Recapping the 2022 PAEA Education Forum

Key Themes and Takeaways from San Diego

At the Forum, our three keynote speakers shared their expertise and knowledge across the areas of the neuroscience of purpose, health equity, and the importance of interprofessional collaboration. Read a summary of key themes and concepts that sparked discussion at the event.

The Neuroscience of Purpose

Britt Andreatta, PhD, kicked off our series of keynote addresses with her research and discussion on the neuroscience of purpose. Andreatta’s research emphasized the importance of finding purpose in work, citing the capacity of purpose to drive an organization’s success in accomplishing strategic goals and outcomes. Just as importantly, Andreatta described how finding purpose can radically change an individual’s life, improving health, happiness, and resilience to trauma. Finally, she highlighted how shared purpose can deepen personal connections and serve as a foundation for building positive cultures in work environments.

Britt Andreatta delivers the opening keynote at the 2022 Education Forum

“Help people reconnect with their callings. Because relationships are essential to making work meaningful. Often, it’s the people that we work with that are the most meaningful to us, even if the work is hard or frustrating.”

— Britt Andreatta, PhD

The Political Determinants of Health

Our second Spotlight Speaker, Daniel Dawes, JD, discussed the political legacy of health disparity and how policy choices drive health outcomes that affect us all. According to Dawes, while everyone is susceptible to the downstream effects of policy on our health, minoritized communities are disproportionately affected by policy choices that coalesce to form the political determinants of health. Dawes argued that these policies have been continuously recycled and handed down generation to generation, resulting in higher rates of chronic and acute illness and disability, driven by poverty, food insecurity, environmental pollutants, and unsafe housing.

Daniel Dawes, featured speaker at the 2022 PAEA Education Forum

“In our country, the principal roots of current and historical determinants of health, which inequitably distribute social, medical, and other determinants as they are the ones that have been creating these structural barriers to equity that population groups without power have not been able to realize. All political determinants effect everyone.”

— Daniel Dawes, JD

Uncommon Partnerships

In the final keynote session, Lesley Brooks, MD, discussed her experiences working in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment in rural areas, and the positive effect that interprofessional collaboration can have in meeting the needs of medically underserved communities. Dr. Brooks has worked to form partnerships throughout her career to provide better, more compassionate, whole-person care for patients experiencing SUD and spoke to the need for diverse clinicians to treat underserved patient populations. At the end of her conversation with President Kara Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C, Dr. Brooks invited audience members to speak with her about forming clinical education site partnerships to train the next generation of PA leaders and advocates.

Forum registrants will have the opportunity to join Dr. Brooks for a follow-up Q&A session on November 9, 2022. In this live virtual session, Dr. Brooks will offer strategies to help PA educators establish and leverage uncommon partnerships to accelerate their work.

Lesley Brooks, MD presents during the closing featured presentation at the 2022 PAEA Education Forum

“Leadership is something everyone can do, you don’t need a title… Square your shoulders, stand in your space, and lead. You need to speak up when you hear about inequitable policies… Our voices are needed throughout our community.”

— Lesley Brooks, MD

Explore Video Highlights

Each day, the PAEA team interviewed Forum attendees and captured moments of connection to share with the extended PAEA community. Feel the energy from Forum, look for your friends who attended, and get excited for 2023 with these daily recap videos.

PAEA Awards

PAEA Faculty & Staff Awards

The PAEA Faculty & Staff Awards allow us to highlight the important work our members carry out each day to advance excellence in PA education. This year, nine members of the PA education community were recognized for their contributions to the profession during the Awards Ceremony at the Forum. Each winner shared gratitude for their nominators and supporters, colleagues, students, families, and friends, reminding us that behind every successful PA education professional is a network providing care, support, and collaboration. Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners and read the full list of awards conferred at the Forum this year.

Inaugural Brenda Jasper Project Access Award

This year, PAEA established the inaugural Brenda Jasper Project Access Award in honor of Brenda Jasper, PA-C, former Vice President of the Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP, which later became PAEA) and one of the first black PAs in PA leadership. Working alongside Peggy Valentine, Jasper founded Project Access under the AAPA Minority Affairs Committee in 1987. This award recognizes the winners of PAEA’s annual Student-Led Project Access Competition.

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s competition, Wake Forest University PA Program, who were presented with the inaugural Brenda Jasper Project Access Award.

PAEA Golden Games

In celebration of PAEA’s 50th Anniversary, we launched the Golden Games, a student-led competition designed to inspire PA students to gather meaningful insights about their program’s history.

Congratulations to the students from the Grand Valley State University PA Program for winning the 2022 PAEA Golden Games. Their stellar video submission reflected on their program’s positive student-driven culture, emphasized the importance of educating students to practice in medically underserved communities, and described the benefits of a satellite location to give students necessary experience prior to practicing medicine in a rural setting. Watch the video here.

Mayumi Kasai wears a QR code to collect research responses

From QR Code to Coding Qualitative Research: Learn How One PA Educator Used the Forum to Facilitate Her Research

At the Forum, we expected to see members taking in information about best practices in PA education, reconnecting, and sharing their research—but we didn’t expect to see PA educators conducting their research!

When Mayumi Kasai, Academic Advisor at the University of Utah PA program, arrived at the Forum, she came prepared to gather data for her PhD research project aimed at identifying BIPOC PA students’ expressed support needs while in PA school and later in clinical practice, and the realities of on-the-ground support available to these students at individual programs. Kasai came up with an eye-catching solution to the challenges of qualitative data collection in survey research: For the duration of Forum, she wore a laminated sign around her neck describing her project with a QR code linking to her survey. PAEA is proud to support researchers in PA education who are at the forefront of developing new tools, methods, and resources for increasing justice, equity, and diversity in our programs, and we love to see our members showing up creatively to advance knowledge through research in our profession.

Save the Date

You’re invited to the PAEA 2023 Education Forum in New Orleans, Louisiana. Next year’s Forum and Fall Workshops will take place from October 9-14. Make sure to mark your calendar!