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Tinker recognizes National Physician Assistants Week


National Physician Assistants Week wraps up Oct. 12 at Tinker Air Force Base with fliers placed in the Medical Group clinic this week recognizing the profession and its overall contributions to the nation’s health.

72nd Medical Operations Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Randall Stevens, a practicing PA himself with 19 years of clinical experience, said National PA Week raises awareness and highlights the important medical work that PAs are providing at Tinker AFB.

“National PA Day was first celebrated on Oct. 6, 1987, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the first graduating class of PAs from the Duke University’s PA program,” Stevens said. “Oct. 6 is also the birthday of the profession’s founder, Dr. Eugene A. Stead Jr.

“PAs make a positive difference here at Tinker AFB. Because they have thousands of hours of medical training, they’re versatile and the 72nd Medical Group is stronger because of their dedication and expertise in providing and improving patient care.”

The American Academy of Physician Assistants, the national organization that advocates for all PAs, states on their website that “PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider.”

Stevens said that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 123,000 PAs working in the United States and the profession is expected to grow 37 percent between 2016 and 2036.

72nd MDOS 1st Lt. Luke A. Russell said PA Week was also captured by taking photos of PAs as they do their jobs at Tinker. These were then submitted to the American Academy of Physician Assistants for inclusion in their website collage.

“The PA profession is committed to improving access to quality care for all patients, including you and your loved ones,” Russell said. “The healthcare system can sometimes be complicated and frustrating, but through it all, you can be confident that whatever you need, your PA can handle it.”