Grantees and Fellows Advance PA Education and Workforce Research

Since 2018, PAEA Research’s funding of research projects continue to demonstrate an impact on disseminating PA research through presentations at academic and professional conferences and publications in peer-reviewed journals. Many of the previous grantees and Research Fellows have leveraged their work into multiple presentations and publications. For example, 2017-2018 PAEA Research Fellow Virginia Valentin, DrPH, PA-C, presented her research findings for her Fellowship project, “The Impact of State SOP on the Number of PAs in a State and Migration of PA Graduates,” at the 2017 PAEA Education Forum and published a paper in December 2020 issue of the Journal of Physician Assistant Education.

Overall, since last reported in 2017, all PAEA grant and Fellowship awardees’ projects have resulted in:

  • 11 manuscripts published, accepted, or under review in academic journals directly related to their projects.
  • Nine presentations at a professional or academic conference
  • Two poster presentations at a professional or academic conference

We commend our awardees and hope that their efforts motivate other PA faculty to apply for funding.

Don Pedersen Research Grant

The Don Pedersen Research Grant seeks to provide early-career PA researchers an opportunity to conduct research in PA education and workforce development. Grants of up to $7,000 may be awarded, with a total possible allotment of $21,000. In the last three years, many of our grantees developed their research results into publishable works, including:

  • Four manuscripts were published and/or accepted in academic journals directly related to their projects.
  • Four presentations were given at academic or professional conferences.
  • One poster presentation was exhibited at an academic or professional conference.

We appreciate the Pedersen family for their generous and enduring support for PA researchers. Their generous support and the PAEA Board of Directors help to foster the development of PA researchers.

We are in the process of accepting applications for the 2021-2022 Don Pedersen Research Grants Program. Applications must be submitted through the PAEA Research online application platform no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 31, 2021. More information about the program, submission guidelines and formatting requirements can be found here.

AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship

While PAEA has sought to foster faculty development for early-career researchers with the Don Pedersen Research Grant, the organization recognized that mid-career faculty researchers needed a platform to launch themselves into research leadership. In 2017, PAEA and AAPA created the AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship  to fund three one-year fellowships and compensate each fellow’s institution with 20 percent of their base salary up to $25,000.  This provides fellows with protected time to conduct research under the guidance of a mentor, educational activities to broaden their knowledge of medical research, and expands their professional networks to become leaders in PA research.

PAEA and AAPA have funded 10 fellows, which has resulted in:

  • The Fellows being connected with around 10-15 national medical research organizations and engaged with prominent PA researchers each year.
  • Three fellows used the Fellowship to complete their doctoral dissertation, which helped to advance their academic careers.
  • Two former fellows served as fellowship mentors.
  • Four manuscripts were published and/ or under review in academic journals directly related to their projects.
  • Three presentations were given at academic or professional conferences.
  • One fellow now serves as a reviewer for Academic Medicine.

Bettie Coplan, PhD, MPAS, PA-C, found that the funding of protected time for research and valuable educational sessions and networking opportunities were instrumental to her career. She stated:

“When I completed the Fellowship, I was nearing completion of a doctorate, and the support I received was crucial. I was able to broaden my skillset, finish my degree, and establish important connections with other researchers. I am fortunate now to be serving as a mentor to a current fellow,”

As we continue to improve the Fellowship, we intend to implement the Kirkpatrick model, focusing on attracting more applicants and fellows from diverse backgrounds and providing more incentives. These incentives include offering CME credits for seminar sessions and inviting potential applicants to attend the seminars remotely as a recruitment tool.

Currently, we are accepting applications for the 2021-2022 AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship. The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 30.Applications must be submitted through the PAEA Research online application platform. For more information about eligibility, applicant evaluation criteria, and application requirements, please download the 2021-2021 AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship Submission Guidelines or learn more about our current and former fellows, visit the AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship web page.

Faculty-Generated Research Grant

Compared to the Don Pedersen Research Grant and the Fellowship, the Faculty-Generated Research Grant supports projects that propose rigorous, sophisticated methods and analyses to address novel research questions with a substantial investment of up to $50,000. The study should meaningfully expand the existing body of knowledge on PA education and/or the PA profession. Grantees are allotted three years to complete their project and produce publishable findings.

Over the last three years, the three grantees who have completed their projects have contributed to the PA literature by publishing papers and presenting at conferences, including:

  • Three manuscripts were published in peer-reviewed journals
  • Two presentations were given at professional or academic conferences
  • One poster presentation was exhibited at a professional or academic conference

The program exceeded the expectations of Tami Ritsema, PhD, MPH, MMSc, PA-C, and her team. She said:

“Overall, we are proud that we were able to use this dataset for more work than we had promised in our FGRG application.  We have been able to disseminate this work into the Emergency Medicine, Health Services Research and Physician Assistant communities.”

If you are interested in the grant, the next application cycle starts in the summer.

Support to Advance Research (STAR) Program

PAEA is always looking for ways to collaborate with PA faculty at PAEA member PA programs. The STAR Program allows PA faculty researchers to submit no more than 10 survey questions to be included in the PAEA Program Survey. It has increased the frequency of research and scholarly activity among faculty. The program seeks to improve the process for surveying constituents with better questions and fewer surveys and provide a clearinghouse of data that faculty of PAEA member institutions can use to produce scholarly work. As a result, four of the awardees have been able to publish their research related to their contributions. Unfortunately, the disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have suspended the PAEA Program Survey, and the STAR Program is on hold. We hope to have it up and running again as we work on revising our survey collection efforts.

Scientific Meeting Scholarship

Another program that has been suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic is the Scientific Meeting Scholarship. The PAEA Board of Directors has established a fund of $10,000 per fiscal year to award scholarships of up to $2,000 to PA faculty presenting research posters or presentations at scientific meetings other than the PAEA Education Forum or the AAPA Conference. This scholarship is intended to encourage faculty to apply to present at national conferences and increase the visibility of PAs and PA faculty researchers to high-level health care decision-makers. Since Fiscal Year 2017, the scholarship has funded travel expenses for 9 conferences. Eight of the nine conferences attended were international from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada to as far-flung as Ethiopia, Ireland, Singapore, and Switzerland.

Because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions, we are revising the scholarship to fund other professional development opportunities to enhance their research skills. The pandemic has not ended the need for continuing education and we want to use the resources available to support PA faculty in their research careers.

Looking Ahead

PAEA remains committed to increasing access to tools and resources to help PA faculty conduct research in PA education and workforce. Especially during the pandemic, protected time and funding are scarce resources. We are also working to develop more programs to help faculty improve their research skills. In addition, staff members are interested in attracting more applicants and awardees from diverse backgrounds. It is vital to expand the research community, broaden perspectives, and investigate novel research questions.

If you are interested in mentorship or advice on your proposal or have any questions about any of our research funding opportunities prior to submission, please contact us at or 703-651-8540.