Advocacy

North Carolina Congressmen Visit Local PA Programs

By Tyler SmithNovember 29, 2017

Congressman Ted Budd visits the High Point University PA Program. Image: High Point University PA Program

In a testament to their unique drive and determination, the 2017 Student Health Policy Fellows are already making their mark on PA education advocacy in their local communities.

On October 9, Megan Berry, a Student Health Policy fellow and PA student at High Point University, hosted Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC) during a visit to her program. Budd represents North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District and was elected to his seat in 2016.

Continuing the conversation that was initiated in a meeting in Rep. Budd’s office during the fellows’ time in Washington, DC, in September, Berry provided the Congressman with a tour of the program’s facilities, discussed the issues faced by both students and programs, and advocated for comprehensive legislative solutions to advance PA education.

Likewise, Alec Sims, a student at the Wingate University PA program, recently met with Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who toured that program and discussed new opportunities to bolster the work of PA educators and students through federal policy reform. Meadows represents North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District and was elected to his seat in 2012.

During Budd’s visit to the High Point University program, he was also able to meet with approximately 40 of the program’s faculty and students and speak with program director Linda Sekhon, DHSc, PA-C, about the evolving challenges faced by PA educators as the profession grows. Meadows similarly engaged with the students at the Wingate University program in October and committed to an ongoing dialogue with Alec and the program’s leadership.

To kick off fellowship earlier this year, Megan, Alec, and 12 other PA students from programs across the United States participated in meetings with their senators and representatives to relay their experiences as PA students and advocate for PA education. In addition to gaining advocacy and leadership experience, the fellows sought to gain support for legislation that would promote diversity, encourage faculty development, and prioritize training in primary care. The students asked their representatives to support H.R. 1603, the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act, and H.R. 1605, the Physician Assistant Education Public Health Initiatives Act.

Tyler Smith

Tyler is the government relations coordinator at PAEA. He is responsible for PAEA’s grassroots outreach initiatives and advancing the association’s legislative and regulatory priorities.