Celebrating 50 Years of the PA Program

Logo for PA50

The Duke Pathologists’ Assistant Program celebrated its 50th Anniversary and the founding of the profession with a two day celebration on Friday and Saturday, October 11 and 12, 2019.   The Pathologists’ Assistant Program at Duke was established in 1969 by Dr. Thomas Kinney, and was the first of its kind.

Approximately 50 attendees enjoyed 6 hours of Continuing Education on Friday in the Great Hall in the Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center for Health Education.  The excellent slate of speakers included Drs. Shannon McCall, Sara Jiang, Lani Clinton, Diana Cardona, John Carney, and Robin VollmerPA50-ContinEd_1777.jpg

Later in the evening, a Welcome Reception was held at the University Club which has been the traditional venue for the Pathologists’ Assistant Certificate Banquet for many years. Seventy guests enjoyed the panoramic views of Durham, Chapel Hill, Duke University and Duke Forest, as well as delicious food, and each other’s company.

On Saturday, alumni, friends and family participated in tours of the Duke Lemur Center, walking tours of the Medical Center, a bus tour of Duke and Durham, and walking (and eating!) tours of downtown Durham provided by Taste Carolina—Durham. PA50-byYvonne-Daniels-lemur.jpg

On Saturday evening a Banquet and Gala was held at the Washington Duke Inn Presidential Ballroom.  Following a cocktail reception, Dr. Jiaoti Huang, Pathology Department Distinguished Chair, welcomed the 145 guests, including 2 members of the first class, Coy Wagoner and Norm Gerard, and the current PA students.  Dr. Kenneth Broda, who was the associate director of the program from its inception until 1985, and interim program director from 2005-2008, provided the opening remarks.  PA50-by-Robin-Foss.jpg

The after-dinner speakers included Dr. Rex Bentley, current program director; Dr. David Howell, Pathology Department Senior Vice Chair; Mr. Gerald Phipps, class of 1976 and assistant associate program director from 1976-1979; Dr. Jim Lewis, class of 1975 and program director from 1994-2004; Ms. Heidi Cheek, class of 2010, distinguished alumna; and Dr. Robin Vollmer, who has been teaching surgical pathology at the VA to Duke Pathologists’ Assistant students since 1975.  Closing remarks were presented by Ms. Pamela Vollmer, class of 1978, assistant associate director from 1979-1984, and current associate program director.

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(Thanks to Tara Meade, Michelle Johnson, Yvonne Daniels, and Robin Foss for submitting photos to add to our collection)







The 1979 Pathologists' Assistant Program group.  For all the names, see the bottom photo!