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NCCPA Newsletter
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)4/21/2017
April 2017

Deadline Approaching for Applications to Join the NCCPA Board

Do You Think PAs Need More Visibility to the Public?

Do You Have Experience in Latin America?

nccPA Health Foundation Opens Call for Applications

Oral Health is a Representation of Overall Health

PA History Society Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the PA Profession

Deadline Approaching for Applications to Join the NCCPA Board

This year NCCPA will elect a new PA director at large to join the Board in 2018, and the deadline for applications is Sunday, April 30.

Board members are elected to a four-year term and are eligible for re-election to a second term. More details about the role and responsibilities of NCCPA Board members as well as the application process are available on our website.

While a majority of NCCPA’s Board members are Certified PAs, our Board also includes members who represent stakeholder groups including physicians and the public. The diverse perspectives of members come together around a shared passion for the profession and a belief in the important role of certification in facilitating patient access to high quality health care. If you know a physician who is passionate about the PA profession and may be willing to contribute his or her time to advancing the work of NCCPA, please read more and share the information available at The deadline for physician director-at-large applications is April 30.

(This article has been corrected since it was originally published)

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Do You Think PAs Need More Visibility to the Public?
(Part 3)

PAs tell us that NPs receive more attention and — because there are more than twice as many NPs — it takes all of us working together to raise the awareness level of Certified PAs. In the last two issues, we wrote about how all PAs can help promote individual PAs and the profession to employers and the public, from sharing social media posts to doing a press release when you recertify. You can read the prior suggestions in the January and February NCCPA News here.  

To close out this series, we want to make sure you know that we are in this together. NCCPA promotes the role, qualifications and value of Certified PAs in many ways including:

  • Statistical Data Reports: Every year, NCCPA publishes four statistical reports on Certified PAs: an overall report on PAs nationally; a report on PAs in 22 specialties; one on PAs in all 50 states; and one on recently-certified PAs. We share them with reporters and editors, and they are quoted often in major news outlets (NBC, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, NPR, Forbes, and more).

  • Conferences:  Last year, NCCPA exhibited and provided speakers to 50 state and specialty organizations, physician conferences, and industry organizations, such as the National Association of Medical Staffing Specialists. This week, we are exhibiting at the Association of Health Care Journalists, offering over 115,000 certified PAs (that’s you!) as potential sources to be interviewed for articles on healthcare issues.

  • Keeping state medical boards informed: So far this year we have met with eight state medical boards who have invited us to share information on our certification and certification maintenance requirements – particularly important given the changes to CME requirements and the transition of PANRE to a core medical knowledge exam announced last year. We also make sure they are aware of projected growth in the number of PAs in the state and share data on PA practice patterns there. They are always impressed with the certification process and the impact that Certified PAs are making in their state.

  • Media relations: For example, every month we work with a Certified PA to publish a blog in Physicians Practice highlighting how PAs impact practices in every specialty and setting. We have published over two dozen of these articles to date.

  • Social media: We post highlights of great things PAs do on, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, and we share your positive social media comments as well.

NCCPA is passionate about the work that you do, and we will continue to shine a light on your accomplishments and successes.

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Do You Have Experience in Latin America?

NCCPA will host a gathering of PAs with experience working or volunteering in Latin America on Thursday evening, May 18, during the AAPA conference in Las Vegas.

The purpose of the gathering will be to help PAs working in this region make new connections with each other and to facilitate information exchange about needs and opportunities in that region.

If you’re interested in participating – or would like to receive more information after the event – please complete the short registration form now at

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Foundation logoCall for Applications for Kathy J. Pedersen Grant to Promote Equitable Care

Apply by Thursday, June 8, 2017

Looking to support PA efforts to end health disparities? The nccPA Health Foundation announced the second annual call for applications for the Kathy J. Pedersen Grant to Promote Equitable Care.  

The grant provides PAs up to $5,000 for projects that support innovative, actionable strategies that directly and sustainably impact public health needs. Applicants are challenged to design programs that bridge known system gaps, advocate for the underserved, or creatively develop resources for those in need. 

“Kathy has dedicated her career to social accountability and the provision of equitable care for all,” said Ted Wendel, PhD, nccPA Health Foundation Board Chair. “With this grant, we honor her work and invite all PAs to consider the impact that you can make for the people and patients in your community who need it most.”

Certified PAs, PA organizations (educational programs and constituent organizations), and PA students may apply. To be considered during this grant’s second funding cycle, submit the completed application by June 8, 2017.

Funding decisions for 2017 will be announced in early September.  

The inaugural grant recipient, Cynthia Bunde, MPAS, PA-C, is piloting an innovative program that uses text messaging as the basis for case management of uninsured patients with mental health diagnosis at the Pocatello Free Clinic in Pocatello, Idaho.  

