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Physician Assistant Educator Competencies

Zaweski, Joseph, MPAS, PA-C; Melcher, Betsy Quick, MHS, PA-C; Sedrak, Mona, PhD, PA-C; Von, Mary, DHEd, MS, PA-C; Fletcher, Sara, PhD

The Journal of Physician Assistant Education: March 2019 - Volume 30 - Issue 1 - p 47–53
doi: 10.1097/JPA.0000000000000240
Special Article

The rapid expansion of physician assistant (PA) programs over the past decade has led to a shortage of experienced PA faculty. This has prompted many faculty development initiatives to help provide the skills needed by new faculty making the jump from clinical practice to academia. Faculty development is a key necessity in health professions education because many of the professionals attracted to the educator role are primarily trained as clinicians. Although this issue has been extensively evaluated by our colleagues in medical, nursing, and health education and various faculty development interventions have been implemented, this has not been done in the PA profession. In an effort to correct this, the Physician Assistant Education Association assembled a task force of experienced PA educators and charged them to evaluate the literature on faculty competencies in health professions education and to develop a set of PA educator competencies to help codify the essential knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that faculty need to be successful in their academic roles.

The task force met its charge by engaging in an extensive review of the literature, developing a competency framework and proposed competencies, and soliciting the input of a diverse panel of experts in PA education to vet the proposed competencies. Using the insights and recommendations from the expert panel, the task force refined the competencies—resulting in the framework of PA educator competencies presented in this document.

Joseph Zaweski, MPAS, PA-C, is an associate professor and the assistant dean and program director for the Physician Assistant Program at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana.

Betsy Quick Melcher, MHS, PA-C, is an assistant professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine and the academic coordinator for the Physician Assistant Program at the Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Mona Sedrak, PhD, PA-C, is a professor and the associate dean of academic affairs at the University of Cincinnati–Clermont College, Batavia, Ohio.

Mary Von, DHEd, MS, PA-C, is the director of the School of Physician Assistant Studies and associate dean of faculty affairs at Pacific University, Hillsboro, Oregon.

Sara Fletcher, PhD, is vice president and chief learning officer for the Physician Assistant Education Association, Washington, DC.

Correspondence should be addressed to: Joseph Zaweski, MPAS, PA-C, Physician Assistant Program, Valparaiso University, LeBien Hall, Annex B, 802 LaPorte Avenue, Valparaiso, IN 46383. Telephone: (219) 464-6512; Email:

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2019 Physician Assistant Education Association
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