ACC Recognizes PA Title Change to Physician Associate 

We are thrilled to share the official writeup for Physician Associates in ACC’s Cardiology Magazine, with comment from our APAC President Viet Le, PA-C FACC FAHA.

Following endorsement by the ACC’s Cardiovascular Team Section PA Work Group and Membership Committee, the ACC Board of Trustees recently approved use of the “Physician Associate” designation in future college communications regarding PAs. The decision follows last year’s passage of a resolution affirming Physician Associate as the official title of the PA profession by the American Academy of PAs House of Delegates.

The decision to move to Physician Associate better characterizes the education and medical responsibilities of PAs. In the contemporary health care landscape, PAs work alongside physicians to diagnose, treat, and care for patients in a diverse range of settings, from primary care through acute and critical care, in a wide variety of specialties, and with all age groups. PA educational programs entail full-time, intensive medical education for an average of 26 months, the equivalent of three academic years compressed into two calendar years. Over 80% of PAs hold a master’s or doctoral degree, according to a 2020 report.

In a letter to their ACC colleagues in September 2021, Disty Pearson, PA-C, AACC, and Viet Le, MPAS, PA-C, FACC, co-chairs of the PA Work Group wrote: “We believe the new title more distinctly articulates the historic role and responsibilities of PAs in delivering quality health care. AAPA has kept ‘physician’ in our title to demonstrate the value we place on our longstanding relationship with our physician colleagues and our historic roots within the medical community. … Although our title has changed, our mission as PAs has not. We affirm our commitment to provide optimal health care to patients, their families, and the communities they live in through patient-centered team-based medical practice.”

The PA community within ACC appreciates the College’s support of PAs as valued members of the cardiovascular team.

-This article was authored by Sherrie R. Webb, PA-C