Leadership Blog

Title Change Update: PAEA President, Michel Statler, on PAEA’s Title Change Poll, Current Guidance, and the Association’s Stance

Michel Statler, MLA, PA-C

Immediate Past President (Leaving in 2023) Associate Professor UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dear PAEA Members,

As you know, the American Academy of PAs’ (AAPA) House of Delegates (HOD) passed a groundbreaking resolution affirming “physician associate” as the official title for the PA profession by a majority vote of 198 to 68 on May 24. The resolution was passed after years of discussion and research, two HOD meetings, and several days of deliberation. 

This historic decision comes with far-reaching implications, and as we have seen in the days following the announcement, the potential to be a polarizing topic in our profession. On June 3, PAEA sent a poll to all program directors to ask about their stance on the title change. We received a 54% response rate, and the results show that 58% of our members are in favor of the title change and 42% are not.

As your PA Education Association, our goal is and has always been to represent and support PA educators across the nation. As the results of this poll have shown, there is not a clear consensus among our members at this time regarding the title change.

At PAEA, we believe our responsibility is to support the members along with the profession. No matter the title, our community of PAs and PA educators are on the front lines, caring for patients and training the next generation of compassionate, competent providers. Supporting our members in the vital work of bringing “health for all” to communities across the nation remains our top priority. 

We know you have questions, and we will do our best to provide answers as action on the title change progresses. Our legislative team is working diligently with AAPA to gather information and provide updates on important conversations, key considerations for programs, and resources to help you through this transition.

Until legislative and regulatory changes are made, all PAs should refrain from referring to themselves as “physician associate.” Similarly, PA programs should retain their current names and degrees. At this time, PAEA will remain the “Physician Assistant Education Association,” pending input from our members during discussions at upcoming retreats and the Education Forum this fall. A formal resolution changing the name of the Association would require approval from our membership.

This complex transition will require thoughtful action. As your Association, we commit to walking alongside you through every stage of this process. 

If we can help or answer any questions at this time, please reach out to us at President@PAEAonline.org. We are always available to help.