Frequently Asked Questions

Title Change Investigation

General FAQs

Why is AAPA undertaking a Title Change Investigation (TCI)?

At the May 2018 AAPA House of Delegates (HOD) meeting, a resolution passed requesting that the AAPA Board of Directors (BOD),contract with an appropriate independent consulting/research firm(s) to investigate state/federal, financial, political, branding aspects, and alternatives to the creation of a new professional title for physician assistants that accurately reflects AAPA professional practice policies…”

What is the goal of the TCI?

The overarching goal of this project is to position PAs to successfully compete in the ever-changing healthcare marketplace by boosting the profession’s relevance and impact among stakeholder groups, especially patients, now and in the future.

How did the AAPA Board of Directors (BOD) respond to the HOD’s resolution about the Title Change Investigation?

In July 2018, AAPA’s Board of Directors, based on a preliminary project plan developed by an external marketing expert, approved initial funding to support an independent investigation of the physician assistant title and potential alternatives.

Will the Title Change Investigation (TCI) result in changing the name of the PA profession?

We don’t know whether the TCI will result in changing the name of the PA profession. This decision will be made by the AAPA House of Delegates (HOD) at the conclusion of the investigation and will be informed by the work of an independent firm(s). This investigation will:

  • Explore whether the current professional title accurately conveys to patients the PA role on the healthcare team
  • Assess stakeholder perspectives on the profession’s current name
  • Establish what is the existing brand rationale for the profession
  • Measure the brand equity in the existing name
  • Develop and explore creative options for changing the name/title of the profession
  • Evaluate the business and legislative impacts/costs (both positive and negative) of changing the name

 

Does the TCI include the professional title for PAs and similar professions outside the U.S.?

As the American Academy of PAs, we represent PAs in the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories. The TCI has been approached from that perspective.

We have been collaborating with the International Association of Physician Associate Educators (IAPAE) as they have been investigating a title that represents the global PA community. The hope is that through this collaboration, we can agree on a title that works in the U.S. and throughout the world.

IAPAE recently conducted global research of approximately 2,000 PAs worldwide. IAPAE will share the results and its perspective of the global community’s stance on a title change, as well as any plans to initiate a new title.

WPP will consider this information as part of its naming initiative and will also share the validation research and potential titles with IAPAE for consideration.

Additionally, thought will be given to a title solution that is appropriate in both English and Spanish and fits not only the roles and responsibilities of PAs in the U.S. but also the needs of our nation’s diverse patient population.

How is AAPA ensuring that the investigation is independent and unbiased?

AAPA contracted with an expert firm(s) to deliver an extensively researched and wholly unbiased report in alignment with the HOD resolution. 

For more information about the TCI process and timeline, watch this video update from WPP.

Watch Here

How much will this project cost?

The total cost is yet to be determined but the AAPA Board of Directors (BOD) has designated an initial investment of up to $1 million.

Does the Title Change Investigation signify a move toward independent practice for PAs?

No, PAs remain deeply committed to team-based care with physicians and other providers.

What is the TCI Advisory Council?

The Advisory Council consists of 12 PAs who represent a broad range of clinical specialties from different geographic areas, and include individuals from PAEA, ARC-PA, and NCCPA. This group serves as a resource to the independent firms conducting the Title Change Investigation. The Advisory Council has the following responsibilities:

  1. To provide feedback to the independent firm(s) on the project goals and objectives;
  2. To serve as a knowledge base for developing the historical and future context and structural framework of the PA profession and the PA role in healthcare delivery;
  3. To act as a resource to the independent firm(s) for questions that require PA-specific knowledge or expertise;
  4. To act as a resource in identifying stakeholder groups and key individuals, or roles within groups, to include in the research, and facilitate introductions and meetings with various stakeholders; and
  5. To take on the role of champion for the project by encouraging stakeholder participation.
Who are the members of the TCI Advisory Council?

