Diversity Outreach in San Antonio

In a first-ever collaborative recruitment event, PAEA and AAPA joined forces to host more than 50 students at the AAPA Conference in San Antonio, Texas, in May. The goals of the event were to kick-start PAEA’s diversity-focused recruitment effort and to reach out to minority student groups with information about becoming a PA.

Excitement was high and the attendees were eager to learn about PA education and how to prepare for the application process and beyond. The event was planned around a general timeline of identifying interest in being a PA, the application and admissions process, financing PA school, and post-graduation.

Several fantastic speakers were on hand to lead informative sessions, including:

  • The PA Profession: Fast-Growing and Well-Paid, addressing the current state of the PA profession and AAPA’s most recent salary report.
    • Katie Desmond, assistant director of student membership & development and PA program relations, and Tim McCall, research analyst at AAPA
  • The Insider’s Guide to PA Admissions, discussing necessary preparation before applying to PA school.
    • David Brissette, assistant professor at Yale University; Barbara Quillin, program director and association chair at the University of Texas HSC at San Antonio; and Douglas Brock, research, associate professor at the University of Washington
  • The PA Alumni Experience, sharing experiences of PA program alumni and where they are now.
    • Maureen Doyle, PA-C, Yale University PA program alum; Sixtus Atabong, MPAS, PA-C, Texas Tech University PA program alum; and Cynthia Lord, MHS, PA-C, Case Western Reserve University PA program director
  • How to Pay for PA School, addressing financial aid opportunities before entering PA school.
    • Jacqui Comshaw, Yale University PA program director of operations; and Daniel Wood, PA-C, University of Texas HSC at San Antonio lead PA and clinical instructor

Each presenter also participated in a one-on-one meeting with attendees, where they reviewed transcripts and resumes and offered advice on how to take the right steps toward becoming a successful PA student and practitioner.

While the event targeted underrepresented minorities from San Antonio-area community colleges, word spread quickly, and some students traveled a few or more hours just to attend. We even met a couple of participants from Maine and Minnesota. In total, there were 52 attendees, representing a wide variety of backgrounds and demographics. (If you’re interested, you can review the attendee data.)

At the conclusion of this successful event, we shared speaker presentation materials with attendees and issued a follow-up survey. We are in the process of collecting that survey data now, but anticipate positive feedback and hope to build excitement and engagement for our next event, which will take place in Minneapolis during the 2016 Education Forum.

A special thank you goes out to all of our presenters, the event coordinators (Jacqui Comshaw, Katie Desmond, and Barbara Quillin), and AAPA for co-sponsoring the event and providing the space.