The Exchange

Commentary and Observations from
the Medical Front Lines

Happy PA Week!

Happy PA Week!

Physician Assistant (PA) week is celebrated every year from October 6th through 12th. The first PA program was started at Duke University in 1965. National PA Day was first celebrated on October 6, 1987, to honor the 20th anniversary of the first graduating class and is also the birthday of the program's founder, Eugene A. Stead, Jr., MD.

PAs are nationally certified and state-licensed medical professionals who practice on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. There are currently approximately 140,000 certified PAs in the country and more than 200 graduate PA programs. In 2019, there were 1422 certified PAs with a military status, and an additional 311 were living abroad. According to the most recent National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) report, the median age for PAs is 38, the majority are female (69.3%), and the majority also hold a master’s degree (77.2%). Currently, all PA programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc (ARC-PA) must culminate with a graduate degree, although there has been discussion of late to elevate the terminal degree to a doctorate.

At present, there are 260 ARC-PA accredited programs in the United States. Students who attend PA programs average 2000 clinical hours in family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, and psychiatry. The American Academy of PAs (AAPA) is the national professional society that represents PAs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, US territories, and the uniformed services. This year's theme for PA Week is "PAs are Essential" and the hashtags are "#PAweek or #PAsAreEssential" to share what you have been doing during this week and during the pandemic.

Thank you for all you do and be safe!

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Filed under: NPs & PAs

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