Making PA History at the White House

Apr 10, 2015

Maj. Saibatu Mansaray-Knight, U.S. Army, SP, PA-C, recently became the first medical officer to be selected as the Army military aide to the vice president of the United States.

“This prestigious position is usually held by a line officer, such as an infantry officer or pilot,” said James J. Jones, PhD, PA-C, deputy director and chief of protective medicine, White House Medical Unit (WHMU). “It’s not a medical role at all—which makes her appointment unique.”

The military aide ensures that the vice president is ready at a moment’s notice to assume the presidency if the president is unable to perform his duties. This can be because of the president’s death, resignation or temporary incapacitation, or if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet judge that the president is no longer able to discharge the duties of the presidency.

An Iraq veteran and graduate of the Interservice PA Program, Mansaray-Knight is no stranger to firsts. She is the first female Army PA assigned to the White House Medical Unit (WHMU), selected below the zone for Major, as well as the first female PA to serve as WHMU director of operations.

Part of the White House Military Office, the WHMU is responsible for the medical needs of the president, vice president and their families as well as White House staff and visitors. There are currently 15 PAs serving in the WHMU, more than at any other time in the PA profession’s history.