Student Health Policy Fellowship

Grassroots advocacy has been re-energized in the past year, as concerned citizens have made their voices heard to their elected representatives on a wide range of issues from the Affordable Care Act to gun control. More than ever, it’s crucial for policymakers to hear from PA students on the issues that matter most to them.

Are you curious about how things really get done in Washington? Then apply for the 2018–2019 PAEA Student Health Policy Fellowship (SHPF) program. Up to 14 PA students will be selected to participate in this special program designed to develop leadership and advocacy skills.


The SHPF is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the political process and health policy. The ultimate goal is to inspire and prepare fellows for lifelong grassroots advocacy, both in Washington and at home, that promotes the PA profession as an integral part of the health care system.

This program starts with a three-day intensive workshop in Washington, DC, where fellows will learn about advocacy and policymaking processes, interact with fellow leaders, and meet with their representatives and staff on Capitol Hill. By the end of the fellowship, participants will have developed skills in three key areas:

Fellows will learn how the legislative process works at the federal level and how to become effective advocates for PA education and the PA profession.

Fellows will build and refine the skills necessary to organize and lead others in both advancing health policy priorities and serving as an advocate for the PA profession at the local, state, and national levels.

PAs and the Health Care Environment
Fellows will develop an appreciation for grassroots advocacy in advancing the goals of PA education and practice in communities.


In addition to the three-day meeting in Washington, DC, the fellowship requires that each participant complete an advocacy project under the guidance of a program faculty mentor by September 2019 and agree to participate in periodic follow-up surveys from PAEA. Advocacy projects should be creative and demonstrate a positive impact on the PA profession, local or state community, or PA programs. Examples of past projects include:

  • Organizing a lobby day at the state capitol
  • Hosting a member of Congress at your PA program
  • Student advocacy presentations at PA state association meetings
  • PA awareness campaigns with community health centers

Students who are accepted will receive guidelines on the development of a project proposal during the fellowship experience in Washington, DC.


Deadline for fellowship application: July 13
Notification of selection: August 1
Student Health Policy Fellowship meeting: September 9–12

To Apply

Interested candidates must submit application materials through the online application form. Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on July 13. Applications must include the following:

  1. Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  2. A completed program director certification form
  3. A personal statement describing past experiences in health policy, leadership/advocacy of any type, or why you would like to pursue this opportunity.
  4. A policy analysis addressing a prevalent policy issue in PA education. Each applicant must choose one section below from either the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act of 2017 (HR 1603) OR the Physician Assistant Education Public Health Initiatives Act of 2017 (HR 1605) and reflect on the impact the provision could have on PA education. Consider what passage of this legislation would mean for PA students, faculty, and/or programs. Please choose from the following sections:
    • HR 1603, Section 2: Increasing Loan Limits for Physician Assistant Students Under the Federal Direct Loan Program
    • HR 1603, Section 4: Grants for Physician Assistant Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions
    • HR 1605, Section 4: Grants for Research on Physician Assistant Education

For both the personal statement and policy analysis, please limit your submissions to two pages (double-spaced).


All PA students in an accredited PAEA member program are eligible and encouraged to apply, including incoming, first-year, and second-year students. Incoming PA students are eligible to apply if they will be enrolled as of September 1, 2018. Second-year students are eligible to apply if their graduation date is no earlier than August 1, 2018.

The program director must sign the certification form, attest that the student is in good academic and professional standing, and agree that the student will be released from classes September 9–12, 2018. In addition, the program director must assign a faculty mentor in advance to assist the fellow with the advocacy project.

Women, minorities, and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Selection Criteria

  1. Completed application per instructions
  2. Creativity of personal statement and responses to questions
  3. Proof of eligibility as described above


Fellows will be covered for all reasonable expenses including travel, hotel, and meals during the fellowship. Please note: students will not be required to cover travel and hotel costs up front. PAEA will reserve hotel space, and travel arrangements will be made directly with PAEA’s travel agency.


Apply now


Please email with any questions.