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Using the Core Competencies for New Physician Assistant Graduates to Prioritize Admission Criteria for PA Practice in 2025

Goldgar, Constance, MS, PA-C; Hills, Karen J., MS, PA-C; VanderMeulen, Stephane P., MPAS, PA-C; Snyder, Jennifer A., PhD, PA-C; Kohlhepp, William C., DHSc, PA-C; Lane, Steven, MA, MPP

The Journal of Physician Assistant Education: June 2019 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 111–117
doi: 10.1097/JPA.0000000000000255
Special Article

In a fast-changing medical and educational environment, it is incumbent upon the physician assistant (PA) education community to periodically consider what the future practice environment might look like for our graduates. Changes in technology, regulation, reimbursement, health system economics, and health care delivery are among the many forces shaping the practice environment of the future. The 2018 Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Presidents Commission reflected on what PA practice might look like in 2025 and used the Association's Core Competencies for New PA Graduates to consider what characteristics might therefore be required of the PA graduates who will practice in this future. We postulate that the future PA practice environment will require enhanced skills in such areas as interpreting technology-driven clinical data for patients and practices, consulting effectively with increasingly specialized members of health care teams, understanding population health and predictive analytics, and knowing how to access and critically assess new medical information. Working backward, we identify certain noncognitive attributes that will likely need to be prioritized in our admission processes and suggest some tools that can be used to assess them. These attributes include ethical responsibility, communication, critical thinking, situational judgment, and professionalism. As with all Presidents Commission articles, this piece is intended primarily to stimulate thought, dialogue, and future research. We encourage all faculty to participate in this dialogue, through the new PAEA Digital Learning Hub ( and other channels.

Constance Goldgar, MS, PA-C, is a professor in the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Karen J. Hills, MS, PA-C, is the chief of educational development for the Physician Assistant Education Association, Washington, DC.

Stephane P. VanderMeulen, MPAS, PA-C, is an associate professor and program director of the Creighton University Physician Assistant Program, Omaha, Nebraska.

Jennifer A. Snyder, PhD, PA-C, is a professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana.

William C. Kohlhepp, DHSc, PA-C, is the dean of the School of Health Sciences and a professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut.

Steven Lane, MA, MPP, is the senior director, strategic communications, for the Physician Assistant Education Association, Washington, DC.

Correspondence should be addressed to: Constance Goldgar, MS, PA-C, Utah Physician Assistant Program, 375 Chipeta Way, Suite A, Salt Lake City, UT 84108;

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2019 Physician Assistant Education Association
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