Don Pedersen Awardee Addresses Race and Ethnicity in PA Program Admissions

Samuel Paik, MSPAS, PA-C

After a competitive process and blinded peer-review by the PAEA Grants & Scholarship Review Committee, PAEA is pleased to announce that Samuel Paik, MSPAS, PA-C, assistant professor at Charles Drew University, has been awarded a 2021-2022 Don Pedersen Research Grant. This is the first research grant awarded to a minority serving institution (MSI). Professor Paik and his co-principal investigator, Lucy Kibe, DrPH, PA-C, program director at Charles Drew University, will be investigating race and ethnicity in PA program admissions in their project, Black Males Applicants in PA Education: A Comparative Review of Applicant Parameters

Professor Paik seeks to lead other medical professions in identifying disparities in diversity and addressing them clearly and boldly. Recent research elucidates the great disparity within the PA profession in terms of race and ethnicity, particularly Black men. This group of people is one of the most marginalized in society and it is reflected poignantly in our health care system as well as graduate level health programs. 

The goal of the project is to provoke a rethinking of admission policy. Paik notes that many programs lack the tools to adequately assess their efforts to attract and retain PA students. In PA education, students are taught evidence-based medicine. In that vein, Paik and Dr. Kibe will apply scientific methods and statistical analysis to identify disparities among Black male applicants and encourage evidence-based practice in admissions to promote greater equity and inclusion of Black males in the PA profession. 

In terms of specific policy and practice implications, Professor Paik and Dr. Kibe are studying how the GRE and GPA impact acceptance and matriculation of Black men into PA programs. Standardized testing is starting to fall out of favor in many prestigious institutions and admission criteria are changing. Paik asserts that it is important to consider other parameters in admissions that are more emblematic of what a successful PA student and PA is. 

PAEA wishes Professor Paik and Dr. Kibe all the best in their research endeavors. Attracting and retaining faculty and students from diverse backgrounds is one of our research priorities, and we look forward to their contributions to the PA field.  

 All of this would not be possible without the generous support of Don Pedersen, PhD, PA-C, and his wife, Kathy Pedersen, MPAS, PA-C. Join us in thanking the Pedersen family and the PAEA Board of Directors for helping to foster the development of PA researchers.  

If you are interested in applying for a research grant, Professor Paik encourages you to “find something that moves you. If this topic is on your mind as you wake up and as your head hits the pillow, I believe it is worth exploring.”    

PAEA Research is here to support your research passion and answer questions about how to apply for grants, how to find a mentor, or how to get started on the path to PA research. Contact us at or 703-651-8540.