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Physician Assistants

History

Physician assistants are fairly recent additions to the health care profession. The occupation originated in the 1960s when many medical corpsmen received additional education enabling them to help physicians with various medical tasks. In 1967, Duke University’s physician assistant program graduated the first class of students who were formally known as physician assistants. Since then, the work of the physician assistant has grown and expanded; in addition, the number of physician assistants in the United States has greatly increased. Fewer than 100 PAs were practicing in 1970. The Physician Assistant History Center, a supporting organization of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, features a collection of physician assistant histories in various media (from print to photographs to videos) for those interested in the field.

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