Physician assistants who grew up in underserved areas are more likely to practice in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) than PAs who did not, according to a survey conducted at the 2013 American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) annual meeting. The team that administered the survey presented their findings during this year’s AAPA meeting in Boston. They found that PAs who came from HPSA are 5.5 times more likely to work in a HPSA after they have completed their training. They also found that PAs who spoke a language other than English are twice as likely to work in HPSA as those who grew up speaking English only. The numbers are encouraging; however, the overall percentage of PAs surveyed who work in a HPSA was still quite low. Of the 350 PAs surveyed, only 11 work in HPSA, about 3%. Alessandra Capizzi, PA, lead author of the study, told MedPage Today , “The number of physician assistants in the survey who we could confirm growing up in an area that is now still considered a Health Professional Shortage Area is small — just 14 individuals. Two of them still practice in those areas — 14.3% of the total. Of the 350 physician assistants who we surveyed who did not grow up in a Health Professional Shortage Area, nine have current jobs in these underserved areas — 2.6%.” The low overall number of PAs working in HPSA highlights the need for more providers in those areas. Perhaps better understanding the PAs who typically work in HPSA will help healthcare organizations more effectively recruit healthcare professionals. Providing grants and scholarships to PA students from HPSA could also help increase the number of healthcare professionals working in rural and underserved areas.