In addition, the Foundation’s Be the CHANGE grant, which provides up to $1,000 for smaller PA projects that create health access now for greater equity, continues.  

“We appreciate the vibrant and compelling work Certified PAs do to foster equitable, accessible care,” said Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C, NCCPA and Foundation President and CEO. “The Foundation’s grants allow us to partner in the laudable work of PAs to design pathways for healthier futures.”

With the opening of this second funding cycle, the nccPA Health Foundation expresses its gratitude to the Pedersens for their tireless work and generous support for this program. Learn more about this grant and the careers of Kathy and Don Pedersen from the PA History Society.

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“Oral Health is a Representation of Overall Health”

Connect Video & 2017 Grant Funding Emphasize Opportunity to Impact Health

The nccPA Health Foundation released the second of four new videos (watch here) highlighting opportunities to make the connection between oral and systemic health and announced 2017 oral health grant funding.

The “Connect” clip calls on PAs to recognize and better understand how issues in the mouth impact overall health or may offer clues to what is going on elsewhere in the body. (Watch the first video released last month that encourages PAs to learn strategies that impact oral health here.)

“Oral health is important to me for my patients because it could be connected to their diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease,” said Karen Roane, MPAS, PA-C, Cleveland Clinic surgical PA and video participant. “By doing the oral exam, I’m connecting the dots for my patients.”

Oral disease has been linked to additional chronic conditions, including stroke, obesity, lower respiratory disease, and osteoporosis, as well as adverse pregnancy outcomes and increasing numbers of ER visits.  

NCCPA’s 2015 practice analysis found that 32% of responding PAs reported encountering oral disorders at least weekly, which suggests PAs are making this connection. To equip more PAs to embrace oral health as part of overall health, the nccPA Health Foundation announced continued funding for two PA grant opportunities:

  • Community Outreach Grant:  Receive up to $500 to work with PA colleagues in your state or specialty chapter, your student society, or your PA program to design a project around oral health in your community.

  • Research Integration Grant:  Receive up to $3,000 to integrate oral health into your PA program curriculum or your clinical practice and evaluate your strategies.

Grants are reviewed as received until all funding is expended. Get started designing a project to help PAs, students, and patients recognize the oral-systemic connection today.

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PA History Society Logo  PA History Society Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the PA Profession with Special Tribute at the Stead Center

Veterans Memorial Garden dedicated April 8, 2017

The newly renovated Veterans Memorial Garden dedication was held April 8, 2017 at the Stead Center in Durham, NC.

Engraved brick pavers are still available and can be purchased online here. The engraved paver will include the appropriate uniformed service logo and 3 lines for name, branch and years of service.

The beautiful garden honors the contributions made by former and current military and uniformed services PAs to the profession.

Also, in celebration of the Society’s 15th Anniversary we have launched a new website!

The website brings PA history alive with 112 oral histories, 200 videos, 2,500 photographs, 200 museum pieces and over 1,700 items in our library. The Society’s Collection is one of the largest compilation of materials providing a glimpse into the past 50 years of the PA profession. Visit our site regularly for new exhibits and interesting tidbits that are “all things PA history!”

If you’re attending the 2017 AAPA conference in Las Vegas next month, please stop by the PAHx Booth for a variety of 50th Anniversary items!

Check all the projects the Society is working on to Celebrate the PA Profession’s 50th Anniversary in the last edition of “Historical Happenings”.

Please be sure to “like” PA History Society on Facebook to receive weekly updates and follow the Society on TwitterLinkedIn and our Blog.


At NCCPA, we work to promote the role, impact and qualifications of Certified PAs in many ways including through the media. Recent publicity includes:

  • AAFP’s Family Practice Management: Former NCCPA Board Chair Viki Kaprielian, M.D. and NCCPA Board Member Joel Kase, D.O., offer their colleagues reasons to invite Certified PAs into their practice.

  • NPR Radio (Start at 20-minute mark): Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C and Ken Ferrell (PA from first Duke University graduating class) share thoughts on the 50th Anniversary of the PA profession.

  • Physician Leadership Journal: Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C makes The Case for Physician Assistants.

  • NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias shares “Ways to Best Use Certified PAs in Practice” in this month’s Physicians Practice.

Want to get involved? If you have a great article idea or a story to share, contact PR manager, Mary Rittle, at

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Feedback and questions are always welcome. Send general inquiries and comments to, or contact our President/CEO.

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants is dedicated to serving the interest of the public. We do so with a passionate belief that certified physician assistants are essential members of the health care delivery team who provide millions access to more affordable, high quality health care.

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