AAPA Responds to National Medical Organizations

AAPA shared the following letter regarding the PA title change with several national medical organizations this week.

June 4, 2021

We are writing to inform you that AAPA’s House of Delegates recently passed a policy affirming physician associate as the official title for the PA profession. We believe that this title more distinctly articulates the role and responsibilities of PAs in continuing to deliver quality healthcare, while reaffirming our commitment to team-based patient care. We kept “physician” in our title to demonstrate the value we place on our longstanding relationship with our physician colleagues and our historic roots within the physician community. As you know, the PA profession was created in response to the primary care physician shortage of the mid-1960s. It was Dr. Eugene A. Stead of the Duke University Medical Center who established the first PA program and recruited the first class of PAs from the Navy Hospital Corpsmen who had received considerable training during their military service.

We respect our relationship with your organization and the healthcare team members you represent, and we believe that our common interest – to best serve the needs of patients – unites us and presents collaborative opportunities to strengthen the fabric of America’s healthcare system. There has never been a greater need for access to quality healthcare for all Americans, and it is up to us – together – to heed the call to service.

While our title has changed, our mission has not — to transform health through patient-centered, team-based medical practice. We look forward to our continued work together.


Beth R. Smolko, DMSc, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA
President and Chair, Board of Directors

William T. Reynolds, Jr., MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Vice President and Speaker of the House

Lisa M. Gables, CPA
Chief Executive Officer


If you have additional questions, please visit our title change FAQs or contact [email protected].

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