Dear PAs and PA Students,
On May 24, the AAPA House of Delegates (HOD) passed – by a majority vote of 198 to 68 – a historic resolution affirming “physician associate” as the official title of the PA profession. As the gavel lowered to close the four day meeting, the resolution became AAPA policy! The vote followed several days of deliberation by HOD members and was informed by robust and rigorous research by international marketing and communications firm WPP/Landor and AAPA’s external legal counsel Foley & Lardner LLP.
The AAPA Board of Directors will now consider pathways to implementation, including a major branding campaign to educate patients and other stakeholders on the new title. Both AAPA members and nonmembers will be updated regularly as this implementation unfolds.
Title change implementation is a complex and intricately interwoven undertaking requiring a thoughtful and well-timed strategy involving a variety of stakeholders – not only other national PA organizations (PAEA, NCCPA, and ARC-PA), PA programs, and AAPA constituent organizations, but also state and federal governments, regulators, and employers. Given the complexity of title change implementation, until legislative and regulatory changes are made, we advise all PAs to refrain from referring to themselves as physician associates to their patients and in work settings.
We know you have questions about this extremely complex issue. AAPA has updated the Title Change FAQs to address your questions and concerns about the new professional title. We will update this page regularly and plan to share more details in the coming months.
To learn more about the Title Change Investigation study, including changes that will need to be made and estimated costs associated with those changes, AAPA members can access the November 2020 Physician Assistant Title Change Investigation Final Report to the AAPA House of Delegates.
As the organization transitions to the implementation phase of a title change, AAPA will continue to provide its members high-quality resources, services, and support.
Thank you for all you do for your patients and for the PA profession. We welcome your feedback on the title change at TCIInfo@aapa.org.
Beth R. Smolko, DMSc, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA
AAPA President and Chair of the Board
William T. Reynolds, Jr., MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA
AAPA Vice President and Speaker of the House
Lisa M. Gables, CPA
AAPA Chief Executive Officer
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