In honor of awards season, we were inspired to take a look back at a few of the educators who had made it to the podium to see where their careers have taken them since then.
Mary Warner, MMSc, PA-C
2006 Rising Star Award
When Warner received the Rising Star Award, she’d been a full-time PA educator at Yale University for five years, and program director for a little over two. She later became program director at Boston University, fulfilling her dream of starting a PA program. She recently became the board chair for the NCCPA, and has previously served on the PA History Society Board of Directors.
Reflecting on receiving the award, Warner said, “As was predicted by my mentor, awards matter in academia. Peer recognition for one’s achievements is the highest of professional honors… It is hard to know if the Rising Star Award was solely responsible for successful grant funding pursuits or my position at BU, but I am sure it helped in some way.”
Roderick Hooker, PhD, MBA, PA-C
2002 Research Achievement Award
In 2002, APAP (now PAEA) recognized Roderick Hooker for his impressive record of scholarship through his research efforts at Kaiser Permanente and the University of Texas Southwestern. He later continued his research at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Lewin Group in Falls Church, Virginia. Upon retiring in 2013, Hooker had more than 200 publications to his name. Today he can still be found writing (the 4th edition of the book Physician Assistants: Policy and Practice will be published later this year). He also volunteers regularly, repairing hiking trails and restoring salmon streams in southwest Washington State. (Read more about Hooker’s achievements.)
University of Toledo PA Program
2011 Excellence in Diversity
The PA program at the University of Toledo was recognized for actively recruiting students and faculty from diverse and underserved populations. Since receiving the award, Program Director Patricia Hogue, PhD, PA-C, said they’ve received an increase in underrepresented medicine applications. In 2013, students created the PA Diversity Association, whose events encompass a wide variety of diversity, including the LGBT community. Forty-two percent of the 2015 cohort are minority students.
Susan LeLacheur, DrPH, PA-C
1998 New Faculty Award
“My only recollection on receiving the award is that I was totally tongue-tied and managed only to utter a ‘thank you,’” LeLacheur said, adding that the honor served as “a concrete reminder that my PD and colleagues recognized the value of my work.”
LeLacheur joined the PA faculty at The George Washington University in 1995 where she continues to teach today. Shortly after receiving the award, she began doctoral work in public health, which she completed in 2008. She’s published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, presented at myriad conferences, and in 2015, became a member of PAEA’s Inclusion & Diversity Council.
Anthony Miller, MEd, PA-C
2001 Master Faculty Award
When Tony Miller received the Master Faculty Award in 2001, the Shenandoah University PA program, which he’d spearheaded, had just matriculated its first class. It was the second PA program he had launched. He also helped pioneer the development of PAEA’s Basic Skills and Program Director Leadership Skills workshops.
Eleven years later, Miller joined the PAEA staff as chief policy officer and head of research. He remains on the Shenandoah faculty as a distinguished professor and continues to teach part-time.
Alison Essary, DHSc, MHPE, PA-C
2007 Rising Star Award
When she received the Rising Star Award, Alison Essary was a PA educator at Midwestern University, Glendale. “It was a wonderful time in my career, and I truly felt honored to receive the award,” she said. Five years later, Essary joined Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions as director of student affairs and clinical associate professor. “We work collaboratively with partners across the health and health care communities, both domestically and internationally, toward the goal of health for all,” Essary explained.
Cindy Rossi, MHS, PA-C
2012 Clinical Education Award
When Cindy Rossi received the Clinical Education Award, she had been a faculty member at the Quinnipiac University PA program for 14 years. Today she continues in her role as senior clinical coordinator and has been promoted to clinical professor of PA studies.
“Receiving the award caused me to reflect on what I find rewarding about PA education,” Rossi said. “It helped me to recognize the impact I’ve had on students and, subsequently, future PAs.”
Monica Medina McCurdy, PA-C
2004 New Faculty Award
Monica Medina McCurdy was a faculty member at the Drexel University PA program when she received the New Faculty Award. After three and a half years at the institution, she left academia to work full-time at a family practice. In 2009, she joined the staff of Project HOME (where she’d previously worked as a grant writer/development director) as health care coordinator. The nonprofit aims to end the cycle of homelessness and poverty. McCurdy helped greatly expand the organization’s free clinic, which employs more than 40 staff. She now serves as vice president of health care services. “It’s been quite a steep learning curve!” said McCurdy.