PAHx History & Projects

Aug 15, 2000:

Article is published in Perspective on Physician Assistant Education by Reginald Carter, Ph.D., PA calling for the establishment of an “office to study, preserve and present the history of the PA profession.”

May 22, 2001:

Physician Assistant History (PAHx) Office website is launched; designed by Education Media Services at Duke University Medical Center (DUMC); funded by $3,280 grant from the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

May 28, 2001:

First meeting of the PAHx Office Planning Group held in Anaheim, CA. The meeting included representatives from the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP, now PAEA) and the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

July 1, 2001:

PAHx Office becomes operational with support from the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center (DUMC) Library and Archives, AAPA, NCCPA, APAP (now PAEA) and Eugene Stead, Jr. MD. Reginald Carter, Ph.D., PA is named Director and Historian.

Jan 17, 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.

Feb 22, 2002:

North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants (NCAPA) donates $15,000 to support development of the PAHx Society. The NCAPA delegates submit a resolution to the AAPA House of Delegates (HOD) to endorse and support the PAHx Society. The resolution is passed in May at the annual meeting.

May 25, 2002:

PAHx Society bylaws are adopted by the Advisory Board during a meeting held in conjunction with the AAPA annual conference in Boston, MA. Jeffrey Heinrich, EdD, PA-C is elected president with fiscal year to begin July 1, 2002. PAHx Society is given complimentary space for a booth in the Exhibit Hall.

June 20, 2002:

A Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Exploring North Carolina’s Cultural Heritage Online (ECHO) Digitization grant for $45,000 is awarded to DUMC Library to image over 875 items from DUMC Archival Collection related to PAs. The grant is coauthored by the PAHx Society and the DUMC Library.

July 30, 2002:

The PA History Society publishes its first newsletter.

Feb 24, 2003:

The IRS grants 501(c)(3) status to the PAHx Society making donations tax deductible.

May 14, 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.

Nov 11, 2003:

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.

Jan 15, 2004:

Ralph Snyderman, MD, Chancellor of Heath Affairs, Duke University, approves DUMC Archives to house PAHx Society papers and the special PA historic collection.

May 17, 2004:

PAHx Center is established to replace the PAHx Office and the PAHx Society’s archival collection is transferred to DUMC Archives. A new website is launched as a joint effort of the PAHx Society and DUMC Library and Archives.

July 1, 2004:

PAHx Society becomes responsible for funding and overseeing the PAHx Center— its academic arm. With funding support from the AAPA, NCCPA, APAP (now PAEA), members and sponsors, the PAHx Society awards grant to DUMC Archives to hire a full-time archivist to grow and maintain collection. Mira Waller, MLA is hired and begins work on Aug. 1, 2004.

Nov 24, 2004:

PAHx Society holds its first workshop at the APAP (now PAEA) Educational Conference in Nashville, TN to teach PA faculty the basics of archiving and preserving historical documents.

Jan 15, 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.

Oct 18, 2005:

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”.

Jan 15, 2006:

PAHx Society and PAHx Center office are relocated from Duke University to the Eugene A. Stead, Jr. Center for Physician Assistants; the building is owned and operated by the NCAPA. 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.

Oct 27, 2006:

The PAHx Society BOD accepts offer from AAPA BOD to become a supporting organization of the Academy. Work begins to change the Society’s IRS status accordingly and to transfer administrative duties and financial assets to the AAPA.

Apr 21, 2007:

Funds were raised by Don Pedersen, PhD, PA, to commission a replica of the University of Utah statue “Life Savers Then… Caregivers Now”. The statue was then donated to the PA History Society. 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.

Dedication ceremony is held at Stead Center in Durham, NC for combat medic statue placed in garden to honor former military medics and corpsmen that pioneered the PA profession.

The area around the statue is officially named the Dr. John McElligott PA Veterans 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.

Apr 21, 2007:

PAHx Society office is moved to AAPA building in Alexandria, VA. Kevin Bayes is named managing director by the AAPA. Reginald Carter, PhD, PA remains director of the PAHx Center and the PAHx Society Historian with the office still located at the Stead Center in Durham, NC.

