA. She has also been of the California Academy and was instrumental in the passing of PA prescription rights within the state.

Patrick Killeen has taken on leadership roles in the PA community since his student days. He is the only PA to serve both as SAAAPA President and AAPA President. He was also heavily active in the LBGT Caucus and helped started the J. Peter Nyquist Student Writing Award in honor of an LGBTQ+ PA student who was a victim of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.  Patrick Killeen’s Oral History Interview [Audio Only]

Jude Patton has been advocating for transgender rights and education well before he became a PA. Upon becoming a PA in the 1980s, he continued to serve underserved communities and to educate the public and medical practitioners on the health needs of the transgender community. He was instrumental in the creation and revision of the Transgender Standards of Care for the medical community. Jude Patton’s Oral History Interview [Audio Only]

Tonia Poteat has been active since the early days of her PA career in the HIV fight. In fact, the 1980s AIDS epidemic inspired her to become a PA. She has worked tirelessly, both at home and abroad, to battle the spread of HIV through awareness campaigns and setting up HIV clinics. She had become more focused on stopping the spread of the virus in the transgender community, the section of the LGBT community with the most health disparities. Tonia Poteat’s Oral History Interview [Audio Only]

Travis Sherer has one of the best stories of what led him to learn about the PA profession. He was also a president of the LBGT Caucus and worked in numerous HIV clinics in his career. He was the first PA member of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA). Travis Sherer’s Oral History Interview [Audio Only]

For a history of the AAPA LGBT Caucus, please visit the timeline on their webpage.

Photo: AAPA LGBT Caucus Banner, circa early 2000s