Members include:

Nichole Bateman, MPAS, PA-C, Oklahoma

John Burns, MMSc, PA-C, Georgia

Michael Doll, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Pennsylvania

Debi Gerbert, PA-C, DFAAPA, Florida

Grace Landel, PA-C, MEd, DFAAPA, California

Lyle Larson, PhD, PA-C, DFAAPA, Washington

Brooke McNamara, DMSc, PA-C, Virginia

Folusho Ogunfiditimi, DM, MPG, PA-C, DFAAPA, Michigan

Ben Olmedo, PA-C, California

Josanne Pagel, MPAS, PA-C, Karuna RMT, M.Div., DFAAPA, Ohio

Susan Salahshor, PhD, PA-C, DFAAPA, Florida

Shepard Stone, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, Connecticut

 

Who is WPP/Landor?

A world leader in providing fully-integrated health marketing, communications and research solutions, WPP was selected to conduct an independent Title Change Investigation (or TCI) to recommend the best marketing strategy and title for the PA profession. Landor, a WPP company, is a global leader in brand consulting and design that created brand-led growth for their clients. They have a specialized naming and verbal identity practice with years of experience naming across industries.

Who is Kantar?

Kantar is home to some of the world’s leading research, data and insights expertise. Collectively, our 30,000 employees offer the most complete view of consumers – the way they think, feel, shop, share, vote and view – in over a hundred countries worldwide. For the benefit of our clients, Kantar connects these specialists as well as providing access to the wider WPP group of companies and other partners.

What key questions is the TCI attempting to address?
  1. Is there a need to evolve the PA brand based on an objective, well-informed, data and analysis-driven view of where it stands today?
  2. And if so, how do we redefine how the PA profession is positioned, how its value is conveyed, and how it is titled to meet the requirements of tomorrow’s healthcare landscape?
How does WPP plan to address these key questions?

To tackle these complex problems, WPP designed a rigorous 5-step learning process.

  1. Discovery & Design: Setting the foundation for success and gaining stakeholder perspectives.
  2. Research & Analytics: Conducting the research that will underpin our strategy development and potential title evolution.
  3. Analysis & Insights: Strategizing around research learnings to inform a decision on potential title change and develop a strategic foundation for the PA brand.
  4. Title Development: Leveraging insights and strategy from previous phase to explore potential new title opportunities, if decided on.
  5. Validation & Implications: Fielding a quantitative survey to validate potential new title and consolidating work in a report for AAPA’s House of Delegates.
How is WPP collecting feedback from PAs and PA students?

As a part of this investigation, WPP has fielded an online survey link via email to member and nonmember PAs and PA students to explore the role of PAs in the healthcare system, the profession’s perceived value, and whether the title reflects the profession’s true role and responsibilities.

The survey closed on Tuesday, April 30.

A second survey to member and nonmember PAs and PA students deploys in November to gain feedback on potential professional title options.

FAQs About the PA/PA Student Survey (Closed April 30, 2019)

Why didn’t I receive the survey and how can I get it now?

  • The message may be in your spam/junk folder. Internet Service Providers and email companies establish spam filters to limit receipt of mass communications to their customers. The sender does not control recipient filters, nor is the sender notified when an email is marked as spam.
  • Please check your spam or junk folder for an email from “Kantar/WPP on behalf of AAPA” or email address “[email protected]
  • If you are unable to locate your survey, please contact AAPA’s Customer Care Team at 703-836-2272, Option 1 or email [email protected].

 

How do I make sure I receive future communications from WPP about the TCI survey?

To ensure that you receive future communications from Kantar/WPP about the TCI survey, please take the following steps:

  1. Adjust your list of “Safe Senders” to accept messages from [email protected]
    1. For guidance on resetting your spam filter, please see, How to Whitelist Emails –Ensure Proper Delivery (Note, these instructions are not explicit to all email platforms).
  2. If you experience technical difficulties or have other survey-related questions, please contact [email protected].
  • If you are unable to locate the message, please contact the AAPA Customer Care team Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM ET, at 703-836-2272, Option 1, or via email at [email protected]. They will provide assistance to ensure that you receive your personalized survey email from WPP.

 

How long will I have to complete the survey?

  • The survey will be accessible until Tuesday, April 30, at 9 a.m. EDT.
  • Weekly reminders will be sent to those who have not yet responded.
  • The survey may take up to 40 minutes to complete. You can stop and restart the survey at a later time/date without losing the information you have already entered.

 

Why didn’t the survey ask a question about which title PAs want?

