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Date Published: July 2, 2024

PA History Through the Ages 2024

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Check out what was happening in PA History 60, 50, 25 and 10 years ago!



Eugene Stead Jr. announces to Duke University Hospital Administrator, Charles, Frenzel, his intention to develop a program using former Navy hospital corpsmen and medics to create a “physician’s assistant”. This would be modeled after the relationship of Dr. Amos Johnson and Buddy Treadwell, his informally trained assistant. To read the letter, please click here.


The American Academy of Physician’s Assistants (now the American Academy of Physician Associates) and the Association of PA Programs (now the PA Education Association) open their joint office in Washington D.C. Don Fisher is the organizations’ first executive director.  (Photo Left)

The National Commission on Certification of PAs is formed to provide oversight on eligibility and standards for the National Board of Medical Examiners’ examination for PAs. Thomas Piemme is elected the first NCCPA president and David Glazer is the first executive director.

Construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline begins. PAs are provide medical care for over 10,000 workers on during this project. The pipeline is one of the main contributors to the mainstream recognition of the new profession.


The NCCPA’s PA National Certifying Examination (PANCE) is given for the first time via computers.

APAP develops the GRADRAT (Graduate Rating and Assessment Tool) program, a self-assessment test to help PA students prepare for the PANCE.


The Veterans Administration, one of the largest employers for PAs, updates their Utilization Guidelines for PAs to allow PAs, within defined limits, to exercise autonomous medical decision-making.

20 PAs from the US Public Health Service are assigned to a special medical unit in Monrovia, Liberia to care for healthcare providers and responders who have contracted Ebola virus during the West African epidemic. (Photo Right)

Dawn Morton-Rias becomes the first PA to serve as CEO of the NCCPA.