Army Physician Assistants (PA) support Army Medicine to ensure our Army is both ready to fight today and prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. Physician Assistants recently celebrated the 53rd anniversary of their profession since its commencement in 1967 when three former Navy Corpsmen graduated from Duke University. Since the inception of the profession, military PAs have demonstrated that they are versatile and adaptable force multipliers needed in a variety of environments ranging from clinical settings to combat outposts. There are currently over 2,500 Army PAs (all compos and civilians) that provide a wide range of care at each level or echelon of care; from emergency and life-saving treatment at the point of injury, to routine care or wellness visits, to specialty services such as orthopedics, emergency medicine, general surgery, behavioral health, and in staff roles at various levels and organizations throughout the Army. The role of the Army PA has changed since the early 1990’s when they became Commissioned Officers. They have molded to the current needs of the Army and that evolution deserves to be captured and commemorated. To that end, several Army PA leaders collaborated to create the PA handbooks. The first edition was published in 2018.
The second edition of The Army PA Handbook is scheduled to be available in the summer of 2021. It has been updated and greatly expanded to 70 chapters with contributions from over 175 PAs and medical professionals. It will be available in print as well as online, including additional online-only chapters. The Army PA has an important role throughout Army medicine, and the handbook describes the myriad positions and organizations in which PAs play leadership roles in management and patient care.
The handbook was created as a resource for PAs to share their knowledge with the next generation of PAs, and as a guide for career plan development. All of the previous 39 chapters from the first handbook have been updated with new information that includes lessons learned and tips for success. Additionally, this handbook updates the qualifications (skills, experiences, and training) for each position. The sections of the handbook are the Army PA profession; training, certification and career management; PA positions and roles; and topics of interest. Some of the 31 new chapters are: Global Health Engagement, role of the JIATF (Joint Interagency Task force) PA, and virtual health care delivery.
The chapters were authored by experienced PAs and contain appropriate references for the readers to access current information. Additionally, the handbook establishes a historical documentation of the evolution of our profession over the years. The future generation of PAs must continue to update the handbook as both the operational environment and the PA profession evolve.
Individuals interested in becoming an Army PA can review these links:
Interservice Physician Assistant Program
USAREC Army PA
The second handbook is available under this link: