AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship

PAEA and the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) offer three one-year research fellowships annually. This program provides a substantial investment to strengthen the research skills and productivity of qualified PA faculty, to conduct research and submit papers on behalf of PAEA for its educational and organizational use, and to develop the next generation of PA research leaders.

The AAPA-PAEA Fellowship provides 20 percent of the recipient’s base salary up to $25,000 to each fellow’s institution to secure protected time for research, to permit a 20 percent time release from teaching and other activities to allow them to focus on scholarly activity of interest to the PA profession and PA education, as well as a travel stipend of up to $7,500.

Fellows are expected to use the release time to develop their research skills by completing and providing to PAEA a research project under the guidance of a mentor, engaging in educational activities, and broadening their knowledge of PA education and the PA profession. By the conclusion of the fellowship, fellows should have completed their research and have their findings prepared for publication and presentation.

Individuals selected for the Fellowship will be conferred the title of AAPA-PAEA Research Fellow.

Current fellows

Learn about our current fellows and their research topics.

Vanessa Bester

Vanessa Bester, EdD, PA-C
Augsburg University PA Program

Rigorous and Valid Qualitative Research:  African American PA Student Success

Dr. Bester began teaching PA students in the clinical setting in 2007 and transitioned to full-time PA education in 2012, while continuing to maintain her clinical PA practice.

Dr. Bester’s primary research focus is inclusion and diversity within the PA profession and qualitative methodologies. Dr. Bester has published articles related to HIV and infectious diseases, military PAs, and the retention and barriers of minority PAs, faculty, and students. She serves on PAEA’s Diversity and Inclusion Mission Advancement Committee and is also the Primary Investigator for a Minnesota Department of Health Grant to educate students on opiate addiction treatment and expand PA student clinical training opportunities to urban and rural underserved communities in Minnesota.


Kari Bernard

Kari Bernard, MS, PA-C
MEDEX Northwest

Assistant Burnout and the Role of Career Development and Physician Relationship

Kari Bernard has practiced clinically in cardiac electrophysiology, emergency medicine, urgent care, and occupational medicine since 2004.  She began her research training in 2016 through Walden University. After joining the faculty of the University of Washington MEDEX Northwest PA program as a lecturer at the Anchorage campus, where she is currently the campus director, she changed her focus from clinical practice to education and research. Kari  is currently pursuing a doctor of philosophy in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Learn about our previous fellows