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Have You Hugged a PA Today? VSI Celebrates National Physician Assistants Week

National Physician Assistants (PA) Week is observed each year from October 6-12. The week serves to celebrate the significant impact PAs have made and continue to make in health care, to expand awareness of the profession and to salute the outstanding growth of the PA profession. The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) seeks to promote quality, cost-effective, accessible health care, and to promote the professional and personal development of PAs.

The PAs at the Virginia Spine Institute are exceptional! Our team of seven, and soon to be nine, are as solid as they come. They come to us from all over the Mid-Atlantic region (Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Virginia… and soon we’ll welcome our newest PA from California).  Regardless of where they come from VSI has a group of professionals who provide our patients with the highest quality patient care. They not only treat patients in the clinic, but also provide our surgeons with invaluable assistance in the operating room. They work tirelessly; rounding on patients at the hospital early in the morning (most of us are still sleeping) and assisting in surgeries that can run late into the night. I commend them on their work ethic and the professionalism they bring to our organization. I am proud to say that I work with such a group!

Thanks to the PA team at VSI for your hard work and dedication. We appreciate all that you do! Thanks to the American Academy of Physician Assistants for featuring our team in their PA Week 2011 album on facebook — view by clicking here.

We always honor and respect the tremendous contributions of PAs like the team at the Virginia Spine Institute, but especially so during PA Week,” says AAPA President Robert Wooten, PA-C. “PAs across the country do an extraordinary job of making a difference in the lives of countless patients every day. This week in particular, we want to spread the word that PAs are integral to transforming patient care in America.”

To meet Virginia Spine Institute’s PA team click here.

What is a PA? 
A physician assistant (PA) is a health care professional trained and licensed to practice medicine with limited supervision by a physician.  A physician assistant is concerned with preventing, maintaining, and treating human illness and injury by providing a broad range of health care services that are traditionally performed by a physician.  Physician assistants conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions.  The PA profession was first proposed when Dr. Charles L. Hudson recommended to the AMA in 1961 the “creation of two new groups of assistants to doctors from nonmedical and non-nursing personnel.”  Dr. Eugene A. Stead, Jr. of the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina assembled the first class of Physician Assistants in 1965, composed of former U.S. Navy hospital corpsmen.  He based the curriculum of the PA program in part on his first-hand knowledge of the fast-track training of medical doctors during World War II. Two other physicians, Dr. Richard Smith at the University of Washington, and Dr. Hu Myers at Alderson-Broaddus College, also launched their own programs in the mid and late 1960s.  It was not until 1970 that the AMA passed a resolution to develop educational guidelines and certification procedures for PAs.  The Duke University Medical Center Archives has established the Physician Assistant History Center, dedicated to the study, preservation, and presentation of the history of the PA profession.

About the American Academy of Physician Assistants: 
Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of over 81,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories, and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered health care.

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