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PA Doctorate Degree Resources

Since the U.S. Army and Baylor University announced in Nov. 2007 the first-ever PA-specific clinical doctorate degree program, ADVANCE for Physician Assistants has been the leading source for information about PA-specific doctorate degrees and their possible impact on the profession.

In reverse chronological order, here are ADVANCE's feature articles, columns, Webcasts and blog posts about PA doctorate degrees.

U.S. Army Pleased With PA Doctorate Programs News article (April 9, 2009)

Considering the Physician Assistant Entry-Level Doctorate Blog post (Oct. 13, 2008)

More PA Doctorates News article (Sept. 2008)

Perceptions of Doctorate Degrees and Physician Assistant Education Blog post (Aug. 13, 2008)

Cautious about Doctorates News article (Aug. 2008)

What's Missing in the Doctorate Debate? Webcast (July 29, 2008)

Perceptions of PA Doctorate Degrees Blog post (July 24, 2008)

PA Clinical Doctorate Program Graduation Blog post (July 23, 2008)

Is It Time to Rethink the AAPA HOD? Blog post (June 3, 2008)

PA Students Oppose Entry-Level PA Doctorates Blog post (June 3, 2008)

No PA Doctorate Debate? Blog post (May 25, 2008)

Is There a Doctorate at the House Column (May 2008)

Is There a Doctorate at the House? Webcast (April 22, 2008)

Predicting PA: What Comes Next? News article (April 2008)

Are PAs in Favor of the Clinical Doctorate? Blog post (Feb. 4, 2008)

PA Clinical Doctorate Degrees and the Army Blog post (Jan. 18, 2008)

AAPA News on the DScPA and PA Practice Ownership Blog post (Dec. 3, 2007)

More on the PA Doctorate Webcast (Nov. 21, 2007)

Paging Dr. PA Webcast (Nov. 8, 2007)

Taking PA Education to the Next Level News article (Nov. 2007)

The Doctorate Is In Column (Nov. 2007)

More on Clinical Doctorates Column (April 2007)

For PAs, Is the Doctoral In? Column (May 2005)

Doctorate Nurses and Credential Creep Column (Nov. 2004)


I read with dismay the article you published on the PA doctorate …

It as presented as a portraying two sided approach trying to pretend to answer the more common question.

Yet it definitely did NOT answer the main questions and in fact in my opinion distorted the issues.

First off it is a distortion to think that elevating PA-C to doctorate level will cure ANY problems…. This is the exact same argument that was made when the question of the Master was presented. Yet elevation to Masters has not solved ANY problems for the average PA. Instead in fact it has CREATED problems for the rank and file PA because now the title of MASTERS Prepared has become the defacto standard to compare (unfavorably) those older PAs that do not have a Masters degree.

Secondly adding and additional degree will definitely add costs and stove pipe PA’s into remaining only in 1 sub specialty. There is great debate now as to whether there should be specialty certification for PAs because of this question now. Adding the Doctorate Degree will dramatically INCREASE the need and costs of RE-training if a PA want to change fields.

Thirdly Imitating NP’s is not the answer to our worth. Nor is it focusing on letters behind our name. PAs have made their name and their worth based on both the relationship we have to our MD supervisors and mentors AND to the QUALITY of care we provide. While is common to promote the concept that higher degree means better care that is unfortunately not the case as many other factors intercede – not the least of them patient appointment times. And higher Costs of employing a Doctorate PA will only be offset by forcing us to see MORE patients in a day thus in fact decreasing the quality time we can provide.

Do I see a benefit of additional training in the PA program … yes that is an obvious statement but make it a fellowship without awarding letters and you will allow those PAs interested in improving their skills a pathway without damaging the rest of the PAs. Other than that support pathways to retrain to the MD level for those that wish to become doctors.

Bruce Miller PA-C

Bruce  Miller March 01, 2009
Sartell , MN

I think the PA profession should evaluate this question from the standpoint of how will patients affected by a looming shortage of primary care practitioners respond to the lack of independant, competant and doctorally trained primary care practitoners? Stop fooling yourselves, the AMA and Physicians are a politically motivated group concerned about running the health care industry as a "free market business" for which those at the top of the food chain command top dollar, top lifestyle and top respect. This is why so many FMG's and IMG's want to leave their countries and practice in the U.S. If PA's want to tie their survival, advancement and acceptance in the medical community based upon the opinion of MD's, good luck with that. DO's,(doctor of osteopathic medicine), were once in this second class position and have elevated themselves to the position of "Physician". Patients don't want to see an "assitant" anymore, they want to see a "Doctor". The great disconnect here is that we have an administrative AAPA who is clueless as to what happens at the clinical level. In my practice we have a podiatrist, psychiatrist, psychologist, an NP who is working on her DNP(Doctorate of Nursing Practice)and then there is the PA. One year from now my office staff will have all "Doctors" working here and one "assistant". Would you like to put yourself in the place of that one assitant? What is interesting to me is that the MPAS degree, with 1-2 year clinical residencies is already a more rigerous program than the DNP training program which doesn't have hospital based clinical training as part of its curriculum. PA's with certificates have spent more time in the hospital doing the 1 year clinical rotation and some having completed a 1-2 year residency than a DNP. Has the AAPA actually looked at the DNP training curriculum? Look up any DNP training program and then ask yourself where is the "beef" in the arguement against PA doctoral degrees. I was a PA, but got tired of glass cielings, ostrication at professional conferences and doing "urgent care". I now call the shots as a "Doctor" which has resulted in better patient care evidenced by the growth of my practice, something I could never accomplish from the position of an "assitant". PA's owe it to America to step in and take care of the tired, poor, actue and chronically ill primary care patients who for financial reasons are overlooked by a political organization concerned with preserving the "free market system" of health care in America. THINK ON THESE THINGS.
Colin Ross MD PhD MPH

Colin RossDecember 16, 2008

While I believe that having a PA specific PHD program but not as a entry level. Also I do not believe this will help our cause or case esp when PA's salaries are closing the gap with MDS. I believe a better cause would be for a name change if pt acceptance is the the real thought behind the concept. Also this would exclude students with limited time and funds.

darrell  shurney,  PA-C,  kaiserDecember 16, 2008
pasadena, CA


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