PAEA Doctoral Summit

Event Details


Mar 13-15, 2023

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Charlotte, NC

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The Doctoral Summit took place March 13-15, 2023, in Charlotte, NC. PAEA invited over 60 participants including industry leaders, clinicians, students, faculty, and stakeholders from other health professions to inform PAEA positional policy related to the entry-level PA doctoral degree. 

Recapping the Doctoral Summit

Planning the Doctoral Summit

To plan for the Doctoral Summit and investigate the current landscape, PAEA established a steering committee of leaders from multiple disciplines. Steering Committee members include representatives from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for Physician Assistants (ARC-PA), and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). In addition, PAEA partnered with the Center for Applied Research (CFAR) to manage and facilitate the Doctoral Summit.  

Before the Doctoral Summit, attendees reviewed an extensive briefing deck that supplied data related to the current state of the entry-level doctoral degree debate and suggested some areas for further consideration. This ensured that all attendees were prepared to engage in a thoughtful and nuanced discussion about the complex topic.  

At the Event

At the Doctoral Summit, participants were asked to test ideas about the future for PAs whether they had a master’s degree or a doctoral degree when entering the profession. Several of the exercises during the Summit involved asking participants to use posterboard to write down thoughts on a particular issue like how moving in a particular direction might have an effect over an extended period. To prevent the “echo chamber” effect, participants who had been part of a discussion looking at one facet were then asked to travel to a different group to hear what ideas had been generated from those with another perspective. 

The goal of the summit was to share information rather than to resolve the question of whether the profession should transition to a doctoral degree as the entry-level degree for PAs.  

Next Steps

Following the Doctoral Summit, the Steering Committee will prepare a summary of the gathered research and viewpoints and provide it to the PAEA Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will then consider the findings to inform future policy related to PA doctoral education that will be voted on by member programs at our annual business meeting in October 2023.  

Keep Reading

For more information about the doctoral degree question, including a full timeline of PAEA’s investigation into the issue and opportunities for PAEA members to provide input, visit our Entry-Level Doctoral Degree page.  

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