What Every Potential Candidate Needs to Know Before Application Launch

AAPA encourages all of its members to explore the opportunities for leadership, and to learn more about and participate in the election process. The decision to run for office can be both exciting and daunting. The following FAQs are designed to help potential candidates determine if they want to run for office or – if they have already decided – help them understand what they need to be thinking about between now and when the application becomes available on March 2, 2020. The list is in no way exhaustive of all you will need to know during the election process, but it does include the commonly asked questions AAPA receives prior to the election cycle’s official launch in March.

When can I start campaigning?

This is far and away our most asked question! Prospective candidates are not limited in discussing their plans to run for office. Thus, prospective candidates may make their intentions known and begin campaigning at any time. There is no policy restricting prospective candidates from campaigning at any time. You are not required to wait until the Nominating Work Group announces its slate of candidates.

However, prospective candidates are cautioned that those who campaign prior to the release of the official slate of candidates do so at their own risk. AAPA is not responsible if the applicant fails to meet eligibility requirements found in the Bylaws, submits an incomplete application, or is not endorsed by the Nominating Work Group and decides not to self-declare.

What positions are open for election this year?

It is currently anticipated that the following positions will be up for election in 2020. It is possible that additional positions may become available if any current leaders opt to not complete their current term. The final list will be available on March 2, 2020.

Board of Director General Election
  • President-elect
  • Secretary-Treasurer
  • Directors-at-Large (2)
House of Delegates Election of House Officers
(House officers are also members of the Board of Directors)
  • Speaker of the House / AAPA Vice President
  • First Vice Speaker / AAPA Director
  • Second Vice Speaker / AAPA Director
House of Delegates Election of Nominating Work Group Nominating Work Group Members (2)
Student Academy Board Elections
  • President-elect
  • Director of Student Communications
  • Director of Outreach
  • Chief Delegate
  • Northeast Regional Director
  • Southeast Regional Director
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Director
  • North Central Regional Director
  • South Central Regional Director
  • West Regional Director
  • PA Foundation Student Representative
What are the eligibility requirements for running for office? Who determines that criteria?

The AAPA Bylaws (which must be approved by the House of Delegates and the Board of Directors) and policies outline the criteria for running for elected AAPA office.

Eligibility Requirements to Run in the Board of Directors General Election and House Officers Election (Bylaws Article XIII, Section 3)

  • A candidate must be a fellow member of AAPA.
  • A candidate must be a member of an AAPA Chapter.
  • A candidate must have been an AAPA fellow member and/or student member for the last three years.
  • A candidate must have accumulated at least three distinct years of experience in the past five years in at least two of the following major areas of professional involvement. This experience requirement will be waived for currently sitting AAPA Board members who choose to run for a subsequent term of office.
    • An AAPA or constituent organization officer, board member, committee, council, commission, work group, task force chair.
    • A delegate to AAPA’s House of Delegates or a representative to the Student Academy of AAPA’s Assembly of Representatives.
    • A board member, trustee, or committee chair of the Student Academy of AAPA, PA Foundation, Physician Assistant History Society, AAPA’s Political Action Committee, Physician Assistant Education Association or National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
    • AAPA Board appointee.
  • A candidate for House Officer must have been a seated delegate for a minimum of two years in the past five years.

Eligibility Requirements to run for the Nominating Work Group (Article XI, Section 3) Nominating Work Group members may not run for any of the positions they are evaluating for the upcoming election. Additionally:

  • A candidate must be a fellow member of AAPA.
  • A candidate must have been an AAPA fellow member and/or student member for the last three years.
  • A candidate must have accumulated at least three distinct years of recognized leadership experience in the past five years through service to AAPA; an AAPA constituent organization; an AAPA affiliated organization; and/or a healthcare related professional or community organization. Examples include, but are not limited to: service in AAPA’s House of Delegates; the PA Foundation; PAEA; a local hospice support organization; a hospital board.
    • Recognized leadership experience must be earned in, at least, two major areas of professional involvement.
    • Recognized leadership experience includes a board member or organization officer; an elected or appointed representative; or a chair of a commission, committee, work group or task force.
    • Any calendar year or Academy year in which the candidate served in more than one area of professional involvement shall be counted as one distinct year of experience.
  • With the exception of the Board-appointed members, a Nominating Work Group member cannot hold any other elected office or commission or work group position in AAPA during the time of service on the Nominating Work Group.

Eligibility to run for the Student Academy Board of Directors (Student Academy Policy SA-L-

  • Eligibility to hold office is limited to members in good standing of the AAPA. Each candidate for an elected leadership position of the Student Academy must be a student of an accredited or provisionally accredited PA program at the time of election.
What should I consider when deciding if running for office is right for me?

