What is Project Access?
Project Access is an outreach recruitment program that aims to encourage high school students from underrepresented minority groups to consider the PA profession as a career. Our primary goal is to increase the number of minority PAs, provide more accessible primary care, and eliminate health disparities. We aim to help students become competitive candidates for PA programs by preparing them early in their education.
Did you just do a Project Access event in your city? Please share and provide feedback on your experience through this form!
Materials to Share with Students
- What is a PA? (Brochure in English)
- What is a PA? (Brochure in Spanish)
- What is a PA? video
- “America Needs PAs” overview brochure
- Resources from NCCPA
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Underrepresented Minorities?
Underrepresented minority groups in medicine (URMs), are those people who are underrepresented in medicine compared to their population in the United States — particularly African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.
Together, these groups make up nearly a quarter of the U.S. population today and are expected to make up a third of the population within 30 years — but only 7% of physicians and 12-13% of PAs are from one of these groups.
Individuals from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds are also disproportionately underrepresented in the medical profession.
How about other student groups? Shouldn’t they be encouraged to become PAs as well?
We would like a diverse profession and encourage children of all backgrounds to consider the PA profession as an option for them. We are trying to actively recruit from specific groups because they are so disproportionally represented in the PA profession, and the PA profession itself is less well known in medically underserved communities.
The short duration of the program (26 months average) and lower cost (<$70,000), also makes the profession more viable to people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Why do we need more minority PAs?
Our country is growing more diverse every day, and it’s becoming especially important for clinicians to provide culturally responsive health care. Although all clinicians aim for cultural competency, minority PAs and physicians are more likely to provide that care.
Minority Americans lag behind white Americans on nearly every health indicator, including health care coverage, life expectancy, and disease rates. Studies show minority PAs and physicians are more likely than white physicians to practice in medically underserved areas, and they are more likely to care for minority, poor, underinsured, and uninsured people.
What will I talk about? And How long will I need?
Our main goal is to help students understand that people of color can and do succeed in the PA profession. Bring in a few medical props from your practice and try to share your experiences about getting into a PA program and practicing medicine. You’ll need at least 20 minutes, but no more than an hour. Work together with the school and teachers to find a time frame that works best for them and their students.