New Research to Uncover the True Demand for PA Graduates

The recipients of PAEA’s first major, faculty-generated research initiative have been chosen. Christine Everett, PhD, MPH, PA-C, and Perri Morgan, PhD, PA-C, both from Duke University, received nearly $50,000 in funding for their proposal “A national and state level analysis of job openings for physician assistants.” Kristine Himmerick, MS, MPAS, PA-C, of Northern Arizona University and Patricia Dieter, MPA, PA-C, of Duke are named as co-principal investigators.

Both Everett and Morgan are well established in the research community. Everett’s work has been published in a variety of journals, and she was awarded PAEA’s 2014 Article of the Year Award. Morgan is the director of PA research at Duke and won PAEA’s 2010 Faculty Research Award.

The faculty-generated research initiative awards up to $50,000 for research that will answer a significant question related to PA education and/or the profession.

“The initiative supports established PA education researchers in a way that PAEA never has before,” said PAEA’s Chief Policy & Research Officer Tony Miller, MEd, PA-C.

PAEA’s Research Council managed the submission process — proposals were blinded and reviewed by a panel of experienced researchers.

Everett and Perri’s research question developed after continually encountering students who wanted to work in primary care but couldn’t find primary care jobs. Their project will tabulate, describe, and map job openings and PA job opening characteristics by state in 2014.

Part of the funds they receive from PAEA will pay for job opening data purchased from Burning Glass Technologies, a labor market analytics firm. Burning Glass has a patented technology that collects job information from more than 40,000 sources, including newspapers, employer websites, job boards, and government agencies.

Everett and Morgan’s findings, which should be publicly available in approximately one year, will help inform policies designed to attract PAs to primary care.

“PA educators have always relied on anecdotal information at best when sizing up the workforce their graduates will enter,” said Research Council Chair Richard Dehn, MPA, PA-C. “Dr. Morgan and Dr. Everett’s proposal will provide solid data that will inform us, with a degree of granularity not previously possible, of the current demand for PA graduates.”