PA Faculty and Students Make Spring the Season for Advocacy
Following a string of significant recent advocacy victories, PA faculty and students from across the country are keeping up the pressure on their elected representatives to advance PAEA’s advocacy agenda. To continue the momentum, the Association’s Government Relations team has facilitated several key opportunities for faculty and students to share the impact of federal policy on PA education and advocate for legislative priorities in alignment with PAEA’s vision of Health for All.
On March 24, PAEA sponsored the Association’s annual congressional briefing entitled, “Strengthening the Nation’s Health Workforce: The Critical Role of Title VII Investments.” The briefing, led by a panel of PA educators, highlighted how federal investments in health workforce development are being leveraged by PA programs to address priorities such as clinical training site access and student diversity. At the start of the session, PAEA President Kara Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C, delivered opening remarks emphasizing the growing challenges facing PA education in the wake of COVID-19 and endorsing the recommendation of the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition of $1.51 billion for Title VII and VIII health workforce development programs in fiscal year 2023. Following these remarks, Carolyn Bradley-Guidry, DrPH, MPAS, PA-C, discussed how the Title VII Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program transformed the student body at the UT Southwestern Medical Center PA program by investing in the education of aspiring PAs from a range of diverse backgrounds. The session then concluded with a presentation by Nina Multak, PhD, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, on the relationship between the University of Florida PA program and Area Health Education Centers, which are critical for facilitating more student clinical placements in rural and underserved communities.
Following this year’s successful congressional briefing, PAEA facilitated the Association’s annual Spring Advocacy Day, which included PA students and faculty from the Morehouse School of Medicine, University of Washington-MEDEX, University of Colorado, MGH Institute of Health Professions, and University of Southern California PA programs. The event, which provided training to PA students and faculty in policy and advocacy, resulted in more than 70 participants meeting with their congressional representatives to generate support for the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act and the Physician Assistant Education Public Health Initiatives Act. If enacted, these bills would achieve long-standing aims for PA education including restored access to subsidized Stafford loans for PA students, expanded clinical training opportunities in underserved settings, and investments in PA program development at minority-serving institutions.
While these efforts represent a significant step forward for this year’s legislative agenda, the work does not end here. As the Government Relations team works to build upon these efforts, we need your help. There are many ways to get involved in PAEA’s advocacy initiatives such as:
- Encouraging your students to apply for this year’s Student Health Policy Fellowship taking place virtually from September 12-14 beginning on May 2;
- Hosting a member of Congress at your program for a tour and/or Q&A session; or
- Contacting your elected representatives on key policy issues for PA education via PAEA’s Grassroots Action Network
Through the collective work of the PA education advocacy community, we can meaningfully equip all programs, faculty, and students to best meet the needs of patients. Members and students with questions on getting involved with PAEA’s advocacy initiatives are invited to contact tsmith@PAEAonline.org.