Oral Histories

The Oral History Collection contains audiotapes, videos and DVDs with corresponding transcripts produced either by the Society or by others and then gifted to the Society. Holdings from this collection have been digitized and placed in the Society’s digital archival collection using PastPerfect™ software.

While there is no substitute for original correspondence and other primary source materials, interviews help us understand better the context in which decisions were made, offer fresh insights, and suggest directions for further research. The Society continues to identify, collect, catalog and preserve existing audio and video oral histories and is conducting additional interviews with key individuals to fill in gaps of missing information.

To access the entirety of our Oral History Collection, please visit our PastPerfect website here.

If you need help searching our Oral Histories, please click here for our Search Guide.

To see more of our video Oral Histories, please visit our Vimeo account by clicking here.

Voices of the PA profession: Please use the suggestion box to recommend individuals who should be interviewed about specific events in their own or our collective professional history.



Jamilah Ali Alexander

Alexander shares how she became interested in HIV/AIDs care, her most memorable patient interaction, and her advice on how PAs can foster tolerance in themselves and in their practice.

Heidi Miller

Miller talks about how she chose the PA profession and working with early HIV patients.

Mark Behar

Behar talks about his involvement in the early days of AAPA LGBT Caucus, his work with the HIV epidemic, and how he became one of the first to talk about HIV on TV.

Tonia Poteat

[Audio Only] Poteat shares with us how she became a PA, how she became interested in working with HIV patients and her advice for new PAs.


Gino Gianola >

Gino Gianola recounts his time in the military, how he joined the MEDEX program, his work with the NIH during the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and how he returned to MEDEX as an instructor.

Ruth Ballweg >

Ruth Ballweg, MPA, PA-C Emeritus, discusses the state of healthcare both in the United States and abroad, the MEDEX model of teaching, and the Netherlands PA program.

Kenneth Harbert >

Kenneth Harbert, PhD, MHA, PA-C Emeritus, talks about his involvement in establishing the PA profession in the Netherlands and helping form the first PA programs in the country.

Joseph Tate [Audio Only] >

Joseph Tate first learned of the PA profession as a medic in Vietnam. When he returned to the United State, he joined the Howard University PA program. He moved to California after graduation, only to learn that California wouldn't recognize his out of state degree. Tate helped pass state legislation that recognized out of state degrees and other PA practice legislation. Tate became a PA educator, even taking his students to China to learn about traditional medicines and practices. He has been an active member of the Minority Affairs Caucus and African Heritage Caucus, the California Academy of PAs, and the American Academy of PAs. He also has been a mentor for countless PAs of color and those interested in the PA profession.

Ellen Dankers-de Mari >

Ellen Dankers-de Mari is the program secretary for the Advisory Committee on Medical Member Planning (ACMMP), which advised the Dutch Ministry of Health on the required intake for health professional education programs.



The founder, officers and members of the international student group IFPACS explain what the organization is, how it came about, and how you can join!

Oren Berkowitz

Berkowitz talks about his work with the Israeli Ministry of Health to help start their PA program and his part in developing the first PA ...

Alan Platt

Platt shares how he became one of the PAs working for the only 24 hour ER devoted to only Sickle Cell Anemia patients at Grady Hospital ...

John Trimbath talks about the history of Cuyahoga Community College Surgeon's Assistant/PA Program, how he became a PA, and the fight to get prescription rights for PAs in Ohio.

John Trimbath


Travis Sherer>

Travis Sherer talks about being president of the AAPA LGBT Caucus, being the first PA member of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), working in HIV clinics, and his volunteer work in Africa which led him to become a PA.

Grace Landel>

Grace Landel is a graduate from the Baylor PA program. She has worked in rural and urban family practice and has been a member numerous of state and national PA organization boards. She talks about how she became interested in the PA profession, her early years as a PA, working at an HIV clinic in the early 80s, and her involvement in programs to get health care to underserved populations.

Ruth Ballweg>

Ballweg shares her experiences as the program director of MEDEX and in helping the PA profession develop internationally.

Oral History Collections

Medics and Corpsmen>

This project was originally in collaboration with the Maine Military Museum. This is a collection of interviews with PAs who began their health practitioner careers as either military medics or corpsmen.

The PA Profession in the Netherlands>

This series interviews those who helped start and shape the PA profession in the Netherlands.

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