Back to Newsletters
NCCPA Newsletter
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)11/18/2016
November 2016 Newsletter

NCCPA Board: No Further Changes to PANRE and the Recertification Process
New Board Members, Officers Elected
The Time is Now to Nominate a PA Who Is Making a Difference!
New Initiative Strives to Equip PAs to Address Mental Health Needs
Fundraiser Continues for the PA Veterans Memorial Garden

NCCPA Board: No Further Changes to PANRE and the Recertification Process

Two years of study and deliberation about the recertification exam process came to a close this month when the NCCPA Board of Directors decided to make no further changes at this time. The Board agreed that the modifications announced in August represent the totality of the  change resulting from its comprehensive assessment of NCCPA recertification processes and analysis of stakeholder feedback sought over the past 18 months.

The changes announced previously eliminated the requirement for self-assessment CME and performance improvement CME (PI-CME). Also, NCCPA announced that during the next few years PANRE will become a core knowledge exam focused on the essential foundational knowledge and cognitive skills all PAs should maintain, regardless of their area of practice. Today PANRE is a broader, general medical and surgical knowledge exam.

Board chair Denni Woodmansee, MS, PA-C says, “As an accredited certifying body, we have obligations not just to those we certify but to the public and other stakeholders who depend on NCCPA to provide a reliable, valid and relevant certification program. When making decisions about our exams and other requirements, we always consider science, psychometrics and the considerable dataset we have about PAs and PA practice. This year we also went to great lengths to gather the perspectives of PAs, PA organizations and other stakeholders and weighed that feedback heavily as well.”

Reflecting on the emotionally charged discourse sparked by NCCPA’s call for PA feedback on potential changes to the recertification process, Woodmansee added: “While the conversation did not unfold as we had hoped, we certainly have appreciated the active engagement of certified PAs in this process. Our commitment is to ongoing, thoughtful, evidence-based evaluation of PA practice and proven methods for assessing and fostering the development and maintenance of the competencies necessary for safe and effective PA practice. NCCPA is an organization committed to continually seeking the most effective means of accomplishing our public mandate while remaining attentive to the very strong desire to maintain PAs’ professional flexibility, credibility, and accessibility.”

Work has already begun on the identification of core medical knowledge content for PANRE; changes to the exam’s content will be gradual but steady over the next several years.

Back to Top

New Board Members, Officers Elected

Congratulations to NCCPA’s new PA directors at large, elected from a field of almost 100 applicants:

  • Edward A. Amberg, MMS, MPH, PA-C

  • Jennifer B. Parker, PA-C

  • Kendra Thomsen, PA-C, MPAS 

These PAs, all full-time clinicians, will join the Board for a four-year term that begins in January.

Congratulations also to Paul Lombardo, MPS, PA-C on his election as NCCPA chair elect. He will succeed 2017 NCCPA Board Chair Mary Warner, MMSc, PA-C as the chair of the NCCPA Board in 2018.

A long-time leader within the PA profession, Lombardo has held numerous volunteer and leadership roles including terms as president or chair of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), the PA Education Association (PAEA), the PA Foundation and the NY State Society of PAs.

Other 2017 Board officers will include Denni Woodmansee, MS, PA-C who will serve as immediate past chair; Robin Hunter Buskey, DHSc, PA-C who returns as Board secretary; and returning treasurer, John Stuemky, MD.

Back to Top

Nominate a PA Who Is Making a Difference Today

Do you know someone who embodies the best of what it is to be a Certified PA? We want to hear about it!

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the PA profession, NCCPA and the nccPA Health Foundation want to recognize “50 PAs who are making a difference today”.

We will profile 50 of those PAs online during 50 weeks of celebration in 2017, recognizing them as examples of the many ways Certified PAs are demonstrating that when it comes to high quality health care, promoting wellness, saving and changing lives… #PAsDoThat!

It's quick and easy to nominate someone you know. Just click and answer a few short questions. Nominations are due by Dec 31, 2016.

