AAPA Distinguished Fellows

Some PAs can’t help but stand out in their professional lives, whether through innovation in medical practice, serving their communities, or taking on leadership roles for their specialty and profession. In their diversity, they exemplify what it means to be role models, showing that what PAs can achieve is endless. As elite members of AAPA, Distinguished Fellows are the strong foundation that makes the successful future of the PA profession possible.

How to ApplyMeet the Honorees

Eligibility Requirements

  1. AAPA Membership Criteria
    • Current fellow member or retired fellow of AAPA in good standing.
    • Nine years of membership in the span of the 12 years prior to application.
  2. Graduation Criteria
    • Graduated from PA program 12 or more years ago
  3. Dedication to the ProfessionDistinguished Fellows must demonstrate outstanding dedication to the profession in at least three of the following areas:
    • Distinction in medical practice, education, research, or healthcare management
    • Leadership in medicine and healthcare
    • Professional involvement
    • Commitment to lifelong learning
    • Community service
  4. Commitment to Professional Volunteerism
    • Upon acceptance, Distinguished Fellows commit to contribute to AAPA and the PA profession by engaging heavily in professional volunteerism. Historically, Distinguished Fellows have set an example through their involvement with AAPA, continuing to provide leadership and talent to the organization as needed. Given the important role and influence DFs can make in the profession, in July 2021, AAPA leadership cemented this long-standing tradition as an ongoing expectation of Distinguished Fellows.
    • During the application process, prospective Distinguished Fellows are now asked which areas of professional volunteerism they are interested in, and upon acceptance, AAPA staff introduce and onboard Distinguished Fellows into these various areas of impact.
    • Current Distinguished Fellows are now asked to submit a form to AAPA staff to indicate their preferred areas of impact to continue their commitment toward the work of AAPA and the PA profession.
    • While not a requirement for maintaining your Distinguished Fellow status, AAPA encourages all Distinguished Fellows to continue their volunteer efforts to further the profession and ensure AAPA is armed with the expertise and resources needed to ensure success.



A certificate suitable for framing and display and an attractive lapel pin


Use of the designation “DF” or the professional designation, Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of PAs, after your name (e.g., DFAAPA), as long as your AAPA membership is active


Name and credentials featured on AAPA website


Acknowledgement at AAPA Conference and a personal invite to the Distinguished Fellow Reception at AAPA Conference in the spring

How To Apply

  1. Application

    1. To apply, complete the online application by logging in with your AAPA username and password.
    2. You must provide documentation for at least three (3) items in your application (i.e., certificates, articles published, letters, awards) as proof of your achievements.
  2. Administrative Fee

    1. Your application is not complete until you have submitted a $65 one-time, non-refundable application fee to AAPA. This payment is required when you submit your application.
  3. AAPA Review

    1. AAPA staff will review your application and may contact you if we have any questions.
  4. Distinguished Fellow Interview

    1. Following AAPA’s review of your application, if approved, you will be matched with an existing Distinguished Fellow for a brief introductory interview.
    2. Due to scheduling of the interview, the full application process may take up to two months from receipt of both the application and payment. We appreciate your patience as we consider your application for this distinction.
  5. Onboarding: Commitment to Professional Volunteerism

    1. Following acceptance, a newly inducted Distinguished Fellow is introduced to AAPA staff to incorporate them in volunteer areas of impact.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].


Resources for Distinguished Fellows

Employer Letter

Request that AAPA notify your employer about your new distinction by filling out this brief form.

News Release

Download our news release template to spread the news of your recognition further. Add your information where noted and submit the release to your local civic organizations, newspapers, and hospital or employer newsletters. For assistance with compiling a media list, please contact [email protected].

Commitment to Professional Volunteerism

Complete the Areas of Impact form to continue supporting the profession in coordination with AAPA. Select one or more areas of impact and our staff will reach out to connect and onboard you to this area.

Areas of Expertise

Complete the Areas of Expertise form and our staff will reach out when an opportunity comes up to see if there’s potential for us to collaborate. Distinguished Fellows offer a broad spectrum of valuable expertise that AAPA would like to highlight. When opportunities arise to showcase the experience, expertise, and value PAs bring to patients and the healthcare system, we want to turn to our Distinguished Fellows.