I was very pleased to see the Yale Physician Associate Program featured in the Autumn 2009 issue of Yale Medicine [“Yale’s Physician Associate Program Nears 40”], and to read the history of how the program came to be and how it has successfully evolved since 1970. Several points deserve emphasis. While the Duke program preceded the founding of ours by five years, it focused heavily on returning U.S. military corpsmen, which was not the emphasis of the Yale program, even from the beginning. The Yale program drew its applicants from a broad spectrum of individuals who had health care experience and were committed to working in some aspect of primary care. Although the program was born out of the trauma program under the Department of Surgery chaired by Jack W. Cole, M.D., all students received generalist training across the medical landscape and were prepared to enter any field of medicine. From the beginning, the faculty and leadership of the entire Medical School were very supportive.
The program leadership, including Blair L. Sadler, J.D., Ann A. Bliss, R.N., and Paul Moson, PA-C, was committed to a program that was open equally to women and men. Although the first classes had more men than women, the applicant pool quickly evolved to the point that there were more women than men. Recent classes have more than 70 percent women, which corresponds to the national average. The white paper on the future of the physicians’ assistants, prepared for five national foundations by Sadler, Sadler, and Bliss in 1971, drew the blueprint for the evolution of the field and served as the basis of the first policy book on PAs that is still used in programs today, The Physician’s Assistant—Today and Tomorrow (Yale University Press, 1972). The Yale pa Program continues to provide national leadership through its faculty directed by Mary Warner, PA-C, and by its accomplished graduates, who now number more than 900.
Alfred M. Sadler Jr., M.D.
Founding Director, Yale PA Program