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.

 

FEATURED ORAL HISTORIES

DAVID KUHNS

David Kuhns tells how he became the first physician assistant to serve in Doctors without Borders and what he considers his greatest accomplishments.

CATHERINE DRAGON

Dragon talks about her work at a breast cancer clinic in her early career and then as a PA educator.

BENJAMIN OLMEDO

Olmedo talks about his work in the Public Health Service and in the Indian Health Services.

ARNOLD KETCHUM & NICOLETTE McDERMOTT-KETCHUM

Husband and wife PA-Cs Arnold Ketchum and Nicolette McDermott-Ketchum talk about their work with the Indian Health Service.

RECENTLY ADDED HISTORIES

Oren Berkowitz >

Oren Berkowitz, PhD, PA-C, talks about his work with the Israeli Ministry of Health to help start their PA program and his part in developing the first PA conference in Israel.

Kate Callaway-Burns >

Kate Callaway-Burns, MHS, PA-C, talks about why she loves the physician assistant profession, her work in emergency medicine, her service on the Board of the Florida Academy of PAs, and her thoughts on the future.

Richard Dehn >

Richard "Rick" Dehn, PA-C, MPA, DFAAPA, tells of how he became a physician assistant, how he was drawn into PA education, and his accomplishments.

Catherine Dragon >

Catherine Dragon, MMSc, PA-C, faculty member of Emory University PA Program, shares stories of her work at a breast cancer clinic and what it is like being a woman in the PA profession.

Kenneth Harbert >

Kenneth Harbert, PhD, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA, shares how he became a physician assistant and later a PA educator, how his work with PTSD patients led to his founding the AAPA Veterans Caucus, his advice for new PAs, and who he thanks for his career as a PA.

Ron Garcia-Herrera >

Ron Garcia-Herrera, PA, talks his part in the development of the PAs for Latino Health Caucus.

Andrea Heeter >

Andrea Heeter, PA-C, MSPH, CHES, ATC, CMT, works for the Indian Health Services. She explains in her interview how she became interested in the physician assistant profession, her work with the Indian Health Service, and what she likes best about her job.

Arnold Ketchum and Nicolette McDermott-Ketchum >

Husband and wife PA-Cs Arnold Ketchum and Nicolette McDermott-Ketchum talk about what drew them to the physician assistant profession, their work with the Indian Health Service, and what they feel are their greatest accomplishments.

David Kuhns >

David Kuhns, PA-C Emeritus, CCPA-Retired, MPH, DFAAPA, tells how he became the first physician assistant to serve in Doctors without Borders and what he considers his greatest accomplishments.

James Lesniak >

James Lesniak, MA, PA-C, started as a hospitalist PA before deciding his true calling was in Alaska as a primary care provider. He now works with the Alaskan Native Tribal Health Consortium. In his interview he explains how he became both interested in the profession and in serving in a remote village in Alaska, talks about both the challenges and joys of his work, and offers advice to those thinking of joining the PA profession.

David Mittman >

David Mittman, PA, DFAAPA, current president of the AAPA, shares how he became a physician assistant, his part in helping PAs gain commissioning within the Air Force, how he inspired the March on Trenton, New Jersey to advocate for PAs' right to practice within the state, and his thoughts on the future of the profession.

Benjamin Olmedo >

Ben Olmedo, MMSc, PA-C, shares how he learned about PAs while he was in the Army and about his work with the Indian Health Service.

Kendra Thomsen >

Kendra Thomsen, MPAS, PA-C, serves on the NCCPA Board as Chair Elect. She shares how she became interested in the PA profession, her most memorable patient, and her advice to other PAs.

Marv Sparrell >

Marvin Sparrell, MPAS, PA-C, talks about how he became a PA, his time as president of the Idaho Academy of Physician Assistants, and his advice for those entering PA school.

FEATURED VIDEO ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEWS

Kenneth Harbert

Kenneth Harbert how his work with PTSD patients led to his founding the AAPA Veterans Caucus.

RICHARD

DEHN

Richard "Rick" Dehn, PA-C, MPA, DFAAPA, tells of how he became a physician assistant, how he was drawn into PA education, and his accomplishments.

OREN BERKOWITZ

Berkowitz, PhD, PA-C, talks about working in Israel on the country's first PA program.

Founder of the PA profession

DR. Eugene Stead, Jr.

FEATURED AUDIO INTERVIEWS

Reginald Carter>

Reginald Carter, PhD, PA, talks about his career at Duke University's PA program and how he became interested in co-founding the Physician Assistant History Society

Ken Ferrell and Victor Germino>

Kenneth Ferrell and Victor Germino, two of the three original PA graduates, sit down for a round table interview conducted by Reginald Carter.

Lynn May>

Lynn May, former executive vice president of the AAPA (1984-1992) talks about how he became involved with the PA profession and his experiences at AAPA.

Joyce Nichols>

The last recorded interview with Joyce Nichols, the first woman physician assistant. Interview is conducted by John Davis and Earl Echard.

Vicki Chan-Padgett>

Vicki Chan-Padgett was the program director of the Air Force PA Program at the time of IPAP's inception. She was also part of the Interservice Training and Review Organization (ITRO) for the Air Force. She talks about how she became interested in the PA profession, her years as an Air Force PA Program instructor and then director, being involved with ITRO, the issues that had to be dealt with before the IPAP could be launched, and developing the IPAP curriculum.

Ruby Wilson>

Ruby Wilson was consulted by Dr. Eugen Stead when he was creating the curriculum for the first physician assistant program. At the time, she was serving as the Dean of the Duke University School of Nursing from 1971-1984 and later would serve as the Assistant to the Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke University Medical Center.

FEATRUED MINI ORAL HISTORIES

Don and Kathy Pedersen>

Husband and wife PAs Don, PhD, PA, and Kathy, MPAS, PA-C, Pedersen recount what led them to choose the PA profession. They also share their most memorable patients and their international charity experiences. Dr. Don Pedersen is professor emeritus of the University of Utah School of Medicine and former Director and Chief of Utah's PA Studies. Ms. Kathy Pedersen is an associate professor at the University of Utah in the Department of Family & Preventative Medicine and works as a manager for Global Partners.

Lovest Alexander Jr.>

Lovest Alexander, Jr. MHS, PA-C shares his story of how he became a physician assistant, how he became a PA educator, and his work on various diversity and minority boards and committees.

Jorge Muniz>

Jorge Muniz, PA-C, creator and artist of the hit Medcomic, talks about his career as a PA, his webcomic, and his current projects. Visit his website at www.medcomic.com!

Mark Behar>

Mark Behar, PA-C, DFAAPA, 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.

Howard Straker>

Howard Straker shares what drove him to become a PA, how he was able to combine his passion for advocacy with his profession as a PA and an educator, and his advice for future generations of PAs.

Judith Willis>

Judith Willis was the first woman president of the AAPA. She shares how she became a PA and the issues she had to face when she became president of AAPA.