Celebrating 50 Years: Karen Hills Past President Snapshot

 What was happening in PA education during your year as president?   

PA Education received a lot of positive attention in 2014. I remember having the opportunity to record a video for President Obama on the importance of the Affordable Care Act and the role physician assistants play in delivering quality care to vulnerable populations. As I review that video in 2022, I am struck by how much I have learned about camera presence during the past few years of PAEA “going virtual” in our educational programming. It was also in August of 2014 that PA Education was featured in the New York Times’ Education Life series. I remember the excitement surrounding this positive press and how my own students were happy to share their profession and showcase their experience with a national audience.

What were the highlights of your presidency?

The year of my presidency was the year the Board of Directors expanded from eight members to 12. As the needs of the Association grew, it was recognized that PAEA needed more leaders for good governance and oversight of the organization. We also understood that the investment in strong leaders was important for the future of PAEA. Because we were expanding our team, it was critical that all members of the Board felt that they had a voice and a role to contribute.

Looking back on your PAEA presidency, what are you most proud of?

I am proud of the inclusive Board culture I created that allowed for input and suggestions from everyone at the table. A meeting facilitation tool I employed was the importance of starting a meeting with a “check-in.” Giving everyone a chance to share how they were doing in that moment helped to break the ice, ensure all were comfortable speaking, and gave us the chance to lead with vulnerability and strength. I see this “check-in” tradition carried on today and it makes me happy to know that our current leaders have – and our future ones will have – a voice at the table.