India Physician Assistants


  • Anitha Chandrasekhar


India, Physician Assistant


The PA program in India took its birth in the year 1992 at a private, tertiary healthcare institute in Chennai, India. It was born out of the necessity to fulfil the vacancies due to the constant exodus of resident doctors in pursuit of higher education. This, along with the rising disease burden, led to the introduction of PAs in India to even out the imbalance in health care delivery. Inspired by the success of PA profession in the United States, Dr. K. M. Cherian, renowned cardiac surgeon, believed that a similar profession might mitigate the problem of the floating population of resident doctors. After his return from USA, Dr. Cherian introduced the PA concept in India by starting the PA program in Chennai in the year 1992 at the Institute of Cardiovascular disease as a Diploma program and the first PA graduated in 1994. Subsequently, a 2-yearMaster’s degree PA program was started. In 1996, an integrated 4-year undergraduate bachelor’s degree course was established. Soon PA profession proved to be a vital workforce in the institute. The physicians who were exposed to this concept spread the message to other health care institutes. PAs were found to be of immense use in whichever institute they worked. Anticipating the demand of this profession in health care arena, more institutions started the program in collaboration with reputed universities across the country. 

Author Biography

Anitha Chandrasekhar

Anitha Chandrasekhar graduated through the BITS-MMM Physician Assistant program, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, with specialization in cardiothoracic surgery. She has a rich experience of over 17 years in cardiac surgery being involved in adult, pediatric and neonatal cardiac surgical procedures spanning the entire spectrum of congenital, coronary, valvular surgeries, aortic surgeries, heart & lung transplants, assist device implantations as well as thoracic surgeries. Her special interests include congenital cardiac surgeries, valve repairs, ECMO, Redo-surgeries and cardiac transplantations. She is the first surgical PA in the country to be part of more than 100 donor heart harvesting.


She has presented many scientific papers in national and international cardiac surgical conferences and won awards. She is actively involved in cardiovascular research for development of organ care system. She is a faculty for many educational programs, PA conferences and cardiac surgical meets. She served as Senior Vice president of the Indian Association of Physician Assistants for 3 years and a Task force member of the National curriculum standardization of Physician Assistant education in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. She also serves as the first International Board member of the American Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiovascular surgery as well as a member of the editorial board and peer reviewer for their journal. She is a certified Cardiac Advanced Life Support provider and trainer and is one of the first faculty of the CALS-India program. She is also a faculty mentor of the International federation of Physician Assistant Comparable student’s association (IFPACS). 




How to Cite

Chandrasekhar, A. (2021). India Physician Assistants. Social Innovations Journal, 8. Retrieved from