Birthplace of the PA Profession

The physician assistant (PA) profession originated at Duke in 1965. Dr. Eugene A. Stead Jr., then-chairman of the Department of Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine, believed that mid-level practitioners could increase consumer access to health services by extending the time and skills of the physician. He began a two-year curriculum to train people to fill a societal need for more medical practitioners, and expand the prior education and experience of ex-military corpsmen.

Read More PA History

Timeline: Birth of a Profession


Division and Department Affiliation

The Duke Physician Assistant Program is an educational program in the Division of PA Studies in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in the Duke University School of Medicine.  The department is composed of five interdependent divisions — Community Health, Family Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, PA Studies, and Student Health.

Duke Health

The Duke University School of Medicine sits squarely between Duke University and Duke Health. Duke Health encompasses the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, three hospitals, outpatient services, a primary care network, and more.