On May 24, the AAPA House of Delegates (HOD) passed a resolution affirming “physician associate” as the official title for the PA profession. The vote followed several hours of deliberation by HOD members and several years of study by an international marketing and communications firm.

TAPA surveyed its members prior to the AAPA House of Delegates meeting on the issue of title change. About two-thirds of respondents favored a title change. A slim majority favored the “physician associate” title, with the other respondents either preferring to keep the title “physician assistant” or preferring to adopt the term “medical care practitioner”.

Moving forward, the TAPA Board of Directors will determine what changes need to be made to state laws and regulations in order to allow PAs to use this new term. Because Tennessee licensing laws define the profession name to be “physician assistant”, it is not appropriate for PAs to call themselves “physician associates” until legislative and regulatory changes are made to incorporate the new title.

TAPA members are encouraged to reach out to TAPA leadership and share their thoughts and opinions about this issue. There is a lot of work to be done ahead of us – with incorporating the new title and pushing for adoption of OTP in our state – and we will need each and every Tennessee PA working together with the Academy to achieve our goals.