2024 AAPA House of Delegates Meeting Addresses Key Issues in PA Education 

At their annual meeting earlier this month, the AAPA House of Delegates (HOD) addressed a number of resolutions impacting PA education including proposals encouraging practicing PAs to enter academia, recommending institutions provide faculty with the resources necessary to participate in scholarly work, and advocating on behalf of PA graduates entering the maternal care workforce. As official observers, PAEA leadership participated to provide the Association’s perspective on issues impacting programs, faculty, and students. 

PAEA President Nicole Burwell, PhD, MSHS, PA-C, spoke about the Association’s work over the past year to advance key strategic priorities. She discussed PAEA’s examination of a possible transition to an entry-level doctoral degree for the profession and the membership’s fall vote to reaffirm the master’s degree as the entry-level and terminal-level degree for the profession. Burwell further shared with HOD members that PAEA is expanding its events offerings to include regional education meeting and continuing its advocacy work with a particular focus on clinical site development and equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts in higher education. 

Following reports by external stakeholders, the House accepted testimony from delegates and official observers on proposed resolutions submitted in advance by HOD members. During the proceedings, PAEA leadership testified in support of a number of resolutions. Following extensive deliberation, several that PAEA supported were adopted by the House. 

Beyond proposals that PAEA supported, the HOD also tabled or rejected other proposals that would have significantly impacted PA education. For example, PAEA testified in opposition to a resolution that would have recommended that the ARC-PA withhold accreditation from programs that require applicants to adhere to certain mission-aligned beliefs, such as religious institutions.

PAEA also provided testimony on a resolution seeking to establish the Doctor of Medical Science as the standard PA-specific, post-professional doctoral degree, emphasizing the need to ensure professional inclusion for graduates of other types of doctoral programs. At the conclusion of debate, the HOD voted to indefinitely table both resolutions. 

PAEA staff would like to thank President Burwell, President Elect Dipu Patel, DMSc, MPAS, PA-C, and Immediate Past President Linda Sekhon, DHSc, PA-C, as well as PAEA CEO Sara Fletcher, PhD, for representing members during the 2024 AAPA HOD meeting. Members with questions on the HOD are invited to contact Tyler Smith at