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Exhibition: Introduction

Physician Assistants, commonly called PAs, practice medicine as part of a team. PAs are nationally certified professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and care for patients with physician supervision. They work in all specialties and settings, and collaborate with other medical professionals and patients, in diverse communities.

Collaboration has been the foundation of the profession since the first three PAs graduated from Duke University’s program in 1967. Throughout their history, PAs’ goals have always been to provide patients with the best care possible and improve lives by addressing health care shortages. PAs continue to fill gaps in health care systems by extending people’s access to quality service.

  • Student Jodi Sindelar (left) examines a patient in a tomato field in rural southeastern Georgia, 2009

    Photo by Tami Chappell

    PA students from Emory University volunteer annually at The South Georgia Farmworker Health Project, which provides mobile care for migrant workers and their families.

  • At the Everett Clinic at Smokey Point, Amy Kim practices urgent care during a student rotation, Marysville, WA, 2014

    Courtesy MEDEX Northwest, University of Washington

    After studying medicine in Seoul, South Korea, Kim immigrated to the United States. She enrolled in a PA program to continue pursuing her professional goal of practicing medicine.

  • Katie Hall Wells (right), a PA student in the MEDEX program, works with a patient at a rehabilitation facility, ca. 1981

    Courtesy MEDEX Northwest, University of Washington

  • During a medical engagement in the Tagab Valley, U.S. Army Capt Victor Tucker, PA-C (left) checks a patient’s blood pressure, Kapisa, Afghanistan, 2008

    Courtesy Physician Assistant History Society

  • Charles Phillips, a graduate of the second class of MEDEX students, 1970

    Courtesy MEDEX Northwest, University of Washington

    Before becoming one of the first corpsmen to train as a PA, Vietnam veteran Phillips served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force where he gained medical experience working in pediatric and nursing units at the Air Force Hospital in Langley, WA.

  • At George Washington University, a PA student trains in the lab, Washington, DC, ca. 1970s

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

  • PAs and PA students volunteer to provide free blood pressure screenings at a community health fair in downtown Harlem, NY, 1996

    Courtesy Physician Assistant History Society

  • Student Jodi Sindelar (left) examines a patient in a tomato field in rural southeastern Georgia, 2009

    Photo by Tami Chappell

    PA students from Emory University volunteer annually at The South Georgia Farmworker Health Project, which provides mobile care for migrant workers and their families.

  • At the Everett Clinic at Smokey Point, Amy Kim practices urgent care during a student rotation, Marysville, WA, 2014

    Courtesy MEDEX Northwest, University of Washington

    After studying medicine in Seoul, South Korea, Kim immigrated to the United States. She enrolled in a PA program to continue pursuing her professional goal of practicing medicine.

  • Katie Hall Wells (right), a PA student in the MEDEX program, works with a patient at a rehabilitation facility, ca. 1981

    Courtesy MEDEX Northwest, University of Washington

  • During a medical engagement in the Tagab Valley, U.S. Army Capt Victor Tucker, PA-C (left) checks a patient’s blood pressure, Kapisa, Afghanistan, 2008

    Courtesy Physician Assistant History Society

  • Charles Phillips, a graduate of the second class of MEDEX students, 1970

    Courtesy MEDEX Northwest, University of Washington

    Before becoming one of the first corpsmen to train as a PA, Vietnam veteran Phillips served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force where he gained medical experience working in pediatric and nursing units at the Air Force Hospital in Langley, WA.

  • At George Washington University, a PA student trains in the lab, Washington, DC, ca. 1970s

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

  • PAs and PA students volunteer to provide free blood pressure screenings at a community health fair in downtown Harlem, NY, 1996

    Courtesy Physician Assistant History Society

Physician Assistants, commonly called PAs, practice medicine as part of a team. PAs are nationally certified professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and care for patients with physician supervision. They work in all specialties and settings, and collaborate with other medical professionals and patients, in diverse communities.

Collaboration has been the foundation of the profession since the first three PAs graduated from Duke University’s program in 1967. Throughout their history, PAs’ goals have always been to provide patients with the best care possible and improve lives by addressing health care shortages. PAs continue to fill gaps in health care systems by extending people’s access to quality service.