Back to Top

New Initiative Strives to Equip PAs to Address Mental Health Needs

On October 24-25, 2016, the nccPA Health Foundation hosted a dialogue about building PA workforce capacity to address mental health needs. Participants were in support of the need for a multi-year initiative to improve mental health in the nation by enhancing the role of PAs and strengthening partnerships with other healthcare providers.

The evidence to take such action is compelling. US government agencies report the following:
·One out of five adults (43.8 million people) in the US experience a mental illness in a given year.

  • Only three of Healthy People 2020’s leading health indicators are “getting worse.” Two of those measures track mental health, including suicide rates (increased by 7% from 2007 to 2010) and adolescents with major depressive episodes (increased about 10% from 2008 to 2012).

  • More than 102 million people in the US live in mental health profession shortage areas, where it is difficult to access mental health services.

The good news is Certified PAs provide care in 400 million patient visits annually, offering important opportunities to integrate mental health screenings and care.

“Mental illness is one of the predominant problems facing our society,” said Ted Wendel, PhD, chair elect of the nccPA Health Foundation. “It is also a significant opportunity for the PA profession to fill this growing, unmet need by building capacity at all levels and across all settings and disciplines.”

Meeting participants functioned as a steering committee where representatives from the nccPA Health Foundation were joined by others from NCCPA, the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the PA (ARC-PA), the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), and the PA Foundation.

“Our organizations have collaborated on opportunities that promote health and benefit our patients,” said Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C, president and CEO of the NCCPA and the nccPA Health Foundation. “This new body of work is our chance to address mental health needs by equipping all certified PAs to take a mantle of leadership in this area.”

Meeting participants further agreed to develop this new initiative using collective impact, which pushes levers for change by equipping interested stakeholders to work in mutually supportive ways, with shared measures and ongoing communication, to achieve a common agenda.

Dr. Wendel added, “Every PA has the obligation to consider the mental health of each patient. That effort should include building a rapport with the patient, identifying risk factors and co-morbidities, taking informed action, staying up-to-date, and being engaged to broadly promote health.”

As part of this initiative, all PAs will be encouraged to integrate mental health as part of overall health, and efforts will be made to foster increased awareness of the PA profession in the mental health community and in health care systems. The next step will be a stakeholder convening to be scheduled in 2017.

Back to Top

Fundraiser Continues for the Veterans Memorial Garden Located at The Stead Center

PaversTax deductible donations can be mailed to: PA History Society, 12000 Findley Road, Suite 160, Johns Creek, Georgia 30097. Please mark “Garden” for a general monetary donation, or “Paver” on the memo line of your check.

Credit card payments for general donations (non-brick paver orders) are accepted via the PAHx website here. Please mark “Garden” next to your name.

Veterans GardenThe PAHx continues to raise funds for the Veterans Memorial Garden, a site that honors the contributions made by former and current military PAs to the PA profession. In addition to accepting general monetary donations, the Society has also established a “buy an engraved paver” program with the Bricks R Us Company. The tax deductible 9x9 inch brick pavers, which honor PA veterans and PAs on active duty in the Uniformed Services, 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 engraved brick pavers will be embedded in the wheelchair accessible walkway and the patio surrounding the centerpiece of the garden, the life-size bronze combat medic statue and flagpole. The pavers are a great way for PAs to honor their PA veteran colleagues, especially those who are no longer with us. For more information about this project, please visit our website, or write to us at

Be sure to "like" PA History on Facebook to receive weekly updates and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. The Society also recently launched a Blog, check it out!


Back to Top

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

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

PA Health Foundation


Get the free NCCPA app!

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.

Delivered by NCCPA 12000 Findley Road Suite 100 Johns Creek, GA 30097
Website | P: 678.417.8100 | F: 678.417.8135

To ensure you always receive these emails please add to your address book.

© NCCPA, All Rights Reserved.
Back to Newsletters