Gov't Relations

PA Students Descend on Capitol Hill

By Marsea NelsonOctober 5, 2015

10 students standing outside in silly poses

Photo courtesy Jennifer DeMoss

We brought 15 PA students to Washington to teach them about advocacy and inspire them to take action.

For three days in September, 15 students convened at PAEA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., as part of our second Student Health Policy Fellowship. Participants were selected for the fully-funded program through a competitive process and represented institutions from across the country:

  • Suzanne Cake, Tri-C/ Cleveland State University
  • Andy Allred, Baylor University
  • Kimberly Bundick, Yale University
  • Mary Baker, George Washington University
  • Sarah Clermont, George Washington University
  • Duncan Daviau, MCPHS – Boston
  • Sierra Dickman Cuppett, Shenandoah University
  • Kelsey Cameron, Mercer University
  • Megan Timpone, Emory University
  • Nicole Klopovic, UC Davis
  • Russell Smith, MCPHS – Worcester 
  • Bridget Hovendon, Gannon University
  • Jennifer DeMoss, Marshall B. Ketchum University
  • Jillian Goles, Shenandoah University
  • Jessica Treiber, MCPHS – Boston
Credit:
Susie Gorden of the Congressional Management Foundation and RWJF Fellow Dave Keahey both gave presentations during the fellowship. Photo credit: Tony Miller/PAEA

Fellows heard from a slew of presenters Bess Evans from the White House Office of Public Engagement, Emily Holubowich from the Coalition for Health Funding, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow David Keahey, and AAPA staff among them.

“It’s amazing how much I learned about health policy and advocacy in such a short period of time,” said Suzanne Cake. “I think a lot of students in my generation have turned away from policy and advocacy, but there’s still a lot of good that can be accomplished even if the political arena is far from perfect.”

Treiber and Warren waving to the camera with Capitol Building poster on the wall behind them
Jessica Treiber with Senator Elizabeth Warren. Courtesy: Jessica Treiber
The fellows had the opportunity to immediately put into practice what they had learned during visits to elected officials and congressional staff on Capitol Hill.
“I was thrown out of my comfort zone and taught how to speak to the legislators that help determine the PA profession’s future,” said Jennifer DeMoss. “This experience has sparked my interest in policy and becoming an advocate for my profession.”
SHPF selfies
Perhaps no one told them there was more than one elevator? Photo credit: Kendall Mealy/PAEA and courtesy Jillian Goles

Over the next year, fellows will continue to hone their advocacy skills at their respective institutions with individual advocacy projects, which they’ll work on with the help of mentors from PAEA’s Government Relations & External Affairs Council.

Credit:
Student fellows and PAEA Government Relations staff on the PAEA building’s rooftop. Photo credit: Tracy Guthery/PAEA

“In D.C., changes happen based on ‘groundswell’ and ‘squeaky wheels’,” said Nicole Klopovic. “If we want change, we must encourage more voices to unite and be loud enough to be heard.”

Marsea Nelson
Marsea Nelson

Marsea serves as public affairs manager at the Physician Assistant Education Association. She helps write and edit the Association's external communications.