Physician Assistant Division Name Changes to Division of PA Studies; PA Initiatives, Programs Will Expand


Effective today, September 1, 2020, the name of the PA Division in the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health has changed to Division of PA Studies.

Division Chief Patricia McKelvey Dieter, MPA, PA-C, says this change more accurately reflects the expansion of programs and the variety of work done within the division.

“It also reflects the growth of the PA concept nationally, internationally, and within Duke Health, and it more accurately describes the role of the division in studying PA education, practice, and research,” Dieter says.

The Division of PA Studies encompasses the top-ranked Duke Physician Assistant Program, the PA Research Group, PA Alumni Services, and the new Office for the Promotion of PA Practice. For more than 50 years, the PA program has resided within the Department of Family Medicine & Community Health. At one time, the PA Program and PA Division were one entity; however, that has not been the case for over 20 years. In the 1990s and 2000s, the PA program grew exponentially in student enrollment and faculty numbers, alumni services grew as the alumni base grew, and PA research was incorporated into the division.

Dieter says the name change recognizes the differences between the PA program and division and also the relationship between them, as well as acknowledges the future of the division in enhancing faculty development and promotion, and developing new programs and projects such as fellowships and an international PA research center.

“This name change provides an opportunity to bring positive attention to PAs at Duke Health, and reinforces the Division of PA Studies’ commitment to educating caring, competent primary care PAs, to training leaders in the profession, and to enhancing the role of PAs at Duke Health and beyond,” Dieter says.