(October 1, 1941 - May 13, 2012)
Class of 1968
Nelson Earl Myers was raised in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. He served as a Navy Hospital Corpsman from 1959 until 1962. After completing Hospital corps school at Great Lakes, Illinois, he was subsequently transferred to the Portsmouth, Virginia Naval Hospital, where he began an association with former Duke cardiologists stationed there, who were setting up a cardiac catheterization laboratory.
Nelson accepted a position at Duke in the cardiovascular lab in the fall of 1962, under the supervision of Dr. Henry McIntosh, where he participated in numerous research activities, surgical interventions, cardiac catheterizations, electronic instrumentation, and patient care.
He was the co-author of numerous research papers, and many tasks he performed were previously only extended to the cardiology fellows. He was aware that his progress was being carefully monitored and that a new breed of health care professional was being considered at Duke. When the PA Program was founded, Dr. McIntosh suggested Nelson should be “grandfathered” as a PA, but Nelson elected to enter the program as a student. Nelson and Tom Dunn shared a seat in class, alternating days and rotations so one of them could be in the Cardiac Catheterization lab every day. After graduating he continued employment at Duke as the Supervisor of the Myocardial Infarction Research Unit Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, located on the Coronary Care Unit. In 1970, Nelson went to work for a classmate of Dr. Harvey Estes, Dr. Fred Ownby of Nashville, Tennessee.
He accepted a position at the VA hospital in Muskogee Okla., in March 1971, and worked there for the next thirty two years until retiring in 2003. During those years, he placed most of the temporary pacemakers, and performed a wide variety of other invasive procedures, practicing in the cardiology, oncology, and internal medicine. He received the Administrator’s Hands and Heart award in 1993. He also served as the Hospice director, Chairman of the Tumor Board, and as a member of both the Ethics and the Pharmacy and Therapeutics committees. He helped educate PA students and medical residents and received numerous awards from a variety of academic institutions. He was a Founding Member of the American Academy of Physicians Assistants, and chaired the organization’s first fundraising effort. He was an Inaugural Member of The American Registry of Physician Assistants and a Charter Member of the Oklahoma Academy of Physician Assistants (OAPA), and served on the OAPA board of directors. He was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants in 2010.