October 21 is Medical Assistants Day, a great time to explore this important, fast-growing career. Medical assistants provide clinical and administrative support for physicians and other medical professionals by running the front office, drawing blood, administering vaccinations, taking patients’ vital signs and more.
History of National Medical Assistants Day
Medical Assistants Day recognizes the contributions and important work of our nation’s over 190,000 medical assistants according to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). It’s hard to believe that there was a time when all the work that medical assistants do, both administratively and clinically, was not considered a credentialed profession. But in 2016, the AAMA celebrated 60 years of achievements in the groundbreaking field of medical assisting.
Using our “way back machine,” we find that in 1955, the Kansas Medical Assistants gathered to create a national organization to get official recognition as a fully-credentialed medical profession. The group settled on the name, American Association of Medical Assistants, with 78 representatives from 15 states chipping in $5 to start their memberships to help with educational support. But the biggest push for the fledgling organization came with the work of Maxine Williams.
Williams co-founded the AAMA and became its first president in 1956. She’s appreciated today as the powerhouse behind the organization. Williams believed that the entire health care industry would be greatly enhanced by the work of certified medical assistants. To help with this effort, in 1959 Williams donated $200 out of her own pocket to assist needy students who wanted to enter the field. That seed money has turned into the Maxine Williams Scholarship Fund, an annual scholarship that helps worthy students to this day.Medical Assistants Day is actually part of an entire week devoted to not only informing the public about the critical work that medical assistants do daily, but the day is also used to recruit interested people who want to know more about one of America’s fastest-growing medical professions. There are panel discussions on taking the exams, certification, internships and more. To get more information, log onto the AAMA website.