• Scott Smalley
  • Lumbani Tshotetsi


South Africa, Clinical Associates


Clinical Associates are a value-add health professional within the South African healthcare system, joining the ranks in 2011. The clinical associate (ClinA) is a burgeoning healthcare professional modelled after the physician assistant in the United States and the clinical officer in much of East Africa.1 In 2005, the South African Family Medicine Education Consortium along with the National Department of Health developed a three-year bachelor degree curriculum to train high school graduating students as clinical associates.

Author Biographies

Scott Smalley

Mr Scott Smalley is the Academic Head of Division of Clinical Associates in the Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1991 with a BSc and Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences in 2007 with a Masters in Science in Physician Assistant Studies in the United States. Mr Smalley has provided medical care and training as a Physician Assistant in the US, as a Clinical Officer in Kenya and as a Clinical Associate in South Africa. As Head of the Division of Clinical Associates, Mr Smalley coordinates the undergraduate and postgraduate Bachelor of Clinical Medical Practice (BCMP) degrees to train students to be registered as Clinical Associates. He recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science Education at University of Witwatersrand and is Chair of the Faculty of Health Sciences Logistics and Operations Team overseeing the implementation of COVID-19 Regulations for student teaching and learning. He is on the Clinical Associate National Department of Health Task Team. He serves as President for the International Academy of Physician Associate Educators (IAPAE).

Lumbani Tshotetsi

Lumbani Tshotetsi is a Faculty member of the Department of Family Medicine at University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. She is a Lecturer and Coordinator for the Year 1 course in the Bachelor of Clinical Medical Practice degree. She serves on the executive board for the University of Pretoria BCMP programme where she lectures clinical associate students. She serves as the secretary for the International Academy for Physician Associate Educators and has participated on both local and international interprofessional and problem based learning She is a research coordinator for an international research project in TB under the Department of Microbiology and Family Medicine, University of Pretoria. She holds a MSC degree in Epidemiology from the University of Pretoria and Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health. As well as a Bachelor of Science in Health Science Education and a Diploma in Clinical Medicine. She worked as a clinical officer in Malawian central and district hospitals for 12 years during which she coordinated reproductive health services and quality improvement programs at Mzuzu Central Hospital and attained a shield of excellency for quality reproductive health services for the hospital. In her capacity, she acted as Deputy District Health Officer for Mzimba North District where she supervised all clinical and other allied health care services. Her passion is in research and public health, student feedback and welfare as well as physician associates global visibility.




How to Cite

Smalley, S., & Tshotetsi, L. (2021). CLINICAL ASSOCIATES IN SOUTH AFRICA – A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PROFESSION. Social Innovations Journal, 8. Retrieved from