Date of Award

Fall 10-18-2021

Document Type



Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate and better understand the attributes and characteristics of the influential physician, the dual-roled physician assistant (PA)leader and how this relationship impacts the PA leader and the PA leader-physician relationship. These dual-role PA leaders may possess additional formal job titles and duties while also having direct reports.

Method: We surveyed PA leaders at a large academic medical center and its associated health system. The survey instrument evaluates perceptions, attitudes and characteristics of the PA leader, influential physician, and their relationship.

Results: There were 34/56 PA organizational leaders that responded to the survey (RR 60.7%). Effective communication was the most prevalent relational characteristic ranked as most important for both PA leaders (30%) and influential physicians (36%). Additional self-identified positive attributes of the team included collaborative mindset, reliability/trustworthiness, work ethic, and delivery of patient care. Influential physicians have significant impact on PA leader job satisfaction and career advancement.

Conclusion: This was a first of its kind, novel study of PA leaders examining perceptions, beliefs and characteristics of the PA leader-physician relationship. PAs are an integral healthcare team member and medical provider. As PAs work closely in physician led teams, further understanding of the PA leader-physician relationship could influence PA and physician professional development, career trajectory, and impact healthcare team outcomes.


Faculty Advisor: Dr. Thomas Colletti