Members Adopt New Graduate Competencies, Elect New Board Members at Forum

In between networking, learning, and being inspired by keynote speakers, PAEA members adopted the Core Competencies for New PA Graduates and other policies and elected three new members of the PAEA Board of Directors at the attendance record-breaking PAEA Education Forum in Washington, DC, last week. More than 120 program directors or their designated representatives braved the 7:00 am start to attend the Association’s annual business meeting — the bylaws-mandated yearly meeting where PAEA members hear updates on the Association’s finances and other ongoing work and take action on policies affecting PA education.

Board of Directors Election
In the initial election held during the Forum, and a run-off election held on Tuesday, October 15 — required since no director at large candidate achieved a majority of the vote in the first election — four members were elected to new positions on the Board:

President Elect: Michel Statler, MLA, PA-C, UT Southwestern Medical Center (sitting director at large)

Director at Large:

  • Nicole Burwell, PhD, MSHS, PA-C, Director of Pre-Clerkship Education, Stanford University
  • Reamer Bushardt, PharmD, PA-C, Senior Associate Dean for Health Sciences, George Washington University
  • Linda Sekhon, DHSc, PA-C, Program Director, High Point University

These newly elected members will join Mary Ruggeri, MEd, a student at the Yale Online PA Program, who was selected as the new student member at large through a separate application process in June. PAEA will officially welcome these new members to the Board, and Statler to her new position, on January 1, 2020, and their terms will run through the end of 2022. “I am delighted to serve the Association as the next president elect,” said Statler. “I am looking forward to working with our new CEO, the Board, and staff to take PA education to the next level.”

Core Competencies and Other Policies
The Core Competencies for New PA Graduates, overwhelmingly adopted by the membership, represent the culmination of more than three years’ work by a dedicated interprofessional task force led by PAEA co-chairs Mary Jo Bondy and Karen Hills. Bondy spoke to the motion to adopt the competencies in some detail, noting that the competencies were designed to help define the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that new graduates should be able to demonstrate on their first day of practice, thus better aligning PA education and practice. This was an issue that clearly emerged at the PAEA-hosted 2016 PAEA Stakeholder Summit, which inspired the task force’s work. She noted that the competencies are not binding on PA programs, but are simply a (now PAEA-approved) resource to help them establish their own program outcomes. The Association understands that implementing a competency framework “rests on high-quality assessments that measure the learning that is expected to occur,” said Bondy. “PAEA looks forward to working with our member programs to begin conversations on assessments of the competencies.”

A second major issue on the business meeting agenda was optimal team practice, in the shape of a PAEA position policy designed to summarize briefly PAEA’s more comprehensive investigation of the issue in the final report of our OTP Impact on Education Task Force. A policy drafted by task force leaders and approved by the Board was amended on the floor to remove the word “physician” from before “collaboration,” leaving the final policy that was adopted to read: PAEA supports the goal of optimal team practice to reduce administrative burdens on PAs by establishing collaboration at the practice level.”

Finally, the Association’s position policy “Terminal Degree of the Profession” was pulled from the consent agenda by Shenandoah University PA Program Director Tony Miller, who offered an amendment stating that “PAEA endorses the clinical doctorate as an option for entry-level education.” This motion was ultimately referred to the Board to “determine the most appropriate mechanism for further investigation of this issue.”

The Association’s position policies are defined as “philosophical statements that reflect the Association’s beliefs about the desired state of the world and actions that should be taken by governments and other external bodies” and that must be approved by the membership. They can be found in the PAEA Policies and Procedures Manual. For more detail on the actions taken at the business meeting, read the summary of actions.

Recognizing Service and Passing the Baton
At the end of the meeting, President Jon Bowser presented a plaque to former Immediate Past President Lisa Mustone Alexander, who served most of a three-year presidential cycle but resigned for family reasons before the end of her term as past president. “She been a tremendous servant to the Association and the Board, and a great mentor to me as the person who preceded me as president,” said Bowser.

The meeting ended with the formal passing of the gavel to President Elect Howard Straker, who will take over as president of PAEA on January 1.