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American Academy of Physician Assistants

American Academy of Physician Assistants
File:American Academy of Physician Assistants (logo).jpg
Formation Template:If empty
Type professional association
Headquarters Alexandria, Va.
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Official language
John McGinnity, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA
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Formerly called
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The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is the national professional society for physician assistants in the United States. It represents more than 95,000 certified PAs[1] across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, all U.S. territories and within the uniformed services.

AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants and to enhance PAs’ ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare.


The American Association of Physician Assistants (later to become the American Academy of Physician Assistants) was established and incorporated in the state of North Carolina in 1968. The membership consisted of the first students and graduates (in 1967) of the Duke University PA program, the first such program.[2]

In 1973, the organization had 300 members and established joint national headquarters in Washington, D.C. with the Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP), which is now the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).[3] The headquarters moved to Arlington, Va. in the late 1970s and then to Alexandria, Va. in 1988.


Physician assistants who are graduates of PA educational programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) or one of its predecessor agencies are eligible for fellow membership in AAPA. Other membership categories include:

  • PA students and pre-PA students
  • Physicians
  • PAs who are no longer practicing but wish to support the profession
  • Related health professionals and service providers


Volunteer leaders (elected and appointed) and paid staff serve the profession from the national office headquarters in Alexandria, Va. and other U.S. locations.


There are two additional divisions of AAPA.

  • The Student Academy is dedicated entirely to students completing an accredited PA program.
  • The Physician Assistant Foundation is the organization's philanthropic arm, fostering knowledge and philanthropy that enhance the delivery of quality healthcare.


  • Advocacy and government affairs—AAPA’s advocacy staff lobbies policymakers and third-party payers at both the federal and state levels to support PAs’ ability to deliver quality healthcare with minimal barriers and practice to the level of their licensure.
  • Reimbursement and information—AAPA reimbursement staff work to ensure that insurance companies and other third-party payers cover PA-provided medical and surgical services.
  • Education and professional development—AAPA is a resource for continuing medical education and provides PAs with a vast number of CME resources such as its yearly Cleveland Clinic conference for PAs in clinical management and its annual conference. The professional affairs staff works with PAs on issues such as credentialing, privileging, the Joint Commission, liability insurance, contracts, compensation and benefits to secure professional standing and free PAs to focus on patient care.
  • Public awareness building—AAPA actively promotes the value of PAs to patients, doctors, and the general public through comprehensive marketing and communications campaigns.
  • Research—In partnership with PA-focused organizations, AAPA collects data on the profession and analyzes and publishes its findings. AAPA also produces original research that demonstrates the critical role PAs play in high-quality, accessible patient care. It produces an annual census and salary report.
  • Publications—AAPA delivers information for and about PAs through both print and online publications, including PA Professional and JAAPA (AAPA’s scholarly, peer-reviewed journal).[4]
  • Partnership with constituent organizations—Constituent organizations are independent organizations that AAPA officially charters or recognizes. These organizations are grouped into four categories and include chapters, specialty organizations, caucuses and special interest groups.[5]
  • Community outreach/public health—AAPA also works with foundations run by PAs and partners on public health initiatives and awareness campaigns, such as the The Horse Rhythm Foundation, the Long Road Home Project and the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health.

Special events

  • AAPA’s Annual Physician Assistant Conferences: AAPA hosts a yearly educational and networking event where PAs connect with thousands of their colleagues, PA leaders, student PAs, other healthcare professionals and those who follow healthcare issues and trends.
  • National PA Week: Celebrated every year from October 6 to 12, National PA Week celebrates the profession, promotes public awareness of PAs’ role in patient care and salutes the PA workforce.
  • Continuing medical education: AAPA conducts a number of CME activities across the country through regional and other educational events.

External links


  1. ^ "What is a Physician Assistant?". National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "1961 - to - 1970". Physician Assistant History Association. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "History". Physician Assistant Education Association. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Publications". AAPA. 
  5. ^ "Organizations". AAPA.