2011 to Present

Into the Future

The Affordable Care Act doubles the projected need for PAs. PAs are seen as essential components of new health care delivery structures such as “accountable care organizations” and “medical homes.” Forbes and Money magazines rate the physician assistant Master’s degree as the most desirable advanced degree in terms of employment opportunity, income potential, and job satisfaction. NCCPA develops the concept of a “Certificate of Added Qualifications” to meet the need of PAs for a credential in a specialty. The Physician Assistant History Society affiliates with the NCCPA, and moves their office and archive to Johns Creek, GA. PAEA celebrates its 40th anniversary at their annual meeting in Seattle in November 2012. Most significantly, the NCCPA issues its 100,000th certificate. The number of accredited programs exceeds 170 with as many as 50 more currently seeking provisional status. The profession is healthy and growing.

2011

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) develops Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) programs that allow PAs to earn formal recognition of their specialty expertise - in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, emergency medicine, nephrology, orthopaedic surgery and psychiatry. The first CAQ examination is held nationally on September 12, 2011. Click here to read the press release.

The Society for the Preservation of Physician Assistant History (PA History Society) becomes a support organization to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). The Society transfers its archive, library and museum collection from the Duke University Medical Center (DUMC) and the Eugene A. Stead, Jr. Center for Physician Assistants, located in Durham, NC, to the Society's new headquarters at Johns Creek, GA, adjacent to the NCCPA and ARC-PA national offices. The archival function of the PA History Center is assumed by the Society.

Montefiore Medical Center celebrates the 40th anniversary of its surgical physician assistant residency program, the first of its kind in the United States. Since 1971, Montefiore has trained more than 375 surgical PAs.

The position of Chief PA for the Veterans Administration is approved, and Denni Woodmansee, PA-C, is chosen to fill this role.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants relocates its headquarters in Alexandria, VA, vacating the building that the organization constructed and owned since 1987.

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass from California is sworn into the 112th Congress, becoming the first PA to hold a seat in the United States House of Representatives.

The first cohorts of PAs graduated from the South African PA programs and are now working in rural district hospitals.

2012

The physician assistant master's degree, for the third consecutive year, is rated by both Forbes and Money magazines as the most desirable advanced degree in terms of employment opportunity, income potential, and job satisfaction.

The 40th AAPA Annual Conference is held outside of the United States in Toronto - in recognition of the growth of the PA profession in Canada.

NCCPA reaches a major milestone and certifies its 100,000th PA since its inception in 1975.

The Physician Assistant Education Association celebrates the 40th anniversary of its founding at the Annual Meeting in Seattle. Twenty-two of the past presidents of the Association are honored for their contribution. Read more about this event in the PAEA Networker and the History Society's Newsletter.

2013

Care from the Heart is published by BTW Publishing. It is the memoir of Thelma Ingles, the pioneering nurse educator who worked with Eugene A. Stead, Jr., in the 1950s at Duke University to create a program to train nurses in an expanded clinical role. While the program did not survive accreditation by the NLN, it served as the prototype for the physician assistant training program, developed by Stead in the next decade.

For the first time, Physician Assistants broke into the rank of the 10 most sought-after providers according to the Medicus Firm, a physician placement company. Medicus based its rankings on the hiring activities in more than 200 hospitals and group practices nationwide.

UK PAs agree to the name change Physician Associate.

Under the auspices of the New Zealand's Health Workforce New Zealand in the Ministry of Health sponsored a 2 year pilot in primary care (6 PAs) and rural emergency medicine (1 PA).

2014

PAs began transitioning to a new 10-year certification maintenance process, including new requirements for self-assessment and performance improvement (PI) CME — additions intended to expand the breadth of PA competencies encompassed by the certification maintenance process.

One of the largest healthcare systems to use PAs, the Veterans Health Administration (VA), updates its Utilization Guidelines for PAs. The updated guidelines enhance the use of PAs while continuing to embrace a patient-centered and team-based approach to practicing medicine. The directive establishes a new guideline that allows PAs, within defined limits, to exercise autonomous medical decision-making.

A report from the National Governors Association (NGA) highlights the important–and rapidly growing–role of physician assistants (PAs) in the U.S. healthcare workforce. The 15-page report, titled "The Role of Physician Assistants in Health Care Delivery," encourage Governors to take full advantage of the PA workforce in their states and to review the laws and regulations affecting the profession and consider actions to increase their state's future supply of PAs.

The United States responds to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa by sending 10,000 federal employees and government-sponsored workers, including 20 physician assistants from the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service (USPHS). The PAs are assigned to a special medical unit in Monrovia, Liberia to care for healthcare providers and responders who contract the Ebola virus while treating infected patients. Even so, fourteen Liberian PAs die treating Ebola patients over a two year span.

Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D., PA-C joined the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) as President/CEO, becoming the first PA to be serve as the Commission's chief staff officer. Of the four largest national PA organizations, two have PAs in their chief staff roles (NCCPA and ARC-PA), both located in Johns Creek, GA.

Following preliminary discussions which began in August 2014, the PA History Society signs a contract with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to develop a traveling exhibit consisting of six banners that highlight the professions flexibility, diversity, collaborative framework and community service, both nationally and internationally. Funded by a grant from NCCPA, the exhibit is to travel between NLM constituent libraries and affiliated organizations for five years beginning in 2017 when the PA Profession celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The first two Bulgarian PA programs were developed building on a long tradition of the historic utilization of Feldshers in their region. The four year bachelors degree programs are based on the American PA curriculum.

Dutch PAs host their First International Conference in Amsterdam.

United Kingdom Association of Physician Assistants (UKAPA) is restructured and integrated into the infrastructure of the Royal College of Physicians and renamed the Faculty of Physician Associates.

The New Zealand PA Academy endorsed the term "Physician Associate."

2015

The Physician Assistant History Society makes available to its Associates an Educational Toolkit on the History and Legacy of the Physician Assistant Profession to teach students their professional history. The toolkit contains five illustrated self-learning modules and an instructor's manual.

The Physician Assistant (PA) profession is a true healthcare innovation, according to an article published in the most recent edition (volume 24, issue 1) of the prestigious Annals of Health Law, The Health Policy and Law Review of Loyola University Chicago. The article is titled "Access Innovation in a Time of Rapid Change: Physician Assistant Scope of Practice," analyzes the evolution of the profession over its first half century, and looks at the various legal factors that contributed to the increasingly vital role PAs play in the delivery of healthcare.

AAPA's Advocacy Commission recently approved an update to AAPA's Model State Legislation for PAs (Model Law). The revisions were drafted by a diverse seven-member workgroup of PA volunteers over the course of several months. Generally, the updates modernize the language used to describe the profession and PA practice. Revisions include replacing the term "supervision" with "collaboration."

Maj. Saibatu Mansaray-Knight, U.S. Army, SP, PA-C, becomes the first medical officer to be selected as the Army military aide to the vice president of the United States. Until her appointment, the position was usually held by a line officer, such as infantry officer or pilot. The military aide's role is to ensure that the vice president is ready at a moment's notice to assume the presidency. She is the first female PA to be assigned to the White House Medical Unit (WHMU). This brings the total of PAs serving in the WHMU to 15, more than at any other time in the PA profession's history.

US News & World Report Highlights Demand for PAs "As America's population ages, PAs will increasingly be needed to treat the kinds of chronic ailments that come with an older population, like diabetes and heart disease." U.S. News & World Report reports on the care PAs provide, and how PAs are graduating to a healthy job market.

An article titled "Paging PAs as Affordable Care Act Fuels Demand" notes an unprecedented demand for physician assistants as insurance payment and the Affordable Care Act encourage a team-based approach to managing the care of patient populations. Forbes states that PAs are the fifth-highest placed medical provider of 2014, according to The Medicus Firm, a national physician recruiter. (Physicians had previously been the only medical provider making the firm's top 10 list.)

David Keahey, PA-C, MSPH, a clinical associate professor at the University of Utah's Physician Assistant Program (UPAP), becomes only the second PA selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow, and the first since William Stanhope, AAPA's first president, was chosen in 1978. Beginning in September, he spends a year in Washington, D.C., being oriented and working in a congressional office on Capitol Hill on health policy issues.

The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) relocates its offices in Alexandra, VA into the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) headquarters building in downtown Washington, D.C. The move provides increased opportunities for collaboration and opens a new chapter for PAEA members to share educational resources and experiences with other medical educators.

The PAHx launches a Historian's Toolkit to help its Associates preserve and make available their own institutional history. It is designed to help PAHx Associates identify, gather, organize and maintain materials that document the history of their programs according to archival standards and to make these records available to their constituents and to the general public.

The Duke University Physician Assistant Program celebrates its 50th Anniversary commemorating the enrollment of four former military corpsmen in a 2-year academic program created by Dr. Eugene A. Stead, Jr. to train physician assistants. The first International Conference on PAs in India, sponsored by Indian Association of Physician Assistants (IAPA) brings international PA leaders to participate, speak and learn more about the Indian PA movement. The first volume of a new PA journal for India titled PAGE (Physician Assistants Generate Excellence) is published in conjunction with the conference.

US Public Service sends 20 US PAs to Ebola to provide treatment for Liberian health workers (including PAs ) infected with the Ebola virus.

The Australian Society of Physician Assistants endorsed the term "Physician Associate."

2016

The first Irish PA training program based in Dublin and awarding a 24-month Master of Science in Physician Associate Studies degree, is launched at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

First Annual Summit for PA Educators held in Worchester, UK to support the professional development and networking needs of new PA program leaders and faculty.