2024 Publishing Award Recipient Examines Impact of PA Practice Environment on Wages

Ryan White is an Assistant Professor at the Rutgers University PA Program

May 16, 2024

By Clare Moorman-Wolfe

Ryan D. White, PhD, PA-C

Ryan D. White, PhD, PA-C, is the recipient of the 2024 AAPA Publishing Award as the lead author of “Examining the Influence of Physician Assistant/Associate Scope of Practice Reforms and Individual Characteristics on Wages,” published in Medical Care Research and Review.

The Publishing Award is granted to a PA who published, during the prior calendar year, a new clinical or research article expressing original and/or scientifically rigorous ideas substantiated by best practices and contributing to the advancement of the PA profession.

White sought to investigate the influence of demographic characteristics, human capital, and scope of practice reforms on PA wages. His research was inspired by AAPA’s six key elements of PA practice, sparking an interest in the connection between PA practice environment and wages earned.

Through an analysis of data collected by the American Community Survey, the study concluded that PA wages are closely tied to demographic characteristics, specifically race and gender, and not to scope of practice reforms. The research showed female PAs earn lower wages than male PAs by 7.5% and white PAs earn 9.1% to 14.5% higher wages than racial and ethnic minority PAs. Findings showed a minimal influence of prior scope of practice reforms on PA wages, likely in part due to supervisory ratios and hospital policies.

“While PAs in states with more permissive practice environments earn higher wages than those in states with restrictive practice laws, scope of practice reforms do not appear to influence this variation. Rather, PA wages appear responsive to human capital and demographic characteristics,” White writes.

Ryan White is an Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Site Development and Practice at Rutgers University’s PA Program. As an educator, White emphasizes the benefit of collaboration within the profession and focuses on developing new educational and practice models to train the next generation of PAs.

“As a PA educator, it is very fulfilling to witness the culmination of PA students’ journeys toward becoming skilled, humanistic, and empathetic healthcare providers,” White says. “I am very fortunate to play a part in training the next generation of PAs while contributing to research on the healthcare workforce.”

After briefly pursuing a career in biologic research, White realized what he sought wouldn’t be found in a laboratory. His career as a PA has enabled him to engage directly with patients and contribute to building healthier communities. Through his research, mentorship at the Rutgers PA Program,  and caring for patients, White continues improving the healthcare landscape.

Alongside teaching, White is advancing research on the healthcare workforce and emphasizes the importance of increasing access to timely, integrated, team-based care to foster healthier communities.

“The PA research community is an amazing network of smart, supportive, and thoughtful colleagues,” he says. “I owe a debt of gratitude to so many for their collaboration, mentorship, and encouragement. Receiving this award is a humbling experience.”

Clare Moorman-Wolfe is AAPA’s Media Relations Coordinator. She can be reached at [email protected].

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