Letter to the Editor

Although a physician in a recent article said that no residency programs exist for NPs and PAs, postgraduate residencies and fellowships for PAs do exist and have for over 30 years.


PA training opportunities abound

In the article “When hiring midlevels, proceed with caution” (ACP Hospitalist, April 2009), a physician was quoted as saying that no residency programs exist for NPs and PAs. However, postgraduate residencies and fellowships for PAs do exist and have for over 30 years. The Association of Postgraduate Physician Assistant Programs (APPAP) was formed in 1988 to further specialty education for PAs. APPAP members work with the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Physician Assistant Education Association on mutual goals designed to expand the PA profession.

All member programs of APPAP are formal postgraduate PA programs that offer structured curricula, including didactic and clinical components, to educate National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants-eligible/certified PAs for a defined period of time (usually 12 months) in a medical or surgical specialty. APPAP member programs follow several models, including fellowships, master's degree programs and residency programs. All APPAP member programs must award a certificate or degree or provide graduate academic credit.

Currently, APPAP has 44 members in 20 surgical subspecialties and 24 medicine subspecialties, including two formalized hospital internal medicine fellowships: Mayo Clinic Hospital Arizona and Alderson-Broaddus College. Mayo Clinic Hospital Arizona is actively pursuing national accreditation by the Accreditation Review Committee for Physician Assistant Education (ARC-PA), which is the same accrediting body for entry-level PA programs. Three programs have been accredited by the ARC-PA, with many more expected in the upcoming year.

Additional information about APPAP is available on our Web site. With the reduction in physician and resident numbers, work restrictions on residents, and the increasing demand for skilled and specialized PAs, postgraduate residencies and fellowships for PAs are on the rise and continue to be an asset to hospitals across the nation.

Lisa Rotellini-Coltvet, president, APPAP
Phoenix