  • The Title Change Investigation is a two-phase process. We invite you to watch the video on the TCI webpage for more details, and it is briefly summarized below.
    1. This survey is part of phase one; it is a branding survey. It is intent to help our independent research firm, WPP, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the PA brand, guide the development of messaging and branding that will support a stronger brand, and ensure that the title of our profession will build upon and strengthen the PA identity.
    2. If this process and other information requested in the HOD resolution indicates that a new name is warranted, then WPP will move to phase two. During that phase, specific names will be vetted by WPP and legal counsel, and PAs will have an opportunity to voice their opinions through a second survey.

 

Why are there so many questions that ask about NPs and physicians on the survey?

  • One purpose of this survey is to help the independent branding and marketing firm understand the strengths and weaknesses of the PA brand within the broader healthcare landscape, particularly with regard to NPs and physicians.
  • Understanding how the PA brand can be differentiated from the NP and physician brands is critical. It will help ensure that the PA title, messaging, and brand identity is as strong as possible.

 

Why is the survey so long?

  • It is common for in-depth research, like this PA branding survey, to require 45 minutes to an hour to complete. However, based on feedback from PAs and PA students following the preliminary launch of the survey, the survey’s programming logic was adjusted to reduce the overall time commitment required.
  • Considering the importance of this topic, the length and scope of the survey were balanced against the known preferences of PAs. And the survey was designed so that PAs do not have to spend 40 minutes in one sitting to complete it; you can stop anytime and return later, as long as you complete it within the allotted 4 weeks (until Tuesday, April 30 at 9 a.m. EDT).
  • We recognize that the survey includes a number of open-ended questions, which may lengthen the time required by some to complete the survey. WPP believes it is critical to hear directly from PAs, in their own words, rather than limiting your input to pre-defined choices.

 

Who came up with survey questions and how did they decide what to ask?

  • WPP gathered information using the following methods to identify themes and inform their development of the survey:
    1. Focus groups with PAs, including the TCI Advisory Council;
    2. Focus groups with patients; and
    3. Qualitative one-on-one interviews with PAs (clinically practicing and educators), PA students, MDs, NPs, think tank members, representatives of state medical boards, government agencies, and professional societies.

 

FAQs About the PA/PA Student Survey (Closed April 30, 2019)

FAQs

Why didn’t I receive the survey and how can I get it now?

  • The message may be in your spam/junk folder. Internet Service Providers and email companies establish spam filters to limit receipt of mass communications to their customers. The sender does not control recipient filters, nor is the sender notified when an email is marked as spam.
  • Please check your spam or junk folder for an email from “Kantar/WPP on behalf of AAPA” or email address “[email protected]
  • If you are unable to locate your survey, please contact AAPA’s Customer Care Team at 703-836-2272, Option 1 or email [email protected].

 

How do I make sure I receive future communications from WPP about the TCI survey?

To ensure that you receive future communications from Kantar/WPP about the TCI survey, please take the following steps:

  1. Adjust your list of “Safe Senders” to accept messages from [email protected]
    1. For guidance on resetting your spam filter, please see, How to Whitelist Emails –Ensure Proper Delivery (Note, these instructions are not explicit to all email platforms).
  2. If you experience technical difficulties or have other survey-related questions, please contact [email protected].
  • If you are unable to locate the message, please contact the AAPA Customer Care team Monday-Friday, 9AM-5PM ET, at 703-836-2272, Option 1, or via email at [email protected]. They will provide assistance to ensure that you receive your personalized survey email from WPP.

 

How long will I have to complete the survey?

  • The survey will be accessible until Tuesday, April 30, at 9 a.m. EDT.
  • Weekly reminders will be sent to those who have not yet responded.
  • The survey may take up to 40 minutes to complete. You can stop and restart the survey at a later time/date without losing the information you have already entered.

 

Why didn’t the survey ask a question about which title PAs want?

  • The Title Change Investigation is a two-phase process. We invite you to watch the video on the TCI webpage for more details, and it is briefly summarized below.
    1. This survey is part of phase one; it is a branding survey. It is intent to help our independent research firm, WPP, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the PA brand, guide the development of messaging and branding that will support a stronger brand, and ensure that the title of our profession will build upon and strengthen the PA identity.
    2. If this process and other information requested in the HOD resolution indicates that a new name is warranted, then WPP will move to phase two. During that phase, specific names will be vetted by WPP and legal counsel, and PAs will have an opportunity to voice their opinions through a second survey.

