PAs Address Shortages in Underserved, Rural Areas
PAs remain steadfast in their dedication to the profession’s original mission of addressing health care disparities by providing care in underserved and rural communities.
According to a recent NCCPA study, 22.8% of PAs provide care in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs).
The study was presented by NCCPA Research Scientist Mirela Bruza-Augatis, MS, PA-C, at the 2023 Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Health Workforce Research Conference in D.C. earlier this year.
“As the health care landscape continues to evolve, PAs are poised to play an increasingly crucial role in ensuring equitable access to quality care for all,” Bruza-Augatis said. “PAs bring a unique blend of clinical expertise and compassion to their work.”
The research encompassed 106,253 PAs and offers valuable insights into the factors that influence their willingness to practice in these under-resourced settings.
A key finding of the NCCPA study highlights the disproportionately high representation of PAs from minority groups and those residing in rural or isolated areas among those providing care in HPSAs/MUAs.
PAs who identify as Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino(a/x) were found to be more likely to provide care in HPSAs or MUAs.
Additionally, PAs who communicate with patients in languages other than English are also more likely to practice in under-resourced communities.
“These findings suggest that personal experiences and cultural backgrounds may influence their decision to work in under-resourced communities,” Bruza-Augatis said. “By recognizing the contributions of PAs, health care systems and policymakers can effectively address healthcare disparities and improve access to quality care for underserved populations.”