Eugene A. Stead Jr.

Founder, Duke University Physician Assistant Program

1928C 1932M 1968H

Eugene A. Stead Jr.The United States boasts more than 140 accredited programs (including one at Emory) to train physician assistants -- the health care professionals who conduct physicals, prescribe medications, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and provide clinical care.

Eugene A. Stead Jr. established the first. He chaired Emory's Department of Medicine for four years before moving to the Duke University Medical Center, where in 1965 he realized that trained people who lacked a complete medical education still could perform many clinical services and valuable assistance to overworked doctors. They became physician assistants; more than 75,000 are now employed in the U.S.