Founding of the Association of Physician Assistant Programs and the Organization's Central Role in the Development of the Physician Assistant Profession
The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) (formerly Association of Physician Assistant Programs [APAP]) was founded in 1972 by early PA program leaders to encourage collaboration and discussion among program leaders and faculty on a wide range of issues of mutual concern. This article addresses the founding of the organization, which continues to represent PA programs today. It addresses the important accomplishments of APAP during the 1972–1974 period and describes in detail the essential contributions of APAP and its leaders in developing the PA profession. Included are discussions of “the Role of the Registry of Physicians' Associates,” which was incorporated into APAP; the sponsorship of “the First National Conference on New Health Practitioners” in collaboration with AAPA; the “Launching a Joint National Office” for APAP and AAPA in Washington, DC, in 1973; and “Places at the Table,” which reviews the successful efforts of APAP leaders to gain inclusion of AAPA and APAP in the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs for Assistants to the Primary Physician (JRC-PA) for accrediting qualified programs, the contribution of APAP leaders to the development of the first Certification Examination for the Assistant to the Primary Care Physician by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) in 1973, leadership in the founding of the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) in 1974, and collaboration with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in developing interdisciplinary education and training. It concludes with a summation of the legacy of APAP (PAEA's) formative years.