 

Why are there so many questions that ask about NPs and physicians on the survey?

  • One purpose of this survey is to help the independent branding and marketing firm understand the strengths and weaknesses of the PA brand within the broader healthcare landscape, particularly with regard to NPs and physicians.
  • Understanding how the PA brand can be differentiated from the NP and physician brands is critical. It will help ensure that the PA title, messaging, and brand identity is as strong as possible.

 

Why is the survey so long?

  • It is common for in-depth research, like this PA branding survey, to require 45 minutes to an hour to complete. However, based on feedback from PAs and PA students following the preliminary launch of the survey, the survey’s programming logic was adjusted to reduce the overall time commitment required.
  • Considering the importance of this topic, the length and scope of the survey were balanced against the known preferences of PAs. And the survey was designed so that PAs do not have to spend 40 minutes in one sitting to complete it; you can stop anytime and return later, as long as you complete it within the allotted 4 weeks (until Tuesday, April 30 at 9 a.m. EDT).
  • We recognize that the survey includes a number of open-ended questions, which may lengthen the time required by some to complete the survey. WPP believes it is critical to hear directly from PAs, in their own words, rather than limiting your input to pre-defined choices.

 

Who came up with survey questions and how did they decide what to ask?

  • WPP gathered information using the following methods to identify themes and inform their development of the survey:
    1. Focus groups with PAs, including the TCI Advisory Council;
    2. Focus groups with patients; and
    3. Qualitative one-on-one interviews with PAs (clinically practicing and educators), PA students, MDs, NPs, think tank members, representatives of state medical boards, government agencies, and professional societies.

 

FAQs About the PA/PA Student Survey (Closed December 9, 2019)

FAQs

How long will I have to complete the survey?

  • The survey will be accessible until Monday, December 9 at 9 a.m. EST.
  • Weekly reminders will be sent to those who have not yet responded.
  • The survey may take up to 20 minutes to complete. You can stop and restart the survey at a later time/date without losing the information you have already entered.

 

Who came up with the survey questions and how did they decide what to ask?

WPP developed the survey questions based on quantitative and qualitative findings from the previous phase of research that included PAs, PA students, patients, physicians, and employers, and extensive conversations with Landor.

 

Can I share the alternative title options mentioned in the survey?

Due to the sensitive nature of this research, we ask that you keep confidential the content of the survey, including alternative title options, and refrain from publishing this content electronically or otherwise.

 

Why are there only 4 alternative title options to choose from?

Informed by extensive qualitative and quantitative research, WPP/Landor developed more than 150 alternative title options. Since then, many options have been eliminated from consideration following state and federal legal and regulatory investigations, trademark and acronym reviews, and other rigorous research. Watch this video for an overview of the title vetting process used by WPP/Landor to arrive at the four options shared in the PA/PA student survey.

 

Why haven’t I received the survey yet?

Due to the large volume of recipients, the survey will be sent systematically over the course of four business days, concluding on Thursday, November 14.

 

How do I make sure I receive future communications from WPP about the TCI survey?

Go to your email platform and adjust your list of “Safe Senders” to accept messages from [email protected]

 

Who is WPP/Landor?
A world leader in providing fully-integrated health marketing, communications and research solutions, WPP was selected to conduct an independent Title Change Investigation (or TCI) to recommend the best marketing strategy and title for the PA profession. Landor, a WPP company, is a global leader in brand consulting and design that created brand-led growth for their clients. They have a specialized naming and verbal identity practice with years of experience naming across industries.

 

Who is Kantar?
Kantar is home to some of the world’s leading research, data and insights expertise. Collectively, our 30,000 employees offer the most complete view of consumers – the way they think, feel, shop, share, vote and view – in over a hundred countries worldwide. For the benefit of our clients, Kantar connects these specialists as well as providing access to the wider WPP group of companies and other partners.

Contact

[email protected]
703-836-2272

*The survey is part of the ongoing Title Change Investigation, which considers the impact of a potential title change on the profession. Submitting your personal feedback via the survey does not qualify as an official vote, whether as an AAPA member or a nonmember, either for or against any title options. Data gleaned from the PA/PA Student survey may be included in OR will help inform a final report to AAPA’s House of Delegates.