PAEA Presents Program Showcases: Another Virtual Way to Connect with Colleagues

Out of necessity, PA programs have been creating innovative curriculum, so PAEA has introduced a platform for faculty to showcase those innovations, share their scholarly presentations, and facilitate connections – allowing programs to benefit from each others’ ideas and not have to reinvent the wheel.

Shani Fleming and Karen Gordes from the Physician Assistant Leadership and Learning Academy at the University of Maryland–Baltimore Graduate School and Shannon Anderson from the Oregon Health & Science University PA program kicked off the series on August 3 with a session on telehealth. A second showcase session on innovation in clinical practice on August 18 was led by Nadya Dimitrov and Gerald Simmons from the Stony Brook University PA program. If you missed either of these showcases, these presentations live in the CME Channel in the Digital Learning Hub along with other past webinar recordings as well as other professional development available for CME.

We asked Fleming, Gordes, and Anderson about their experiences working on the showcases and any lessons learned that they wanted to share with others. Gordes appreciated the opportunity to “repurpose a project to meet new needs” and “advance knowledge that can be applied directly and immediately.” She also highlighted that being able to virtually connect with Anderson, who is in a totally different time zone, was a seamless experience.

Fleming really valued the diversity of the team, the “interprofessional collaboration…, the interests, perspectives, and experiences that were interwoven throughout, [which] created a more robust presentation and final product.” They were also able to “band together and leverage individual strengths” to maximize expertise in technology, PowerPoint, editing, and presentation experience.

As Gordes noted, the two groups had generated a project on the same topic but from a different lens. Gordes said that “the ability to combine the materials into one cohesive project enhanced what each of us had created individually. Anderson came from the lens of a provider first, and I came from the lens of an educator first.”

Some of the suggestions from the presenters for future presenters include:

  • Generate an outline with targeted timelines at the outset of the project to ensure the team moves the project forward to completion.
  • Agree on a format, outline, and timeline from the beginning.
  • Time meetings to correlate with project deadlines.
  • Assemble a highly responsive and engaged team.
  • Schedule a dress rehearsal. As Fleming noted, “You can never be too prepared.”

Overall, the group appreciated the platform to showcase their project and share the information with a large, targeted audience of PA educators. They also appreciated the opportunity to collaborate outside of their usual circles. “It is easy to get bogged down with routine tasks, and creativity can slow if your working environment remains status quo. Working on a project like this added some spice into the routine, a chance to see how others are doing things,” said Gordes.

If you would like to share a curriculum innovation in a future Program Showcase, please contact us at

Christine Vucinich contributed to this article.