Title Change Investigation

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 was the goal of the TCI?

The overarching goal of this project was 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.

What key questions was 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 did WPP 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.
What was the process and conclusion of the TCI?

Please refer to the November 2020 Final Report to the AAPA House of Delegates, which includes input from WPP, the firm hired to conduct the investigation (to include Kantar, Kantar Research, and Landor); AAPA, the national professional organization; and Foley & Lardner LLP, AAPA’s external legal counsel.

TCI Advisory Council

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.