AAPA–PAEA Research Fellowship Commences at 2017 Education Forum

The AAPA–PAEA Faculty Research Fellowship kicked off with a luncheon at the 2017 PAEA Education Forum to honor and introduce the three fellows to staff and leadership of both organizations. In attendance were the staff of the PAEA and AAPA research departments and the Advisory Council who designed the fellowship and selected the inaugural cohort of fellows.

The goal of the fellowship is to “build the research capacity of PA faculty and develop leaders to represent, advance, and elevate PAs in health professions research.” The fellowship pays for one day per week of protected time to work on research.

The inaugural cohort of three fellows consists of Alicia Quella, PhD, MPAS, PA-C, clinical associate professor and director of the Augsburg University PA Program in Minneapolis; Christina Hanson, MPAS, PA-C, associate professor at the Bethel University PA Program in St. Paul, Minnesota; and Virginia Valentin, DrPH, PA-C, associate professor and associate director of the University of Utah PA Program. We had a chance to catch up with all three and learn a little about them, their research projects, their thoughts on the most pressing topics in PA education research right now, and what parts of the Fellowship they’re most looking forward to.



In January, the fellows will attend the Research Seminar Week at the PAEA offices in Washington, DC. Over the course of the year, the fellows and Advisory Council will meet with representatives of the National Academy of Medicine, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Robert Graham Center, and researchers from the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Association of American Medical Colleges. Additional meetings are scheduled with the George Washington Health Workforce Institute, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and a panel of editors in chief from Academic Medicine, the Journal of the American Academy of PAs, and the Journal of Physician Assistant Education.

PAEA President Bill Kohlhepp, DHSc, PA-C, and PAEA CEO Timi Agar Barwick, MPM, were joined by AAPA President Gail Curtis, MPAS, PA-C, and AAPA CEO Jenna Dorn, MPA, to mark the occasion and recognize the collaborative effort and hard work that resulted in the Research Fellowship becoming a reality. In 2016, the PAEA Board of Directors allocated funding for two fellows, and AAPA funded one. An award of up to $25,000 will go to each fellow’s institution to underwrite dedicated time for their research along with an additional travel stipend of up to $7,500 to attend and present at the 2017–2018 AAPA and PAEA conferences and two in-person meetings in the Washington, DC, area. Eligibility requirements are aimed at selecting early career faculty who have been in PA education for less than 10 years and have received their doctorate within the past five years.

PAEA’s Chief Policy and Research Officer David Keahey, MSPH, PA-C, noted that the fellowship is “not just about the research papers and presentations that will accrue from the fellows’ work during their time with us. It is about developing PA research leaders of the future who will now have connections with other researchers and thought leaders from influential organizations across the spectrum.”

PAEA and AAPA will begin accepting applications for the second cohort of fellows in the summer of 2018. Please visit the AAPA–PAEA Research Fellowship webpage for more information or contact