This is a good time to start thinking about what being a candidate – and possibly an elected leader – entails and how it will impact your daily routine. Some things to consider now are:

  • Why do you want to run? Examine your motivations and the impact you wish to have.
  • Is now a good time to run? Consider what else is on your plate right now. How does this fit into your other commitments or career planning?
  • What is your vision for the AAPA and/or the profession and what do you think is the best way to get there? Spend some time thinking about your platform and how to convey your vision in various situations and mediums.
  • Do you have the time to commit to this role? Consider what other commitments you have and how they may be impacted. Evaluate how others will be impacted by your decision and talk to them about their expectations. For example, how does your family feel about the time commitment you will need to make? What about work or school? Consider that you may need to be away from work or class as a result of your duties.
  • Do you understand the responsibilities of the job? Have you reviewed the NWG-identified Core Competencies and Skill Sets? (See the the time commitment and NWG endorsement questions below for more information.)
What is the time commitment to run for office? To serve in office?

A well-planned and thoughtful campaign takes a good amount of time: you’ll need to fill out paperwork, collect documents, and craft and package your message. You’ll also have the chance to participate in opportunities to showcase your attributes as a candidate which will likely require preparation.

To serve in office requires a great deal of time and energy, sometimes on a daily basis. Elected leaders are all required to keep pace with the flow of information over email, attend routine evening conference calls, and (with the exception of Nominating Work Group) attend in-person meetings several times a year. Those interested in serving as President-elect should reflect on the three-year commitment required to transition from President-elect, to President, to Immediate Past President as well as the extensive travel often required of the President.

It is highly recommended that anyone considering running for office closely review the duties of the position they are interested in.

For more information, see:

What is the Nominating Work Group endorsement?

The Nominating Work Group (NWG) is tasked with developing a list of skills, capabilities, or other characteristics that support a diverse and high-performing Board of Directors. All candidates for Board positions (in both the General Election and House Officers Election) have the option of seeking an endorsement from the NWG or self-declaring. The NWG endorsement process includes a review of the candidate’s application materials and a recorded telephone interview. Once all candidate interviews are complete, the NWG will endorse a slate of candidates who they believe best meet the current needs of the Board of Directors and AAPA based on the identified competencies and skill sets. An NWG endorsement is listed on the election ballot. Candidates who are not endorsed will have the option to run as a self-declared candidate and remain on the ballot.


What do I need to be thinking about to prepare for the application process?

Candidate applications will be available on March 2. All candidates must declare/apply in advance. There are three applications:

  • Board of Directors General Election and the House Officers Election Application – All candidates who will ultimately serve on the AAPA Board of Directors complete the same two-part application process. The two-step application process includes:
  1. A form application containing the applicant’s general information, qualifying leadership experiences, video platform statement, references, and any supporting materials.
  2. Upon completion of the form, and once the applicant’s qualifications have been confirmed, the applicant will receive a Word document containing a series of short-answer application questions.
  • Student Academy Application – this is a one-step process consisting of general information, video platform statement, photo, and a signed form from your program.  All candidates must declare/apply in advance.
  • Nominating Work Group Application – this is a one-step process consisting of general information, qualifying leadership experience, platform statement, photo, and CV.  Candidates are encouraged to declare in advance, but may also declare from the floor of the HOD.

The Board of Directors General Election / House Officers Election Application can take some time to complete. AAPA will issue detailed candidate guidelines on March 2. While applicants will need to read these guidelines before finalizing a campaign strategy and submitting their application, there are many things prospective applicants can do now to start preparing for the application process.

  • Consider if you will self-declare or seek an endorsement from the Nominating Work Group (this will include an interview by the NWG).
  • Start crafting your platform and the messages you want to convey to voters.  Each candidate will have an opportunity to submit a brief  written summary introducing themselves as a candidate, as well as a video platform statement as part of their application.
  • Identify what previous experiences meet the criteria of the position you are running for. Check your records to make sure you have correct dates, what positions you held, etc.
  • Find or take a good quality, color photograph (JPEG File) in a professional or neutral setting. This does not have to be a professional head-shot, but please no vacation photos.
  • Develop a list of potential colleagues who may be able to write a letter of reference. The application will require three references.
  • Dust off and update your CV.
  • Begin thinking about if/how you will use social media/web in your campaign. AAPA will feature up to three social media sites or a candidate website on your AAPA candidate page.
  • Check your calendar if you are pursuing an NWG endorsement. The application will ask about your general availability in early April for your interview.
Will video platform statements be a part of the 2020 application process?

Yes. All Board of Directors General Election candidates, House Officer Candidates and Student Academy candidates will be required to submit a video platform statement as part of their applications. This year, AAPA will be relaxing the guidelines around this element, including issuing new technical guidelines designed to make this process easy for candidates to capture the video on their phone or other device, and removing the need for a written transcript. Look for the details on March 2.

Why are there so many rules around the election? What are they?

How an organization elects its board is critical to the integrity of the organization, the trust in its leaders and the ideals they promote, and the value provided to its members. Elections are guided by AAPA’s Bylaws and policies, which every elected leader is obligated to uphold. Furthermore, AAPA’s election procedures are designed to encourage broader member engagement for both candidates and voters, to support transparency of our processes, and to support consistency in procedures for all elected positions.

Each year, the AAPA issues a document outlining the procedures and guidelines for candidates. This document provides details on the the application process, expectations for candidates, communication and campaigning guidelines, and more. This document will be available when the application opens on March 2, 2020.

Questions? Please send an email to [email protected].