Title Change

Title Change Vote

On May 24, 2021, after much debate and discussion, the AAPA House of Delegates (HOD) passed a resolution affirming “physician associate” as the official title of the PA profession by a majority vote of 198 to 68. For more information on the HOD and its responsibility regarding a title change, check out our FAQs.

Title Change Implementation

Title change implementation is a complex and intricately interwoven undertaking requiring a thoughtful and well-timed strategy involving a variety of stakeholders – not only other national PA organizations (PAEA, NCCPA, and ARC-PA), PA programs, and AAPA constituent organizations, but also state and federal governments, regulators, and employers. Given the complexity of title change implementation, until legislative and regulatory changes are made, we advise all PAs to refrain from referring to themselves as physician associates to their patients and in work settings. 

AAPA will begin the implementation phase of the title change and will update members and nonmembers as this process unfolds. The AAPA Board of Directors supports the will of the House of Delegates and has met with senior management to begin implementation of the HOD policy on title change. As the organization transitions to the implementation phase, AAPA will continue to provide its members high-quality resources, services, and support.

Updated FAQs

We know you have questions about this extremely complex issue. AAPA has updated the Title Change FAQs to address your questions and concerns about the new professional title. We will update this page regularly, so please bookmark it for easy access.

How Did We Get Here?

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…” To learn more about the Title Change Investigation study, including changes that will need to be made and estimated costs associated with those changes, AAPA members can access the November 2020 Physician Assistant Title Change Investigation Final Report to the AAPA House of Delegates.

Major Milestones

June

2021
  • AAPA Board of Directors meets to formally establish support for the will of the House of Delegates
  • AAPA Board of Directors meets with senior management to begin implementation of the HOD title change policy
  • AAPA begins the implementation of title change
  • AAPA informs various external stakeholders of title change

May

2021
  • AAPA HOD delegates, board members, representatives of PAEA, ARC-PA & NCCPA, and AAPA members debate and discuss proposed resolutions
  • AAPA HOD passes a resolution affirming physician associate as official title of profession
  • AAPA notifies members and nonmembers about title change

Jan – Nov

2020
  • WPP and AAPA meet with TCI Advisory Council
  • TCI final presentations delivered to AAPA House of Delegates and AAPA members
  • Identify financial implications related to title change and AAPA’s responsibilities related to the investigation