HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 6, 2015 – The High Point University Department of Physician Assistant Studies had a historic moment today when High Point Mayor Bill Bencini declared the week of Oct. 6-12 as Physician Assistant Week in the city of High Point.
This week is recognized nationally as Physician Assistant Week, and specifically, Oct. 6 has been made National Physician Assistant Day in recognition of physician assistant health care providers that are playing a vital role in strengthening the health care system and increasing access to high quality, cost-effective patient care.
“High Point is served well the more bright and young professional people we have here in our city,” said Mayor Bill Bencini while signing the proclamation. “Thank you for being here in High Point.”
The Physician Assistant profession was commenced in 1967 after the first class of PA students graduated. The profession was founded by Dr. Eugene Stead.
“Dr. Stead realized there was a shortfall for primary physicians across the nation,” said HPU PA student Murphey Houston. “He decided to create a new position that would help offset that need.”
“To have our inaugural class of PA students remember the nation’s inaugural class 48 years ago today is something very special,” said Dr. Linda Sekhon, founding chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. “When this class graduates in 2017, we will be celebrating our 50th year in existence as a profession. I can’t think of anything better than celebrating PA day right here in High Point with Mayor Bencini.”
HPU’s PA program commenced in June with 20 students who competed with 800 other applicants. Fifty-five percent of HPU’s clinical sites for PA students are within five miles of campus, while 80 percent of clinical sites are within 20 miles. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 38 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for most occupations.
HPU has broken ground on an $88 million building to house the Congdon School of Health Sciences and the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy. Physician Assistant Studies is the first of three new programs that will be housed in the complex. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, prestigious faculty and newly designed curriculum, the schools will create a cornerstone for medical innovation at HPU.