PA Faculty Named to Influential HRSA Advisory Committees

PAEA’s efforts to increase PA faculty representation on federal advisory committees have continued to progress with two PA educators having recently been appointed by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to serve as Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) advisory committee members. 

Elias Villarreal, MPAS, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, Department Chair and Program Director at Northern Arizona University, has been named to the National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps (NACNHSC) and Patricia McKelvey Dieter, MPA, RN, PA-C, Chief of the Division of Physician Assistant Studies at Duke University, has been named as the first PA/RN to serve on the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP). 

Established in 1964, the NACNEP is charged with advising the HHS Secretary and Congress on the administration of nursing workforce development programs authorized under Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act. Conversely, the NACNHSC is tasked with providing strategic guidance to agency and congressional stakeholders on the National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs. 

Similar to Title VII, programs administered under Title VIII seek to improve clinical education opportunities, promote student and faculty diversity, and strengthen the pipeline of graduates to rural and underserved communities. The National Health Service Corps complements this work by providing direct support to students and clinicians in exchange for practicing in a health professional shortage area. A major component of the work of both of these committees is to promote interdisciplinary approaches to the delivery of health services. 

“Nursing has always been an important base in my career journey.  I look forward to working again with nursing colleagues to address mutual challenges in clinical education, diversity, and placement of graduates where they are most needed,” said Dieter. 

“I have been advocating for and encouraging PA students to take advantage of the NHSC program my entire 24-year career as a professional PA educator. NHSC funding connects PAs working at the top of their license with populations in critical need of better access to care. As our profession begins an era of new policy-making that envelopes the physician-PA team model and optimal team practice, I am happy and quite honored to participate as our profession’s fierce advocate and representative on this key federal assignment,” said Villarreal. 

Throughout her career, Dieter has developed a significant track record of service on federal advisory committees including HRSA’s Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry (ACTPCMD). Prior to serving in this role, Dieter cultivated extensive grants administration experience, including Duke University’s Expansion of Physician Assistant Training (EPAT) grant and helped to administer an Advanced Nursing Education (ANE) award.  

During his tenure in PA education, Villarreal has cultivated significant expertise in the work of the National Health Service Corps, having partnered with the Arizona Department of Health Services and Arizona Alliance of Community Health Centers to encourage students to pursue scholarship and loan repayment programs and practice in underserved communities. The NAU PA program currently enrolls 9 NHSC scholars, partners with NHSC-awarded alumni to precept for the program, hires former NHSC-awarded faculty, and seeks out clinical sites and preceptors interested in becoming NHSC sites. Many of NAU’s alumni are also award recipients of Arizona’s Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). The program, with Dr. Villarreal’s leadership and expertise, has established a successful model that attracts future PAs to practice in underserved settings while benefiting from state and federal resources.  

The Association would like to congratulate Dr. Villarreal and Ms. Dieter on their successful appointments. Faculty with questions on federal advisory committee service opportunities are invited to contact Tyler Smith at