• AAFP Concerned with Direction to Change Physician Assistants’ Professional Title

    Tuesday, August 17, 2021

    The American Academy of Family Physicians opposes efforts to change the professional title of ‘physician assistant’ (PAs) to ‘physician associate.’ Nonphysician clinicians are critical parts of physician-led care teams. To receive the best care possible, patients must be clear on who within the care team is treating them.

    We support the contributions of PAs and other nonphysician clinicians as part of a physician-led team, which ensures that professionals with complete medical education and training are appropriately involved in medical decisions. However, a professional title change is likely to lead patients to mistakenly conclude that PAs practice at a similar level to physicians.

    The AAFP encourages health professionals to work together as multidisciplinary, integrated teams in the best interest of patients. Patients deserve access to high-quality medical care provided by physicians leading clinical care teams, working collaboratively with nonphysician clinicians within the team to provide the best possible care.


    About American Academy of Family Physicians
    Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 127,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the specialty of family medicine and the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, visit www.aafp.org. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.