AAPA to Launch PAthways Program to Foster Diversity Within PA Profession

Program receives support from Pfizer Communities in Action for Health Equity grant

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) announces the launch of PAthways, an initiative aimed at fostering diversity within the PA profession. Backed by a Communities in Action for Health Equity grant from Pfizer, PAthways marks a significant step toward building a more inclusive healthcare workforce by seeking to diversify one of the fastest growing healthcare professions in the country.

PAthways is designed to address historically marginalized communities, including Black, Latina/o/x, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, and other racial and ethnic groups, within the PA profession. This two-prong program is aimed at: 1) raising awareness and interest in the PA profession among freshman and sophomore college students at minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and 2) providing mentorship and shadowing opportunities for seniors and recent graduates of color interested in pursuing PA school.

"Increasing the representation of healthcare providers from historically marginalized communities is of utmost importance for improving health outcomes in all patients,” AAPA Chief Medical Officer Jennifer M. Orozco, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA said.

According to the American Council on Education, there are over 700 MSIs across the country, enrolling over 5 million students annually with a significant portion from underserved backgrounds. In its first cohort, PAthways aims to reach over 2,000 students at various stages of their pre-PA career path, including early college and post-college individuals.

"AAPA is honored to be selected through Pfizer’s Multicultural Health Equity Collective and The Institute of Translational Equitable Medicine to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in the healthcare workforce,” Orozco said. “Through PAthways, we will aim to enhance the representation of racial and ethnic minorities in the PA profession, which will ultimately improve access to care for all patient populations.”

According to a 2023 survey from The Harris Poll, more than half of U.S. adults (54%) report feeling more comfortable seeing a healthcare provider who shares their background. This is especially true of Black (67%), Asian (66%), and Latino (62%) adults, compared to less than half of white adults (49%).

Pfizer’s Communities in Action for Health Equity grant program supports community-engaged research, learning, and intervention projects and was recently launched by the Pfizer Multicultural Health Equity Collective and Pfizer’s Institute of Translational Equitable Medicine.

AAPA and the PA Foundation are partnering closely with volunteer leaders from AAPA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission and several of its constituent organization’s including the African Heritage PA Caucus, PAs for Latino Health, and PAs in Asian Health to promote and carry out this important work over the next two years.


Media Contact: Jenni Roberson, 703.380.2764

About the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA)
AAPA is the national membership organization for all physician associates/physician assistants (PAs). PAs are licensed clinicians who practice medicine in every specialty and setting. Trusted, rigorously educated and trained healthcare professionals, PAs are dedicated to expanding access to care and transforming health and wellness through patient-centered, team-based medical practice. PA was named one of the best jobs overall and one of the best healthcare jobs for the seventh year in a row by U.S. News & World Report. Learn more about the profession at aapa.org and engage through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.


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