June 02, 2021


On May 24, 2021, the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA) announced that its House of Delegates passed a resolution to affirm their members’ official title change to ‘Physician Associate.’

On behalf of our physicians and physician-trainees, many of whom work closely with physician assistants providing team-based care, Physicians for Patient Protection strongly opposes the name change to “physician associate.”  

The word ‘associate’ indicates someone with similar credentials, collegial status, or on a partnership track with those with whom they are associated, and therefore is likely to mislead patients in a clinical setting. For example, in academic medicine, the term ‘associate’ may be used for a physician working as an associate professor of medicine. In clinical private practice, many groups have names that include the word ‘associates’ to refer to other physicians in the practice.

As advocates for truth and transparency among healthcare practitioners, we believe that this name change is likely to cause confusion among patients and may serve to further blur the lines between the role of physicians and allied health professionals.

Physicians for Patient Protection is an advocacy group composed of practicing and retired physicians, medical students, and resident/fellow physicians. Our mission is to promote physician-led care for all patients, and to advocate for truth and transparency regarding healthcare practitioners. Learn more at physiciansforpatientprotection.org.