APPAP History

At the American Academy of Physician Assistants Convention in Los Angeles in May 1988 a group of postgraduate PA programs met to formalize a national postgraduate PA program organization. Bylaws were written and approved by the eight founding programs and the Association of Postgraduate Physician Assistant Programs (APPAP) was formed to further specialty education for PA’s.

Since that meeting, APPAP has gained the support of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). APPAP members work with AAPA and PAEA on mutual goals designed to expand the PA profession.

Purpose and Goals

APPAP’s bylaws broadly define the educational, professional, and informational purposes of APPAP:

  • To assist in the development and organization of postgraduate educational curricula and programs for PA’s.
  • To assist in defining the role of the physician assistant-especially in the specialties.
  • To assist in the development of evaluation methodologies for postgraduate educational curricula and programs.
  • To serve as an information center for PA’s, programs training PA’s at the entry level, other medical and health care disciplines and to the public with respect to postgraduate educational curricula and programs for PA’s.

APPAP’s business meetings are open to all PA students, educators, administrators, and health professionals interested in postgraduate PA education.

APPAP Member Programs

All member programs of APPAP are formal postgraduate PA programs that offer structured curricula, including didactic and clinical components, to educate NCCPA eligible/certified PA’s for a defined period of time (usually 12 months) in a medical specialty.

APPAP member programs follow several models including fellowships, Masters Degree programs, and residency programs. All APPAP member programs must award a certificate or degree or provide graduate academic credit.

Career Planning

Employment opportunities and roles for PA’s are rapidly expanding to include a high proportion of specialty areas. The PAEA Annual Report reports the following distribution of PA’s by specialty as: Family/General Medicine (36%); General Surgery & Surgical Subspecialities (20%); Internal Medicine & IM Subspecialties (17%); Emergency Medicine (10%); Pediatrics (4%); Ob/Gyn (3%); and Other (10%). The PAEA Annual Report also reports the distribution of PAs’ by work setting as follows: Hospital (37%); Group Practice (27%); Ambulatory Care (11%); Solo MD Practice (10%); Other Settings (10%); and HMO/Managed Care (4%).

Because of this diversity and specialization, formal postgraduate training is assuming a greater importance as an adjunct to PA primary care education. Postgraduate curriculums are designed to build upon the knowledge and experience acquired in PA school enabling the PA to competently assume a role as physician assistant on a specialty health care team. Many postgraduate programs have pioneered the role of the PA in these specialty areas and offer experienced role models as well as formalized instruction.

Information about postgraduate PA educational opportunities is made available to students and graduate PA’s interested in the medical specialties in this directory. Applications and further information may be obtained by contacting individual postgraduate programs. Students and graduate PA’s may also talk with postgraduate program directors at the AAPA Annual Conference.

Founding Programs

LAC+USC Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant Residency
LAC+USC Physician Assistant Neonatology Residency Program
Montefiore Postgraduate Residency in Surgery and Masters in Health Sciences
Montefiore Residency in Gynecology for Physician Assistants and Optional Masters in Health Sciences
Norwalk Hospital/Yale University Pediatric Physician Assistant Postgraduate Training Program
Norwalk Hospital/Yale University School of Medicine PA Surgical Residency Program
Sinai Hospital Postgraduate Physician Assistant Surgical Residency
USC Physician Assistant Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine

APPAP Past Officers

Year President Secretary/Treasurer
1988-89 Linda Brandt John Rafalko
1989-90 Linda Brandt John Rafalko
1990-91 Roger Elliot John Rafalko
1991-92 Clara Vanderbilt John Rafalko
1992-93 Arnold Zigman Ken Harbert
1993-94 George Halterman Steve Ireland
1994-95 Laye Akinloye Steve Ireland
1995-96 Dick Mercer Steve Ireland
1996-97 Imani Williams Dick Mercer
1997-98 Steven Romanella Dick Mercer
1998-99 Steven Salyer Dick Mercer
1999-00 Patrick Knott Dick Mercer
2000-01 Robert Brugna Dick Mercer
2001-02 Debbie Winberry Dick Mercer
2002-03 Brian Hennig Dick Mercer
2003-04 Maura Polansky Brian Henning
2004-05 Paul Hendrix Brian Henning
2005-06 Kristen Norris Ginny Hilton
2006-07 Maura Polansky Bill Childers
2007-08 LaWaun Hance Alicia Brown
2008-09 Lisa Rotellini-Coltvet Jonathan Lerner
2009-10 Eric Reynolds Jonathan Lerner
2010-11 Gloria Garver Mary Pugh
2011-12 Jennie McKown Mary Pugh

For a list of current officers and contact information visit the Contact Us page.