We decided that the 2017 PAEA Education Forum deserved a special theme — after all, it’s the year of the PA profession’s 50th anniversary. We reflected on how far we’ve come and how important PAs have become to the health of our nation. We thought about the vital role that PA educators play in producing the valuable resource that is each new class of PAs. One word kept coming to mind — thrive. Because that’s what our profession has done for the past five decades. And we have thrived by working as a team.
PAEA is many things to many people. We help new faculty learn their trade and seasoned pros polish their skills. We gather data and fund research to allow us to better understand the profession. We help applicants figure out which PA school is right for them. We give programs the tools to assess the knowledge and skills of their students. We provide leadership and service opportunities.
But perhaps most importantly, PAEA is a community. Every year, Forum attendees go back to their programs with new ideas and enhanced skills from the sessions they have attended. But every year, the most common refrain in evaluations and hallway conversations is that sense of community, the joy and camaraderie of being around other people who know exactly what you are dealing with every day — people who can share your aspirations and understand your fears.
That simple act of coming together is a big part of why PA educators attend the Forum. The PA profession has come a long way in 50 years, and its educators have been at the forefront of that evolution. So, of course, we plan to pop a few corks and celebrate that milestone in Denver. But more than that, we will be looking ahead to the bright future of a profession that is thriving like few others. This year’s Forum is on track to be the largest yet — we may even reach 1,000 attendees. And we know why that is.
Because together, we thrive!