PA History Society Projects

2001:

The Physician Assistant Office website is launched, designed by Education Media Services at Duke University Medical Center and a generous grant from the AAPA.

2002:

The PA History Society (back then the Society for the Preservation of Physician Assistant History) is established and incorporated thanks to the efforts of two PA educators: Reginald D. Carter, PhD, PA, and J. Jeffrey Heinrich, EdD, PA-C Emeritus.

The Society, in collaboration with the Duke University Medical Center and Archives, receives the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Exploring North Carolina’s Cultural Heritage Online (ECHO) Digitization Grant, allowing for the digitization of over 875 archival materials pertaining to the development of the PA profession.

The PA History Society publishes its first newsletter.

2003:

The Josiah C. Trent Fund awards the Society a grant to add a search engine to access the digital collection and to upgrade the Society website.

The Society’s first oral history interview is video recorded. Reginald D. Carter and J. Jeffrey Heinrich interview Thomas Piemme, MD, Suzanne Greenberg, MS, and Don Fisher, PhD, during the APAP/PAEA meeting. A historical panel featuring Piemme, Greenberg, and Fisher with Carter and Heinrich acting as moderator, takes place at the same conference. You may view portions of the panel discussion by clicking here.

2004:

The Society holds its first workshop at the PAEA Education Forum to help PA faculty to archive and preserve their own historical documents.

2005:

The History Society begins to publish a monthly feature in Advance for Physician Assistants that highlights an aspect of PA history. You may read the articles by clicking here..

The PA History Society is given permission to reprint and market the book, Just Say for Me. A collection of 342 quotes from Dr. Eugene Stead, Jr. The quotes become affectionately known as “Steadisms”.

2006:

Prior to the opening of the Stead Center in Durham, NC, then Executive Director Reginald D. Carter and Archivist Mira Waller created within the building a replica of Dr. Eugene Stead Jr.’s office at his lake house.

They also prepared shadowbox wall displays to hang in the Center lobby to honor the founders of the PA profession and each of the national organizations. To learn more about the displays at the Stead Center, click here.

2007:

The statue “Life Savers Then… Caregivers Now” is donated to the Society by Don Pedersen, PhD, PA. The Society installs the life-sized combat medic statue, honoring the roots of the PA profession, at the Stead Center in Durham, NC after a Dedication Ceremony.

The area around the statue is officially named the Dr. John McElligott Veterans Memorial Garden. John McElligott, MD, PA, FACP, MPH, is a former medic, a 1974 graduate of the Duke PA program, and donated funds both to support the PA History Society and to expand the Veterans Garden.

2008:

The Society, with funds raised with the help of Dr. E. Harvey Estes and the Stead Legacy Fund task force, holds a symposium in honor of Dr. Eugene Stead, Jr.’s 100th birthday. The Stead symposium is titled “The Teaching Legacy of Eugene Stead, Jr., MD.”

2010:

AAPA donates over 20 boxes of archival materials, photographs and recordings to the Society to be digitized with funds provided by the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

The Society publishes a book collecting the Stead Symposium papers titled, Learning to Learn: The Teaching Legacy of Eugene A. Stead, Jr., MD.

2012:

In honor of the PAEA Forum’s 40th anniversary, the Society donates ruby-colored academic stoles for the past presidents to wear during a champagne toast during the Forum’s opening reception. (Ruby being the traditional anniversary gift for 40 years.)

2013:

The Physician Assistant: An Illustrated History is written and produced by the History Society. It is a clear and concise timeline of the PA profession’s rich history.

2015:

The Society produces the Educational Toolkit for its Program Associates. The Toolkit offers learning modules, lesson plans, and test questions to help teach PA students the history and legacy of their profession. The Historian’s Toolkit is also produced to assist Program Associates to identify, gather, organize, and maintain materials that document the history of their own PA programs. For more¬† information on Associate Benefits, please click here.

A fundraiser campaign is started to raise money to begin upgrading the John McElligott Veteran Memorial Garden in time for the PA profession’s 50th Anniversary in 2017.

2016:

The Society reaches out successfully to Gasoline Alley cartoonist, Jim Scancarelli, to ask that character Chipper Wallet, PA-C be reintroduced into the strip to help celebrate the profession’s 50th anniversary. In the comic strip, Chipper is a former Navy Corpsman who helped introduce the PA concept to the American public when he applied and was accepted in a PA program in 1971.


In the fall, the joint project with the National Library of Medicine, Physician Assistants: Collaboration and Care, is announced and launched. The traveling exhibit consists of six banners that highlight the PA profession’s flexibility, diversity, collaborative framework and community service both nationally and internationally. The exhibit will travel the country between libraries and PA affiliated organizations until 2020.

2017:

The PA History Society celebrates its 15th anniversary and PA profession’s 50th anniversary with a re-dedication ceremony held at the John McElligott Veteran Memorial Garden. The new garden was unveiled to the delight of guests and friends of the Society. It is the only veterans garden in the United States to honor only PAs who have served or who are currently servicing in the uniform services. For photographs of the dedication ceremony, please click here.¬†For a video of the dedication ceremony toast by PAHx Co-founder and Historian Emeritus Reginald D. Carter, please click here.

The PAHx website gets a sleek, more modern look in honor of the 50th anniversary of the profession and the Society’s 15th.

Gasoline Alley comic strips featuring the story of Chipper are collected in a special edition comic book produced by the Society: The Adventures of Chipper Wallet, PA-C.

The Society collects materials from PA Programs at the PAEA Education Forum to be stored in a time capsule, which will be opened at the 2067 PAEA Forum, the PA Profession’s 100th anniversary.

2018:

PAHx holds its first PA Historian Boot Camp. The two-day workshop offers CME Category 1 Credit and will help teach PA program faculty, PA program directors, and state chapter historians how to save, store and share their organization’s own history.