Dec 10, 2007:

The Society, with funds raised with the help of Dr. E. Harvey Estes and the Stead Legacy Fund task force to hold a symposium in honor of Dr. Eugene Stead, Jr.’s 100th birthday. Funds also went to preserve and catalog items donated to the PA History Society by Dr. Stead’s family after his death

Jun 30, 2008:

Reginald Carter, PhD, PA relinquishes his role as director of the PAHx Center and as the PAHx Society Historian. The PAHx office is closed at the Stead Center and the Society’s archivist, Adonna Thompson, MLS, assumes role of PAHx Center Director working both at the DUMC Archives and the Stead Center.

Oct 26, 2008:

The Stead symposium titled “The Teaching Legacy of Eugene A. Stead, Jr., MD” is held in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Nov 11, 2008:

The area surrounding the combat medic statue at the Stead Center is named the Dr. John McElligott Veteran Memorial Garden in gratitude of his support of the PAHx Society’s mission.

Jan 15, 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.

Mar 1, 2010:

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

March 2010:

The AAPA informs the PAHx Society Board of Directors that they can no longer provide financial and staff support. A proposal is sent to the NCCPA Foundation requesting funds to support the ongoing archival work being accomplished by the PAHx Center. This begins a dialog with the NCCPA about assuming responsibility for the PAHx Society and its mission.

June 15, 2011:

The PAHx Society signs an affiliation making the Society a supporting organization of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA); The Society’s archival collection is transferred from the DUMC to the Johns Creek headquarters and the PAHx Center affiliated with the DUMC Library and Archives ceases as a separate entity. The Board of the PAHx History Society holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce its Trustees to the new quarters housing the Society’s archival collections and workspace.

July 3, 2011:

The Board of the PAHx History Society holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce its Trustees to the new quarters housing the Society’s archival collections and workspace.

Nov 8, 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.)

May 1, 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.

Dec 15, 2014:

Following preliminary discussions which began in August 2012, the PA History Society signs a contract with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to develop a traveling exhibit consisting of six banners that highlight the professions flexibility, diversity, collaborative framework and community service, both nationally and internationally. Funded by a grant from the NCCPA, the exhibit is to travel between NLM constituent libraries and affiliated organizations for five years beginning in 2017 when the PA Profession celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Feb 10, 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.

Nov 8, 2015:

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

Apr 24, 2016:

Working with a Society appointed design team, Julie Sherk, a professor at NC State University, and her landscaping students submit a final design for the Veterans Memorial Garden upgrade that is accepted by the Society and NCAPA Boards.

June 1, 2016:

The PAHx Society approves the design for traveling banner exhibits produced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) titled Physician Assistants: Collaboration and Care. Work begins on developing an online exhibition including educational components and instructions on how institutions can schedule the traveling exhibit.

July 23, 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.

Oct 6, 2016:

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 2021.

Feb 1, 2017:

The PAHx Society provides Associate programs a 50th anniversary toolkit to help PA programs and constituent organizations celebrate the 50th anniversary of the PA Profession during 2017. The toolkit contains downloadable slides, banners, posters and video that can be adapted for various uses.

April 8, 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 PA Veterans 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.

May 15, 2017:

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.

August 7, 2017:

The Society adds the International Timeline of the PA profession to the website, showing the development of the PA concept outside of the United States.

Nov, 2017:

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.

July 26, 2018:
The PA History Society is recognized as a Friend of the Army Medical Department Regiment by then Army Surgeon General, Nadya West. The certificate was presented to PAHx managing director Lori Konopka-Sauer by Army PA COL Johnny Paul, SP, DMSC, APA-C.

Sep 27, 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.

July 2019:

The PA History Society develops a “virtual tour” of the Stead Center and PA Veterans Garden in Durham, NC. You may view the virtual tour by Clicking Here

October 09, 2019: The PA History Society sponsors a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, for attendees of the PAEA Education Forum.

October 10, 2019: Dr. Reginald Carter is awarded the PAEA Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in PA education and with the PA History Society. To watch Dr. Carter’s acceptance speech, please click here.

March 18, 2020:

The History Society is able to safely maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and starts collecting stories, photographs, and other materials to create a future exhibit on the role PAs played during the health crisis.

May 10, 2020:

J. Jeffrey Heinrich, co-founder of the Society, passes away.


The History Society celebrates its 20th anniversary with receptions at both the AAPA annual conference and the PAEA Education Forum. To watch Kenneth Ferrell’s speech at the AAPA reception, please click here.

May 2022:
The PA History Society’s second publication is debuted, Physician Assistants as Social Innovators in Healthcare. The book features how PAs have changed and improved the way medical, surgical, and preventative services are delivered.