PAEA Governance

Policy Making 

PAEA has two categories of policies. Operational policies govern the functioning of the Association’s constituent components and its internal and financial operations. These are within the purview of the Board and can be amended only by the Board. Position policies reflect PAEA’s stated beliefs about the desired state of the world and actions we believe should be taken by the government and others; these must be approved by the membership. 

Business Meeting 

Most actions on PAEA Bylaws and position policies take place at the Annual Business Meeting, typically held in conjunction with the Education Forum each year. This meeting is open to all, though only program voting representatives may cast votes and make motions on the floor. 

Minutes and Summaries

Code of Ethics 

PAEA has a code of ethics that applies to all PAEA leaders, volunteers, members, and staff. The core of this code is this:  

As a member, director, or leader of PAEA you agree to: 

Professional Excellence 

  • Conduct yourself toward other members, directors, leaders, and PAEA staff with fair judgment, professional courtesy, and respect for others. 
  • Act with integrity and in accordance with academic standards when developing professional and educational materials for PAEA. 
  • Present credentials, knowledge, skills, and experience fairly and accurately. 

Standards, Expectations, Accountability 

  • Interact with, or on behalf of, PAEA in accordance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws. 
  • Abide by the PAEA Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Policies and Procedures Manual. 
  • Refrain from using the Association with PAEA for personal gain or private inurement. (Also see 6.05.) 

Directors and leaders must also agree to additional standards, expectations and accountability, including to 

  • Support and promote PAEA’s interests, mission, vision, core values, and policies, including this Code. 
  • Exercise reasonable care, good faith, and due diligence in the performance of responsibilities. Preserve PAEA confidential information (i.e., information that is not publicly available and/or that is acquired due to membership or service) to be used or disclosed only as part of the authorized PAEA duties. 

If you are considering running for a PAEA office or volunteer position, you should read the Code of Ethics policy carefully, particularly the sections pertaining to conflict of interest (COI), 6.01.04–6.01.11.

PAEA defines a COI “an interest that may or may not be financial in nature suggesting divided loyalty on the part of the director or leader between obligations to PAEA and to the directors’ or leaders’ personal interests or to the interests of some other organization or cause.” 

When you apply for a PAEA leadership position, you will be asked to complete a conflict of interest disclosure form. Please see below for more information on PAEA’s conflict of interest policy and other aspects of its Code of Ethics. 

Frequently Asked Questions

As an organization, PAEA is accountable to its membership to demonstrate that it carries out its business in a manner consistent with the best interests of the organization and membership, and in a fair and ethical manner. The Code of Ethics was developed to create a formal method of accountability for the organization.

The primary method for identifying conflicts of interest is through member self-disclosure of business and other relationships by PAEA members in the course of applying for Board or other volunteer positions. Members who have concerns or specific knowledge about other members with potential conflicts may also submit inquiries for further review by PAEA.

Unmanageable conflicts are those that clearly divide a person’s loyalty between PAEA and another organization or cause. These require a person to give up one or other position. Manageable conflicts are those that can be managed, such as through recusal from conversations that relate to the issue of concern or abstaining from voting on certain issues. See below for examples.

No. With few exceptions, conflicts of interest can be managed and therefore do not prohibit participation in PAEA leadership. Transparency is a very important part of the process of identifying and managing conflicts of interest. If you have a question about whether a potential conflict of interest can be managed, contact PAEA.

Self-reported conflicts of interest and inquiries about possible conflicts of interest are reviewed by the GEB to determine whether or not competing interests can be managed in a way that allows PAEA leaders to fulfill their duties to PAEA.

The desire for confidentiality will be weighed and discussed as part of the process for deciding whether or not a conflict of interest can be managed. While a reasonable effort will be made to maintain confidentiality, disclosure may be necessary during the process.

We maintain confidentially and follow due process. The GEB follows specific policies and procedures as outlined in the Code of Ethics.

Because of the almost infinite number of possible combinations of (1) external affiliations and interests that candidates for Board or other volunteer positions may have, and (2) levels of involvement with PAEA, the Association generally refrains from making blanket statements as to what does and does not constitute an unmanageable conflict of interest. The key is transparency: All candidates for PAEA positions should list all organizations with which they are affiliated in any way; the PAEA Governance and Ethics Board can then review these disclosures and flag potential COI on a case-by-case basis.

That said, two examples of unmanageable conflicts are:

  • For Board positions:
    • Holding a Board of Directors or staff position with:
      • The national PA organizations (and their subsidiary organizations):
      • The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant
      • The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
      • The American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • For exam item writers:
    • Participation in other exam development activities for service or pay (excluding faculty work in writing exam items for program use by their students)

Most other potential conflicts would need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and are likely to be manageable, including membership of a state academy board. Our overall goal is to allow for experienced, involved PA educators to run for the PAEA Board or other PAEA volunteer positions, and for any conflicts they have to be managed, without compromising PAEA’s ability to operate according to the highest ethical and legal standards. Again, the key is to disclose all relationships and be open to dialogue to determine manageability.