Partnerships

We’ve Settled into Our New Office Space — What’s Next?

By Timi Agar Barwick, MPMJune 5, 2015

teams interconnected graphic

Moving into Washington, D.C., in March was a significant step on the journey toward reaching our strategic goals, but it was just the first step.

You’ve heard about why our move to the AAMC headquarters is important for advancing PAEA’s mission and goals, but that’s only the beginning. There is much more to the story. How exactly do we plan to get that job done? How can we ensure our investment (our programs’ dues dollars) pays off? I’d like to share five highlights of our strategy:

  1. Significantly expand visibility and interaction between PAEA leadership and staff and AAMC leadership and staff.

    The relationship we envision with the AAMC is not a partnership in name only and is by no means a distant relationship. We are in the same building, having more formal and informal conversations facilitated by proximity — board to board, staff to staff, board to staff. Our board met with AAMC President Darrell Kirch and his senior team in January. Earlier this week, I and another new neighbor, the CEO of the American Dental Education Association, met with the AAMC board of directors. On a daily basis — in the lobby, hallways, and cafeteria — our staffs are connecting. 

  1. Build an infrastructure to support new collaborations — partnerships, programs, products, and services.

    As we think about our work in fresh and novel ways, we also plan to support it differently. This year, four new staff positions to help us realize our ambitious, yet achievable, goals have been included in our upcoming budget. Funds are also being set aside to bring specialized expertise to certain initiatives using consultants from technology, education, and other fields. We are building a flexible workforce to address the changing needs in both health care and education.

  1. Involve members in the partnership.

    In March, PAEA’s Faculty Development Council chair and our chief academic officer together met with AAMC’s medical education staff. In April, the four PA organizations (AAPA, NCCPA, ARC-PA, and PAEA) met with leaders of the AAMC Center for Workforce Studies. As a result of those meetings, a joint initiative bridging education and practice is now being planned.

  1. Lead.

    Just seeing each other more often and meeting more frequently is not enough. We need to show up as leaders in those interactions. As one of the five pillars of PAEA’s strategic plan, the Association’s commitment to leadership is expanding. To demonstrate that commitment, our approved FY16 budget resources leadership initiatives at unprecedented levels.

    Of particular note is PAEA’s renewed investment in students as future educators, leaders, and advocates. The budget proposes that the Student Advocacy Fellowship program, piloted last year, not only be expanded but become a permanent program of the Association. A new Future Educator Fellowship program was also launched this year. These are just a couple of examples of our increased efforts to build an effective leadership pipeline. We realize that for our collaboration with the AAMC and other partners to be sustained, our leadership is critical.

  1. Put mission and values first – “Talk the talk and walk the walk.”

    Perhaps the most important part of our strategy is staying true to our mission and values. One observation our staff has made in our interactions with our new partners is how often and how well they articulate their mission and values. We should take a page from their book, because this is certainly something we can work on improving. We need to bring our mission and values front and center, as the foundation for decisions and as the meaning behind our ramped up work.

We are looking to share mission moments — reminders of why we are here — with you at the Forum in November. We will be interested to hear how you think we are doing.

Timi Agar Barwick
Timi Agar Barwick, MPM

Timi is the chief executive officer of the Physician Assistant Education Association. She represents PA education through several national appointments, including current service as the Vice President of the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions.