GW PA Students Make Their Case on Capitol Hill

PA students from The George Washington University (GW) PA program recently had the opportunity to develop their advocacy skills, build relationships with congressional staff, and advance key PA education legislation in Congress.

Following a morning of training on PAEA’s legislative agenda and how to conduct effective advocacy meetings, the students divided into groups to meet with their representatives on Capitol Hill.

“Many of the students shared that they appreciated the opportunity to practice advocacy with the guidance and coaching provided by the PAEA team and their classmates,” said Debra Herrmann, assistant professor of PA studies at GW. “As someone who had to jump into an advocacy situation without any training at all, I personally feel more confident in these skills than I did before.”

The primary goal of the GW Hill Day was to build support in the House of Representatives for H.R. 1603, the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act, and H.R. 1605, the Physician Assistant Education Public Health Initiatives Act. Each of these bills, introduced by PA and former PA educator Congressmember Karen Bass (D-CA), is designed to advance key priorities of PA education, including promoting diversity, facilitating faculty development, and improving research capacity.

In each of the 35 meetings that took place, the students provided legislative staff with information about PA education and the PA profession, their experiences as students, and the need for policy reform on issues ranging from student loans to program development.

This was a great learning experience on advocacy and leadership. The students were nervous at the start of the Hill visits — even with their preparation. By the end, they were confident in their ability to advocate on their own and on their patients’ behalves in the future,” said Howard Straker, secretary of PAEA’s Board of Directors and assistant professor of PA studies at GW.

PAEA’s Government Relations team would like to thank the GW PA students and the program’s faculty for their advocacy and leadership on behalf of PA education.