PAEA’s Scholarly Journal Gets New Managing Editor

Denise Rizzolo, PhD, MPH, PA-C, has taken over as the new Director of Research and Publication, and Managing Editor of the Journal of PA Education (JPAE,) PAEA’s scholarly, peer-reviewed journal.

​​JPAE is dedicated to advancing PA education by publishing ethically produced, scholarly manuscripts germane to PA educators and by providing a forum for the sharing of ideas and innovations that will enhance the education of PA students. The publication, which is now online only, is available to everyone who is a member of PAEA. The Journal can be accessed in the Member Community.

JPAE is an asset for PA educators who want to keep up with the latest methods and research in education. In a recent interview, Rizzolo said she has ideas to make the publication even more useful for readers.

“As we move the Journal forward on the online platform, we’re offering more research papers to be published each quarter. We now have a great diversity of literature for the readers so they can learn from each other. I would highly encourage them to look at the December online issue as it includes the poster abstracts from the 2022 Education Forum which have a wealth of information on different teaching technology and modalities,” she said.

Looking at the abstracts can help educators, both highly experienced and new to the field, develop new ideas about teaching and learning, she added.

In addition to the publication of the abstracts, JPAE will also be developing by recruiting more reviewers. Rizzolo said there are plans to make it easier to become a reviewer and access the website.

“We’re already in discussions about new feature sections that would add to the Journal such as editorials with students and innovate teaching modalities,” she said.

Rizzolo, who succeeded Libby Alesbury as managing editor, said she thought JPAE had been doing very well before she took on her new role.

“I do want to take it in a new direction including the publication of the PAEA Forum poster abstracts which gives the opportunity for researchers who have not been published in the Journal or anywhere else to have their work published. I would really like to help foster a relationship among the Journal and new researchers to begin to develop their manuscripts and publish them, in order to increase the diversity of the Journal,” she said.

Rizzolo said when she talks about “diversity,” she is supporting the ideals of equity and inclusion, but also diversity of authors.

“I would like to see some mentorship with student work in the form of editorials where they share some of their experiences in PA school, similar to what they do in the Academic Medicine journal. I think that would give the Journal nice perspectives that aren’t research-based but also create more cohesion between our community of PA educators and the Journal,” she said.

Rizzolo said she hopes a broader range of PAs who conduct research will consider submitting to JPAE in the future.

“We have a very open-door policy so if there are people who are interested in submitting who are unsure, they certainly can reach out to me or any of the other editors,” she said.

Rizzolo has written extensively in her career and her work has been published more than 100 times.

“I think it’s been enjoyable over my tenure to get the research that I’ve done out there and share the ideas, although some of them were novel and maybe not initially accepted. But they became useful to PAs practicing in programs. Also, it’s been enjoyable to cultivate relationships with fellow researchers,” she said.

Rizzolo said those relationships have been diverse and while some have strengthened her career network as a health provider, others have become long-term friendships.

Robert T Furter, PhD, MBA, Senior Director, Research & DataOps and Principal Psychometrician at PAEA, described Rizzolo as someone with a “highly unique set of experiences and expertise.”

“In Denise’s prior role with the Assessment Team, PAEA and its members benefitted from her talents as a PA, educator, and measurement/evaluation specialist. Such individuals, who are both subject matter experts and can ‘talk the measurement talk,’ are widely regarded as ‘unicorns’ in the assessment world. Now, (as she moves into the Managing Editor role) her talents as a researcher and scholar will further contribute to the value she brings to the Association and our members,” he said.

The new JPAE managing editor noted that PAEA currently employs two well-respected and experienced psychometricians, Furter and Casey Johnson, PhD, Senior Director of Assessment, which ensures the high caliber of articles run in JPAE

The expertise Furter and Johnson provide is important, but Rizzolo said she and others at JPAE are also working on other ways to improve the peer-review process for the Journal, with input from those doing the reviews.

Rizzolo said those who will be attending the PAEA Education Forum in New Orleans from October 11 – 14 and who are interested in submitting to JPAE should note that she and Furter will also be in attendance if those potential authors wanted to ask questions or discuss their proposals.

While Rizzolo has taken over as managing editor, Trenton Honda, PhD, MMS, PA-C,associate dean, and clinical professor atNortheastern University,​ is continuing as editor-in-chief, providing continuity that will ensure those qualities people already loved about JPAE will continue.

“I’m looking forward to working with Trent to continue the excellent work he’s been doing. I hope that by working together, we can continue to make the Journal better for our members,” Rizzolo said.

Rizzolo stressed her commitment to helping new authors get published. She noted that she takes pride in giving first-time writers their first appearance in print.

“Part of the pleasure I’ve had with submissions and writing was giving the encouragement to somebody that didn’t previously submit or didn’t think about publishing, the opportunity to work with me in order to publish,” she said.

While Rizzolo said she will try to mentor novice authors to publish in JPAE, she also suggested PAs interested in publishing find a mentor. She said she had found many experienced researchers found it rewarding to help a young writer as many of them had been the beneficiaries of mentors themselves.

“I would not hesitate to submit for fear of not getting accepted. I would encourage PAs to submit and then we’ll work with them so they can successfully respond to the feedback that will make their article stronger,” she said.