Leadership Blog

2021 PAEA Education Forum Reflections

It’s hard to believe that the 2021 PAEA Education Forum has come to a close. Throughout the week, it was deeply meaningful to be involved in discussions that will shape the future of the PA profession as we know it. As PAEA President and a PA educator, I know how much our members have craved connection throughout the past year. Gathering at the Forum felt like a true homecoming, a deep breath, and a celebration of our resilience. Reconnecting with each other and experiencing the genuine camaraderie and support of this community is always so re-energizing.

During the Forum, we loved hearing how you are building the future you want to see by taking action in your programs today. During the conference, our members issued a clear call for PAEA to continue our work on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Attendees discussed the need to build more robust pipelines to increase the diversity of our applicants, which will ultimately increase the diversity of our students, educators, and the PA profession. Many conversations centered around members’ efforts to increase the number of clinical sites and preceptor relationships. Attendees also related to one another on our busy schedules and how it can be challenging to prioritize wellness in our own lives. Many of us acknowledged that we prioritize our students’ wellness but find it difficult to make time for ourselves.

We also loved hearing our two keynote speakers’ advice on how we can reframe our challenges and manage change. In her opening keynote speech, Mel Robbins shared how we can use the 5-second rule to close the gap between thinking and action. She also shared how the high-five habit can replace tendencies of being self-critical with positive affirmations. In Friday’s closing keynote address, Cassandra Worthy shared a strategy for identifying stressors and using signal emotions as an invitation to grow. She left us with a challenge to identify the event or struggle in our own lives that inspires the strongest “signal emotion,” to identify three ways it is inviting us to grow, and then commit to one action you will take to seize that opportunity.

Finally, I want to thank the extraordinary PAEA staff and volunteers who went above and beyond to plan this year’s Forum. The outstanding programming quality and intimate experience provided at the 2021 PAEA Education Forum was entirely due to their thoughtful planning and attention to our members’ most significant needs and goals. Please join us in recognizing all the dedication, hard work, and creativity that helped make the event a success.

Continue Your Forum Momentum

Become a Volunteer

The 2022 volunteer application cycle is now open. As a volunteer, you can directly impact the profession while developing your own skills and experiences — and making valuable connections with colleagues across the country. Join our network of leaders by applying for one of our open positions today!

To be considered for one or more of the open positions, please apply by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, October 29. Apply here.

Share Your Story

Does your program have a successful strategy or unique approach that other PA educators might find helpful? Share your story at our Member Stories page, where we highlight our members’ most innovative ideas, accomplishments, personal stories, and program milestones.

Continue the Conversation

Stay in touch with your colleagues by joining the conversations in PAEA’s Professional Learning Communities. PLCs are online communities where you can have conversations that matter in an easy and convenient format. Within the PLCs, you can ask questions, upload documents, share tools and resources, and archive important discussions in one convenient location. The Forum may have ended; however, the conversation continues through our virtual retreats, which will take place from November 1 to November 19. This year, gather with your peers to continue the robust dialogue started at the Forum. Virtual retreat registration will open soon – watch your inbox for more information.

Looking Ahead

2022 marks the 50th anniversary of our Association. As I look back on the last 50 years, I’m reminded that PAEA is strong because of you, our members. Your collective ideas and energy have continued to guide and shape us from day one until now. Over the last 50 years, PAEA has grown tremendously thanks to your selfless commitment to sharing ideas and striving toward the common goal of providing the best possible education for your students and advancing PA education.

Over the next year, PAEA will celebrate our progress as a profession and an Association. We’ll share stories that reflect on key moments in our history, highlight our members’ impressive accomplishments, and share our vision for PAEA’s growing role in advancing the profession and graduating future generations of compassionate, practice-ready PAs.

As a part of this celebration, PAEA will be collecting photos and stories from our past 50 years to share with our members. You can submit your stories, reflections, and photos at our PAEA Member Stories page. We can’t wait to start sharing our history through your lens over the upcoming year.