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American Academy of Physician Assistants

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is the national professional society for PAs in the United States. It represents approximately 123,000 certified PAs[1] across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, all U.S. territories and within the uniformed services.

American Academy of PAs
TypeProfessional Association
HeadquartersAlexandria, Va.
Official language
L. Gail Curtis, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA

AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of PAs and to enhance PAs’ ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare.[citation needed]



The American Association of PAs (later to become the American Academy of PAs) was established and incorporated in the state of North Carolina in 1968. The membership consisted of the first students and graduates (in 1967) of the Duke University PA program, the first such program.[2]

In 1973, the organization had 300 members and established joint national headquarters in Washington, D.C. with the Association of PA Programs (APAP), which is now the PA Education Association (PAEA).[3] The headquarters moved to Arlington, Va. in the late 1970s and then to Alexandria, Va. in 1988.


PAs who are graduates of PA educational programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the PA (ARC-PA) or one of its predecessor agencies are eligible for fellow membership in AAPA. Other membership categories include:

  • PA students and pre-PA students
  • Physicians
  • PAs who are no longer practicing but wish to support the profession
  • Related health professionals and service providers


Volunteer leaders (elected and appointed) and paid staff serve the profession from the national office headquarters in Alexandria, Va. and other U.S. locations.


There are two additional divisions of AAPA.

  • The Student Academy is dedicated entirely to students completing an accredited PA program.
  • The PA Foundation is the organization's philanthropic arm, fostering knowledge and philanthropy that enhance the delivery of quality healthcare.
  • The "Association of Family Practice PAs" is an organization that represents and advocates for PAs in Primary Care and Family Practice where the greatest need is in health care.


  • Advocacy and government affairs—AAPA’s advocacy staff lobbies policymakers and third-party payers at both the federal and state levels to support PAs’ ability to deliver quality healthcare with minimal barriers and practice to the level of their licensure.
  • Reimbursement and information—AAPA reimbursement staff work to ensure that insurance companies and other third-party payers cover PA-provided medical and surgical services.
  • Education and professional development—AAPA is a resource for continuing medical education and provides PAs with a vast number of CME resources such as its yearly Cleveland Clinic conference for PAs in clinical management and Conference. The professional affairs staff works with PAs on issues such as credentialing, privileging, the Joint Commission, liability insurance, contracts, compensation and benefits to secure professional standing and free PAs to focus on patient care.
  • Public awareness building—AAPA actively promotes PAs to patients, physicians and the general public through comprehensive marketing and communications campaigns.
  • Research—In partnership with PA-focused organizations, AAPA collects data on the profession and analyzes and publishes its findings. AAPA also produces original research that demonstrates the critical role PAs play in high-quality, accessible patient care. It produces an annual census and salary report.
  • Publications—AAPA delivers information for and about PAs through both print and online publications, including PA Professional and JAAPA (AAPA’s scholarly, peer-reviewed journal).[4]
  • Partnership with constituent organizations—Constituent organizations are independent organizations that AAPA officially charters or recognizes. These organizations are grouped into four categories and include chapters, specialty organizations, caucuses and special interest groups.[5]
  • Community outreach/public health—AAPA also works with foundations run by PAs and partners on public health initiatives and awareness campaigns.

Special eventsEdit

  • AAPA Conference: The world's largest PA educational and networking event.[citation needed]
  • Continuing medical education: AAPA conducts a number of CME activities across the country through regional and other educational events.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "What is a PA?". National Commission on Certification of PAs. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  2. ^ "1961 - to - 1970". PA History Association. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  3. ^ "History". PA Education Association. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Publications". AAPA. Archived from the original on 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  5. ^ "Organizations". AAPA. Archived from the original on 2013-04-05. Retrieved 2013-04-09.