The following article is part of The Clinical Advisor’s coverage from the 2018 American Academy of Physician Assistants’ annual meeting in New Orleans. Our staff will be reporting live on original research, case studies, and professional outreach and advocacy news from leading PAs in many specialty areas. Check back for ongoing updates from AAPA 2018. 

NEW ORLEANS — The American Academy of Physician Assistants’ (AAPA) House of Delegates has voted to investigate the feasibility of changing the physician assistant (PA) title, as well as collaborate on potential alternatives that better reflect modern PA practice, according to a news release presented at AAPA’s 2018 conference.

The resolution specifically requests that AAPA’s Board of Directors contract with the appropriate consulting or research firms to investigate state and federal, financial, political, and branding aspects of a potential name change, along with alternatives to the PA professional title.

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“PAs did not vote to change our professional title; we are simply going to explore alternatives that may better communicate our role to patients in today’s healthcare environment, as well as the practical implications of implementing a potential change,” said L. Gail Curtis, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, president and chair of AAPA’s Board of Directors.

Ms Curtis emphasized that debating the PA name change is an opportunity to consider if the current professional title accurately conveys to patients the PA role on the healthcare team. The exploration of a professional title change will involve gathering input from a variety of external stakeholder groups and is expected to take at least a year. A report will be presented to AAPA’s House of Delegates in May 2019.

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AAPA 2018 continues through Wednesday, May 23. Visit for more information.


PAs vote to investigate changing their professional title [press release]. American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). May 22, 2017. New Orleans.