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Born from military service, Physician Assistant profession continues to serve Veterans

Physician Assistant Week Graphic

Each year from October 6 – 12, we celebrate Physician Assistant (PA) Week, which recognizes PA professionals and their contributions to health care in America.

Born from military service, Physician Assistant profession continues to serve Veterans

By Physician Assistants, Sarah-Anne Diamond and Khaleedah Dannouf

Each year from October 6 – 12, we celebrate Physician Assistant (PA) Week, which recognizes PA professionals and their contributions to health care in America.

Did you know the PA profession is uniquely born out of caring for Veterans and military service?

In the 1960s, Duke University Medical Center developed the nation’s first PA program as there was a recognized shortage of primary care physicians, and there were Veterans with significant military medical training without a clearly outlined avenue to enter the workforce. The program was modeled after the fast-track training of doctors during World War II. The inaugural class was made up of four Navy Hospital Corpsmen.

Since the first graduating class in 1967, the PA profession has continued to grow, with PAs practicing in every state in the nation and across the globe. Continuing the PA legacy of military and Veteran service, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest single employer of PAs in the United States with more than 2,500 PAs serving in the Veterans Health Administration.  Many continue to serve as active duty servicemembers.

The PAs at the Central Virginia VA health Care System continue to serve on the front lines as they respond to the critical care needs of the Coronavirus pandemic. During PA Week, let’s honor all PAs for what they do for patient care to improve communities and enhance health care delivery! If you have questions about becoming a PA or wish to learn more, contact Daniel McPartlin, Facility Lead PA, via email at Daniel.McPartlin@va.gov.

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