Get Ready to Thank Your PA!

The celebration of national PA Week will begin next Saturday, Oct. 6, and while physician assistants are an invaluable part of the health care team every week, we will pause to recognize their contributions during that week. Watch the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) social media feeds, website and your email for more on this.

In anticipation of PA Week, we reached out to one of our most active NCMS PA members, Lisa Shock, DrPH(c), MHS, PA-C, and NCMS Foundation Board President to reflect on what PA Week means to her. Below are her thoughts.


October 2018 – PA Week Reflections by Lisa Shock, DrPH(c), MHS, PA-C

The original PA day was October 6. That was Dr. Eugene Stead’s birthday. As the former Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, he was internationally recognized as a clinical scientist, educator and administrator, but his greatest legacy is founding the PA profession.  I recall fondly being a Duke PA student and having a big party every year at the PA program to celebrate. I am eternally grateful that I got to meet our founding father.

Although we have transitioned to a “PA Week” to mirror other colleagues across the nation, the original PA day is always special to me as it causes me to reflect on my own life and career.  I was mentored as a young student by James W. “Lanny” Parker, Past President of NCAPA.  He impressed upon me the value of professional service and encouraged me to be active beyond my clinical practice.  He insisted I become a NCMS member as a student – and I have continued uninterrupted ever since.  He died in June of 2004, leaving behind a legacy of service to NCAPA and to his profession.  He served as President of the Academy in 2002 and held a seat on the Board of Directors prior to that time.  He served on many Academy committees and was devoted to advocacy for PAs.

I had the honor and pleasure of working with Lanny in the original rural family practice he practiced in for more than 20 years. He was my “big brother” PA and it is because of him that I became involved in legislative and advocacy efforts.  He inspired me to work for our profession and serve at the state and national level.

When I used to precept students, I often reminded them that we are the direct result and product of our experiences.  We can learn the pathophysiology of medicine, but it is the exposure to clinical care that illuminates and teaches us human compassion and resiliency.

In the aftermath of Florence, we have an opportunity to directly support our physician and PA colleagues across NC by donating to the NCMSF Disaster Relief Fund.  This fund was recently created by the NCMS Foundation Board of Trustees to offer added support and help so our colleagues can get back to the practice of medicine in their community.

As we celebrate PA week this year, please consider a donation to the NCMSF Disaster Relief Program in honor or memory of a great PA that is or was part of your team.  A direct quote from Dr. Stead’s book, Just Say for Me, says it best:  “The practicing physician must never forget that his primary and traditional objectives are humanitarian: the control and prevention of disease, relief of suffering whether of mind or body.”    Thank you very much.



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