AAPA-PAEA Research Fellows Return to In-Person Forum Presentations

Pictured from left to right: Yolanda Freeman-Hildreth, PhD, PA-C; Nick Hudak, MPA, MSEd, PA-C; Alice Eggleston, MPH, PA-C; Bethany Grubb, MPAS, MPH, PA-C; and Chris Roman, DMS, PA-C.

On October 14 and 15, 2022, the AAPA-PAEA Research Fellows presented their research activities in person at the PAEA Education Forum in San Diego, California. On the first day, the 2021-2022 fellows, Alice Eggleston, MPH, PA-C; Yolanda Freeman-Hildreth, PhD, PA-C; and Nick Hudak, MPA, MSEd, PA-C, briefly updated attendees on their research progress. The 2022-2023 fellows, Bethany Grubb, MPAS, MPH, PA-C, and Chris Roman, DMS, PA-C, followed with brief introductions of their projects, which will be completed in the upcoming year.

During her Fellowship, Professor Grubb is focusing on developing leadership opportunities for PA students and practitioners at the local, state, and federal levels. Dr. Roman is also pursuing research that addresses concerns about licensure and stigma among PAs and PA students who live with mental health challenges.

This year, the presentations were extended into a second day, during which the 2021-2022 fellows provided deeper dives into their research findings. Alice Eggleston found that PAs working on clinical trials positively contribute a broad range of skills, abilities, experiences, and enthusiasm, regardless of prior clinical research experience. Moving forward, more structured trainings or awareness of non-traditional roles for PAs, particularly in the clinical research field, are needed to expand the PA workforce.

In her presentation, Dr. Freeman-Hildreth provided insights into best practices for improving URM recruitment and retention among PA programs. Her study examined how to create a program climate that favors inclusivity through:

  • Educators and students gaining greater self-awareness of their existent biases and mechanisms to mitigate these biases.
  • Open dialogue about inclusivity and creating a safe space for URM students to voice concerns without fear of retaliation.

In addition, Dr. Freeman-Hildreth identified the long-term implications of her work, including reducing healthcare disparities and improving quality of care.

Nick Hudak used the Fellowship to complete his PhD dissertation on the effect of program policy on PA students’ reports of mistreatment. He found that reporting was more likely among older students experiencing mistreatment and if the reported transgressions involved physical or sexual behavior. However, program policy variables were not associated with reporting behavior. Because the study relied on a sample from 2019, more research is needed to examine different variables, interventions to prevent mistreatment, corrective actions, and student support. After two Forum presentations, Hudak feels prepared to defend his dissertation on October 26, 2022. We wish him all the best!

Thank you to all of attendees, volunteers, and PAEA staff that made it possible for fellows to share their research and connect in person. PAEA aims to advance PA research and build a strong cohort of leaders in research within our profession. We look forward to seeing where the fellows’ career paths guide them as they employ the skills and knowledge gained during their AAPA-PAEA Fellowship year.