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Physician Assistant Department Celebrates National PA Week

November 5, 2014

Students, faculty, and staff from the Drexel Physician Assistant Department celebrated National Physician Assistant Week with community service, education, and awareness efforts during the week of October 6-12, starting with sponsoring a National PA Week message on top of the PECO Building. Drexel’s Physician Assistant Department also held local blood pressure screenings, delivered casseroles to St. John’s Hospice and Homeless Shelter, and educated patients at the hospice about diabetes.

The PA profession was created in 1965 at Duke Medical Center by Eugene Stead, MD. The first physician assistants graduated from Duke University on October 6, 1967. There are now more than 100,000 clinically practicing PAs, and National Physician Assistant Week was created by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) to celebrate and recognize the importance and skills of being a PA.

The Physician Assistant Program at the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions is one of the oldest and largest PA programs in the country. Established in 1971 at the Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital, the program has a long history of innovation in primary care education for physician assistants and a mission to improve healthcare in rural and urban underserved communities. The Program has graduated thousands of physician assistants over the years, many of whom practice in primary care settings as well as in medical and surgical disciplines and sub-disciplines. About a quarter of the Drexel Physician Assistant Program’s graduates practice in underserved communities across the United States and abroad. 

by Helen Nowotnik '14