I respectfully declare my candidacy for the position of Secretary of the PAEA Board of Directors. For the past four years, I have served PAEA as a Director at Large and would be honored to continue my service as Secretary of the Board of Directors. Prior to serving on the Board of Directors, I served PAEA for eight years as a member and Chair of the Recruitment and Admissions Council, working alongside many remarkable people to enhance PA Admissions. I also served as faculty for the PAEA Basic Skills Workshop, helping new PA faculty members develop their skills as educators. The leadership skills that these service opportunities fostered have been invaluable to my professional growth and have enhanced my ability to share my creativity, energy and enthusiasm as a continuing member of the Board.
Speaking as a PA educator for over 20 years, this is a pivotal time to be involved in securing the future of PA education and the PA workforce. Innovations in PA education are being driven by the development of entrustable professional activities (EPAs), PA graduate competencies, outcomes-based accreditation, and the debate over Optimal Team Practice (OTP). PAEA must be a leader in developing these advances in PA education by reinforcing evidence-based research and strategies to help align this new thinking with the development of stronger PA graduates who are practice ready. One of the obstacles to the development of this educational growth will be the shortage of clinical rotation sites and the shortage of qualified PA faculty. PAEA must find inventive strategies to help increase clinical rotation sites as well as enhance the development and mentorship of new PA faculty.
With this surge in PA education, PAEA must also commit to increasing ethnic and cultural diversity in the profession, meeting the healthcare needs of underserved communities, and helping to develop PAs as healthcare leaders. The healthcare settings of tomorrow are contingent upon the implementation of these enhancements to PA education, and PAEA’s strong presence will help guide these innovations.
This is an incredible time to be in PA education. With the recent realignment of PAEA’s strategic plan, the time is right to take the next steps towards becoming an even stronger presence in the healthcare arena. It would truly be an honor to continue my service to PAEA and this constituency as Secretary of the Board of Directors.
1. What attributes characterize a high-performing Board member and which of these attributes do you possess?
To be high performing, a PAEA Board member must be able to understand all sides of an issue and put personal biases aside to make decisions based on what is best for our member programs, PA education and the PA profession. My extensive experience working with PAEA as chair of the Admissions Council, teaching PANDO workshops, realigning PAEA’s internal structure with other members of the Internal Volunteer Structures Workgroup and serving as a Director at Large for the past four years, in combination with my strong teaching, research and publication history in PA education, allows me to consider issues from different perspectives and make informed decisions about those issues. Other attributes I possess that are needed by PAEA Board members include honesty, respectful collaboration, collegiality and strong ethical standards. By working together and supporting the tenets set forth in the PAEA Strategic Plan, the Board can strengthen the future of PA education and set a course that engenders the trust of our member programs. I would be honored to serve the PAEA Board of Directors as Secretary and realize that with this honor comes a tremendous responsibility to continually uphold the best interests of our member programs.
2. How do you think the competency-based medical education movement will affect PA education in the next 5-10 years and what should PAEA do to help programs incorporate CBME?
PA education has progressed tremendously in its first 50 years, moving from a profession rooted in experiential learning to one driven by pedagogical standards that reflect lists of objectives that students are expected to master. The move to competency-based medical education will transport PA education to the next level of learning, where students are ultimately judged on their ability to take care of patients and how well they meet patient care expectations. This transition will be challenging for PA programs and PAEA needs to be an integral part of this evolution, by providing resources to help programs train their graduates to deliver patient-centered care from the moment they complete their PA training. Those resources should be in the form of continuing research to improve the alignment between PA education and PA practice. The data gathered from the continued collaboration between PAEA and their stakeholders will help provide focus for PA programs as they realign their curricular decisions and create new and improved learning experiences for their students. Ultimately, PAEA workshops, faculty development opportunities, and innovative online technologies will benefit all PA programs in the move to competency-based medical education.
3. "If you have seen one program, you have seen one program," is a phrase often heard in PA education circles. Will this emphasis on program uniqueness continue to serve the profession moving forward? Why or why not?
The PA profession has been unique from its beginning and PA programs have, until recently, been patterned after tried and true educational standards. The methods employed by programs to facilitate student learning vary dramatically from program to program, but ultimately have a similar format of lectures, labs, and clinical rotations. How each program chooses to provide these learning opportunities can be quite variable, thus accounting for the unique nature of PA educational programs. Due to the increasing technological advances in learning and medical education, we will see even more unique opportunities to move the profession forward in the coming years. The move to online learning has spurred tremendous advances in medical education, and as PA programs adopt varying degrees of this new technology, program uniqueness will be emphasized even more. For instance, the ability for students to attend a PA Program while living at home enables those students to stay in their respective communities, where their support networks are often vast, and ultimately provide health care for those with whom they have lived and worked all their lives. The old adage “it takes a village” has added meaning for these students who want nothing more than to give back to the communities where they were raised and nurtured. Unique programs have been a hallmark of PA education since its inception and will continue to be an integral part of the profession moving forward.