Eugene Anson Stead Jr. (October 6, 1908 in Atlanta, Georgia – June 12, 2005) is best known as a medical educator, researcher, and the founder of the physician assistant (PA) profession. He served on the faculty at Harvard, Emory (where he received a Bachelor of Science and MD degree), and Duke universities. His research in the 1940s paved the way for cardiac catheterization in medicine today.
National PA day is celebrated in many places on October 6th to commemorate the day the first class of PAs graduated from Duke University in 1967 (it also happens to be Dr. Stead's birthday).
In 1967, he graduated the first class of Physician Assistant students from Duke University's PA program. He interned at the Internal Medicine and Surgery at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and also at Cincinnati General Hospital and Boston City Hospital. His educational philosophy placed emphasis on knowing how to look up information for "just in time" delivery rather than memorizing volumes of information only to forget it before needed. The niche that he envisioned for PAs was that most health care encounters do not require extensive training and that superior medical care can be delivered by relieving the burden of mundane medical encounters by training PA professionals to know when to seek additional input. He wanted all PAs to be required to have mentoring relationships with Physicians to ensure access to a larger body of medical knowledge.
Dr. Stead had high hopes for distance education in medical education. He believed and talked regularly about the "politics of medical education" and believed that distance education could replace the first two years of medical school. After studying at home and passing national boards, he believed that medicine could be taught in the clinics and offices of private practices. While he worked and helped build the medical education institutions, he had some disdain for the way they practiced and acted as gatekeepers to the medical profession.
- Chair Dept. of Medicine, Emory University (1942-46)
- Dean of the School of Medicine, Emory University (1945-46)
- Chair Dept. Of Medicine, Duke University (1947-1967)
- Eugene A. Stead, Jr. Thoughts, Insights and Learning - Emphasizes Eugene Stead, Jr.'s medical achievements
- Eugene A. Stead Papers at Duke University Medical Center Archives
- Physician Assistant Program at Duke University: History
- American Academy of Physician Assistants
- Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)
- https://web.archive.org/web/20060926160931/http://www.pahx.org/archives_detail.asp?ID=149 - Contains digital photos of letters written by Eugene A. Stead Jr.
- Hollingsworth, William Hollingsworth (1994). Taking Care: The Legacy of Soma Weiss, Eugene Stead and Paul Beeson. Chapel Hill, NC: Professional Press. ISBN 1-57087-038-1; 331 pages
- In Boston, Eugene Stead and Paul Beeson (b. 1908) both trained under Soma Weiss. Atkins, Elisha (4 May 1995). "Review of Taking Care: The legacy of Soma Weiss, Eugene Stead, and Paul Beeson by William Hollingsworth". N Engl J Med. 332: 1242–1243. doi:10.1056/NEJM199505043321821.