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May 11, 1970

The Training of Physician Assistants: Status and Issues

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Allied Health Manpower, Educational Program Development Branch (Dr. Kadish), in cooperation with the Division of Physician Manpower, Professional Activities Branch (Dr. Long), Bureau of Health Professions Education and Manpower Training, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Long is now director of health service, NIH.

JAMA. 1970;212(6):1047-1051. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170190063010

The idea of having assistants for the physician is not new. The concept of the division of responsibilities and the stratification of functions among the various types of health professionals has been endorsed for many decades— in some instances, for centuries. Today heightened interest and concern about health and medical care in the nation are forcing a reexamination of interpretations of this concept by the medical community and the public. It is too early to seek a consensus about the descriptions and roles of such personnel in the United States. However, there is an identifiable interest in both the medical and the nonmedical sectors of US society. The goal is to develop means to make adequate health care available to more people. One consideration is the rational delegation of the physician's traditional functions to nonphysicians in the delivery of health care. If some of the physician's responsibilities and duties are