Membership Adopts PA Educator Competencies, Elects Officers at Forum

At the Association’s annual business meeting at the PAEA Education Forum in Anaheim last month, PAEA members adopted a set of competencies for the PA educator, endorsed the Association’s Cultural Competencies for PA Students, and made some minor changes to the bylaws. In an onsite election and a separate run-off election held last week, the membership also elected a new Board of Directors for 2019.

Members heard updates from other PA organizations at the business meeting, as well as from PAEA leaders. Treasurer Carl Garrubba was pleased to report that the Association remains in an excellent financial position, with net assets increasing by more than $850,000, due primarily to growth in investment accounts. Journal of Physician Assistant Education Editor in Chief David Asprey noted that the journal has been accessed in more than 50 countries now and that a determination of whether JPAE will receive an “impact factor” is expected some time in 2019.

Board of Directors Election

More than 65 percent of voting member programs participated in the Board election, which saw the following positions filled:

President Elect: Howard Straker, EdD, MPH, PA, George Washington University

Secretary: Janie McDaniel, MS, MLS(ASCP)SC, Yale PA Online Program

Treasurer: Carl Garrubba, MPA, PA-C, CPA, Dominican University of California

Directors at Large: Dipu Patel, MPAS, PA-C, Northeastern University; Michael Roscoe, PhD, PA-C, University of Evansville

Terms for these positions will begin January 1, when president elect Jon Bowser will assume the presidency. One Board member will who be stepping off the Board at that point is William Kohlhepp, DHSc, PA-C, who received a warm round of applause for his nine years of Board service – two terms as treasurer and a three-year presidential cycle.

Competencies and OTP

Two projects that did not come to completion at the Forum but remain solidly in the Association’s plans are the “Core Competencies for New PA Graduates” and the ongoing work of the Impact of OTP on PA Education Task Force, both of which saw membership action postponed at the business meeting.

Mary Jo Bondy, co-chair of the Core Competencies for New Graduates Task Force, told members that the task force chairs and Board had decided to postpone a vote on the competencies, in light of a reference to “competencies as defined by the PA profession” in the just-released draft 5th edition of the accreditation standards, and the recent establishment of a Four Org task force that is working to align the new graduate competencies and the professional competencies. “We hope the work we have done thus far will inform the future definition of professional competency,” said Bondy, and perhaps even contribute to “defining a continuum of competency from graduation through a PA’s career.” PAEA will continue to seek feedback on the new graduate competencies, which will come back to the membership in some form for action at the 2019 business meeting.

Membership action on the work of the OTP Impact on PA Education Task Force was similarly delayed. The task force, which included representation from all of the Four Orgs, as well as from organized medicine, PA employers, and the VA, has drafted a 20-page paper and some initial recommendations, but ultimately came up against the fact that OTP is a still-evolving concept, the definition of which has changed since PAEA surveyed member programs on the original “full practice authority and responsibility” framing in 2017. “We know this report will become part of the public domain and reflect on the external stakeholders who have been engaged in this process,” said task force chair Michel Statler, MLA, PA-C, in her report to members. The task force will continue its work and bring a final report to the 2019 PAEA business meeting.

The PA Educator Competencies were approved unanimously. This document identifies “competencies that faculty [need] to develop across the career spectrum, from novice to expert, based on the specific roles available to faculty in PA programs,” and was developed by a PAEA task force charged by the Board to develop a pathway for new faculty to guide their career development. Two leaders of the task force, Joe Zaweski and Mona Sedrak, walked members through the task force’s process for developing the competencies and revising them based on member input, and led a brief question and answer session. The educator competencies will now be used to help drive the Association’s faculty development offerings and development of resources to help faculty attain the competencies.