The physician assistant profession was founded at Duke University and the first class of Duke PAs graduated in 1967. For 50 years, PA education at Duke has administratively resided within the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and its historical predecessor departments. The PA profession’s close association with primary care practice is due in no small part to Duke PA’s early and longstanding affiliation with the department.
As the PA profession became established at Duke, within the United States and internationally, the Division of PA Studies grew to include a formal PA Research Program to advance scholarship on the PA profession. The section supports research by Division of PA Studies faculty and promotes collaborative relationships with scholars in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, the university at large, the health services research and health policy fields, and the national and international PA communities.
With more alumni than any other PA program, graduates of the Duke PA program form a strong national network of resources; to accommodate the needs of Duke PA alumni, a separate Alumni Services Group was established. The latest addition to the Division is the Office for the Promotion of PA Practice, begun in 2019 with the aim of enhancing the professional identity and opportunities for all PAs at Duke.
Duke Physician Assistant Program
The Division of PA Studies is home to the first physician assistant (PA) training program in the nation — the Duke Physician Assistant Program. The Duke Physician Assistant Program’s mission is to educate caring, competent primary care physician assistants who practice evidence-based medicine, are leaders in the profession, dedicated to their communities, culturally sensitive, and devoted to positive transformation of the health care system.