Relationships of demographic background and practice setting among practicing physician assistants in the United States
Muma, Richard D.
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Muma R.D., Kelley J., Lies S. Relationships of demographic background and practice setting among practicing physician assistants in the United States.Journal of Physician Assistant Education. 2010; 21(2):15-21.
Introduction: It is assumed that minority health care providers continue to work in primary care and in underserved areas in higher propor- tions than their nonminority counterparts, regardless of changing workforce practice patterns. The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether this assumption still holds true among US physician assistants (PAs) in light of recent PA specialization. This assump- tion is important as there is continuing evidence that a similar background between providers and patients can be beneficial to the provider-patient relationship and to patient outcomes. A secondary purpose was to determine the relationships between various demo- graphic variables (eg, race) and current practice specialty and population served among all PAs. Methods: This cross-sectional study meas- ured demographic and practice setting survey data. A random sample of 10,500 PAs was surveyed. Results: The main finding was that minority PAs were more likely to care for the underserved (31.9% vs. 19.3%) and to work in primary care practices (38.8% vs. 29.3%) than were nonminorities. A significant relationship was also found between serving underserved populations and nonmarried status, as well as age over 39 (these groups were more likely to serve this population, p < 0.01). Household income less than $50,000 at the time of high school graduation was significantly related to caring for underserved individuals (p < 0.01) and working in primary care settings (more like- ly to serve in these settings, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Minority PAs were more likely to care for the underserved and work in primary care settings. Certain other demographic variables among all respondents were also significantly related to service to the underserved and work in primary care settings.
Freely available at the publisher's website: http://www.paeaonline.org/index.php?ht=action/GetDocumentAction/i/110196