Who Are We?

The Society for the Preservation of Physician Assistant History®

The Physician Assistant History Society, Inc., is dedicated to the history and legacy of the physician assistant profession through the identification and collection of appropriate papers, manuscripts, magazine and newspaper clippings, newsletters, reports, dissertations, oral histories, and visual artifacts, such as films, slides, videos, photographs, and digital images.

As the physician assistant profession surpassed its 35th year of existence, the importance of documenting and preserving its history and achievements became evident. In June 2001, an office for the study, preservation and presentation of PA History (PAHx) was established within the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the Duke University Medical Center (DUMC). Working with a Board of Advisors, Dr. Reginald Carter, PA-C, the office’s Director, began developing appropriate strategies and procedures to collect and present, via the internet, materials related to the profession.

The office began as a collaborative effort between the DUMC Library and Archives, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP), and the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).  Other PA organizations soon joined the effort as sponsors of ongoing projects.  In October 2001, the office’s Board of Advisors discussed creating a Society for the Preservation of Physician Assistant History (SPPAHx) to eventually supersede the PA History Office as the preeminent leader in fostering the preservation, study and presentation of PA history.  The Society was incorporated on January 17, 2002 and became fully operational in July 2002 under the leadership of Dr. J. Jeffery Heinrich, the Society’s first elected president. To listen to an oral history of Dr. Reginald Carter and Dr. J. Jeffrey Heinrich discussing the founding and continuation of the PA History Society, please click here.

In January 2004, Duke University, approved the Society’s request to have the DUMC Archives process, maintain and provide archival support for the special collection being assembled by the PA History Society.   Thanks to the generosity of professional leaders, policy-makers, writers, publishers and Society members, the collection has expanded in recent years.

On May 17, 2011, the Society became a supporting organization of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).  The PA History Society is governed by the Board of Trustees. To view a copy of the PA History Society Bylaws, please click here.

Get to know the PAHx Trustees, Historians, and staff, by clicking on their names below (highlighted in gold) to be taken to their biography.

PA History Society Board of Trustees:


Stephen D. Wilson, PA-C, Maryland

President Elect

Robert S. Smith, PA-C, DHSc, DFAAPA, Texas


William “Bill” Kohlhepp, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, Connecticut


Robin Hunter-Buskey, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, North Carolina

Debra Munsell, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, Mississippi

Sophi Leah Scarnewman, Student Trustee, PA-S, California

Greg Thomas, MPH, PA-C Emeritus, Florida

Bruna Varalli-Claypool, BBA, MHS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Oklahoma

Richard Vause, Jr., DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Nevada

Ex-Officio Trustee:

Executive Director & NCCPA CEO

Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C, ICE-CCP, FACHE, New York


Tricia Marriott, MPAS, MJ, CHC, DFAAPA, PA-C, Connecticut

Historian Emeritus:

Reginald Carter, PhD, PA, North Carolina


Lori Konopka-Sauer, BS – Managing Director
Michelle Schabowski, MSIS, CA – Senior Archivist
Connie Mara – Administrative Support Coordinator