JOHNS CREEK, Ga.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the physician assistant (PA) profession, the PA History Society (PAHx) will honor U.S. Veterans and active duty PAs, with the April 8 unveiling of a memorial garden at the Eugene A. Stead, Jr. Center for PAs in Durham, North Carolina.
“We recognize the service of those PAs who provided outstanding service to our country in times of peace and conflict over the past five decades.”
Created to be a place for reflection, the garden will feature a wall of remembrance with bronze plaques representing each branch of the uniformed services. The centerpiece of the garden is a life-size bronze statue of a combat medic bandaging the wounds of a fallen soldier. The sculpture is titled “Life Savers Then … Caregivers Now” and serves as a reminder of the origins of the PA profession.
The first PA program began when Eugene A. Stead, Jr., M.D., then chair of the Department of Medicine at Duke University, began a two-year curriculum to build on the experience of ex-military corpsmen by expanding their formal medical education. The rigorous curriculum followed the medical school model, ensuring that PAs would become collaborative partners for the nation’s physicians.
The last surviving member of the first PA graduating class at Duke University, Ken Ferrell, will attend the April 8 dedication, along with officials from the PAHx, the North Carolina Academy of PAs and distinguished PAs from around the country.
“The PA profession is rooted in military service, and we are proud to have this opportunity to honor that patriotism and sacrifice,” says Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C, president and CEO of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the entity responsible for certifying all PAs before they begin to practice. “We recognize the service of those PAs who provided outstanding service to our country in times of peace and conflict over the past five decades.”
Today, there are 218 accredited PA programs, and more than 115,500 PAs practicing in all specialties and clinical settings.
While retired, Ferrell remains active in supporting the PA profession, especially when it comes to promoting the profession’s career opportunities for veterans. “I am humbled and delighted to see how the profession has progressed over the years,” said Ferrell. “With all the uncertainty in healthcare, I would hope that an occasion such as the 50th anniversary would encourage PA programs to find ways to accept more military veterans. The Veterans Memorial Garden is a lasting testament to those who have and continue to serve our country. It is also a place to remember those that are no longer with us like my classmates, Victor Germino and Dick Scheele.”
About the PAHx
The Physician Assistant History Society, Inc. (PAHx), based in Johns Creek, Ga., is dedicated to the history and legacy of the PA profession through the identification and collection of papers, manuscripts, magazine/newspaper clippings, newsletters, reports, dissertations, oral histories, and visual artifacts, such as films, slides, videos, photographs, and digital images. On May 17, 2011, the Society became a supporting organization of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
About the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only certifying organization for physician assistants (PAs) in the United States. The PA-C credential is awarded by NCCPA to PAs who fulfill certification, certification maintenance and recertification requirements. For more information, visit www.PAsDoThat.net.