Welcome to the AAPA House of Delegates

The Important Work of the HOD and Why it Should Matter to You

March 28, 2022

By Todd Pickard, MMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, FASCO

AAPA HOD MeetingAs Vice President and Speaker of the House of Delegates (HOD), I believe it is important for all AAPA members to understand the purpose of AAPA’s House of Delegates, to be informed about how it functions, and to feel welcomed in the HOD – the policy making arm of AAPA. As we prepare for the HOD Annual Meeting, May 20-22 in Indianapolis, Indiana, I will author a series of articles focused on explaining various aspects of the HOD. My hope is that each of you, as an engaged AAPA member, will be better informed and educated about the important work the HOD does on behalf of the PA profession.

The purpose of the HOD
“The HOD is responsible for enacting policies, establishing the collective values, philosophies, and principles of the PA profession.” This is the governance authority delegated to the House of Delegates by AAPA’s Articles of Incorporation. The HOD proposes, debates, and enacts policy on issues important to the profession and to the patients we serve. The overarching purpose is to provide guidance to PAs to best serve their patients, and to establish the profession’s positions on a breadth of public health issues including:

  • Clinical practice guidelines
  • Access to care
  • Workforce
  • Disaster response
  • Education
  • PA Regulation and Team practice
  • Recertification
  • Reimbursement
  • Health of the public

For example, AAPA policy states that: “AAPA encourages and supports the incorporation of health promotion and disease prevention into PA practice, through advocacy of healthy lifestyles, preventive medicine, and the promotion of healthy behaviors that will improve the management of chronic diseases to reduce the risk of illness, injury, and premature death. Preventive measures include the identification of risk factors, e.g., family history, substance abuse, and domestic violence; immunization against communicable diseases; and promotion of safety practices.” (HP-3300.1.3)

Who serves in the HOD?
The House of Delegates is comprised of AAPA members elected from numerous AAPA constituent organizations (COs) – state and federal service chapters, specialty organizations, and caucuses. Each specialty organization and caucus is allocated one delegate, while the number of delegates for each state and federal service chapter is determined by their total fellow membership within AAPA.

The HOD consists of apportioned, voting delegates from:

  • 58 chapters representing 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and five federal services;
  • Twenty-six officially recognized specialty organizations;
  • Eleven caucuses comprised of individuals sharing a common goal or interest related to healthcare access or delivery;
  • The Student Academy;
  • and 4 delegates at large – the current House officers and immediate-past speaker.

As a member of a chapter, specialty organization, or caucus, you have the opportunity to elect your delegates to the HOD. It is through these recognized delegations within the HOD that AAPA policy is submitted for consideration, debate and action.

It is important to note that, when the House of Delegates is exercising the authority granted it in AAPA’s Articles of Incorporation, the delegates are considered fiduciaries of AAPA and must act in the best interest of AAPA.

The HOD Meeting
The HOD convenes at AAPA’s annual conference in May. This meeting provides the opportunity for delegates to bring forward policy resolutions reflective of the needs of today’s healthcare environment; policy that will serve PAs and our patients and support our vision of transforming health through patient-centered, team-based medical practice. AAPA policy is viewed through the lens of the most current and pressing clinical needs that PAs are encountering daily and identifies emerging areas of practice so that PAs are positioned to treat their patients to the full extent of their education and training.

At the annual conference, the HOD meeting runs over three days. The first day includes reports and updates from AAPA and other PA leaders, followed by the first reference committee hearing. Day two includes more reference committee hearings, and the final day is reserved for additional testimony, amendments and voting.

Why you should be invested in the HOD
Though the HOD process may feel far removed from our everyday clinical practice, it is a crucial component of how the PA profession operates.

If you are invested in the future of the profession and how we move forward given the challenges we face, then you should keep a close eye on the HOD. Any PA or PA student attending AAPA 2022 can come to the HOD meeting to listen and provide testimony on resolutions during the reference committee hearings. You can also play a part by being more involved with your constituent organization and getting to know the delegates who represent you.

I would encourage anyone who cares about the advancement of the PA profession to attend the HOD meeting at AAPA 2022. We are always happy to see new faces showing up to make their voices heard!

Todd Pickard, MMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, FASCO, is the AAPA Vice President and Speaker of the House of Delegates.

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