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Physician Associate, no longer Physician Assistant

Hi, my name is Jackie the PA, except now, PA stands for Physician Associate rather than Physician Assistant. On Monday, May 24, 2021, the AAPA House of Delegates passed a resolution affirming Physician Associate as the official title for the PA profession by a vote of 198 to 68! The name change was a contentious topic, but the delegation overwhelmingly supported moving on from having “assistant” in our title.

I wasn't enthusiastic about the name change when it was first introduced, but I had to push aside my emotions. When Medical Care Practitioner (MCP) was introduced, I was like "meh." I was not at all interested. As we got closer to the hearings, MCP grew up on me. I wanted to go as far away from the physician assistant title as possible.

The time is now for a name change. Assistant is not descriptive of what we do. I cannot name the number of times I have received emails from job recruiters for medical assistants or certified nursing assistants. Over the past year and some change, I have learned how having “assistant” in our title has held us back with modernizing the PA profession.

Everyone will not be happy with the name change, but this is what we have right now. I do not need you to fall in love with the name, but support some type of forward progress in the profession. We have to rebrand, remarket, and ensure the public understands what PAs do. We PAs must work together to strengthen our presence. This is not the time to fight or become divisive.

We are better, stronger, and can accomplish more when we work together.

Please remember the AAPA HOD consists of other humans that are your colleagues. Before participating in social media or forum bashing of your colleagues, remember they are your colleagues, elected to these positions. Be kind. Be respectful.

The title change does not change the quality of care I provide, I am still a PA. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Jackie the PA

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