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May 31, 2019

Monthly Member Spotlight:

American Academy of PAs


Members of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) have noticed a growing number of households experiencing the burden of osteoarthritis (OA). Physician Assistants (PAs) play a vital role on healthcare teams across the country, including those that provide care to patients with OA. PAs diagnose illnesses, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications and serve as a valuable resource for their patients. Not only do PAs deliver high-quality care, but they also make  medical care more accessible and convenient to patients.

We are spotlighting AAPA because of their advocacy and education efforts on behalf of their profession and the patients PAs serve. The partnership between the OAAA and AAPA will lead to sustained improvements in overall health status among adults with OA and those who have chronic conditions other than OA. We are grateful for AAPA’s efforts to improve the quality, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered health care.

An Interview with An Interview with Benjamin J. Smith and the American Academy of PAs

Benjamin J Smith, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA – Assistant Professor, Director of Didactic Education at the Florida State University, School of Physician Assistant Practice


1. What is your organization’s interest in the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance?

Founded in 1968, AAPA is the national professional society for PAs. It represents a profession of more than 130,000 PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve.

AAPA participates in the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance because we are committed to ensuring PAs are equipped with knowledge and skills to effectively diagnose and treat patients with OA. OAAA provides an opportunity for AAPA and PAs to collaborate with an interprofessional team on national strategies to advance the care of patients with OA.

2. What do you think is the most important issue today related to osteoarthritis?

The prevalence of osteoarthritis lends itself to the likelihood that we will all be affected in some manner by this condition. The effects of osteoarthritis on individuals should be considered during visits with healthcare providers.

3. How does your work connect to issues in osteoarthritis?
Because AAPA represents and supports PAs in all specialties, we are uniquely positioned to impact the continuum of OA care. We provide educational opportunities to advance PAs’ knowledge and skills, advocate for the removal of practice barriers that inhibit optimal care, conduct research on PA practice, and connect PAs with key stakeholders to advance patient health.

4. What is a headline you’d like to see about osteoarthritis in five years?

Disease modifying treatment approach discovered for osteoarthritis
5. What is one interesting fact you’d like people to know about your organization?

Of the more than 130,000 PAs, over 74% now practice in non-primary care specialties. 19.2% practice in Family Medicine/General Practice, 4.7% practice in Internal Medicine/General Practice, 10.8% practice in Orthopaedics, and 0.5% practice in Rheumatology.

American Academy of PAs

Resources & Events

  • The Training Rheum is designed to provide PAs and NPs with a well-rounded foundation on the essential rheumatology topics. These 2.5-Day Courses Co-Sponsored by AAPA and the Association of Rheumatology Professionals (ARP), the Interprofessional Division of the American College of Rheumatology, will be held in Atlanta, GA August 10-12, 2019 and in Austin, TX January 18-20, 2020.
  • AAPA has partnered with the California Academy of Family Physicians to provide an online CME activity entitled “Pathways in Management: Effectively Addressing Osteoarthritis
  • Check out this recent AAPA News Central article – PAs on Front Lines Recognize Arthritis Symptoms
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