Become the next generation of leaders and advocates for the PA profession.
Over the past year, the power of grassroots advocacy has received unprecedented visibility.
Nationwide protests calling for racial justice, equitable access to health care, and other priorities have played a critical role in compelling policymakers to effect meaningful change.
In the spirit of continuing the progress achieved by dedicated grassroots advocates on the local and national stage, the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) is working to build the capacity of PA students to become skilled champions on behalf of their profession, future patients, and communities.
The PAEA Student Health Policy Fellowship
For more than five years, PAEA has administered the Student Health Policy Fellowship – an intensive program designed to cultivate the next generation of leaders and advocates for the PA profession.
During a three-day workshop held every September, 20 students selected through a competitive process engage with an array of PA practice and education experts, legislative and executive branch staffers, and their peers from across the country in lecture-based and interactive sessions intended to develop their advocacy skills.
Following the workshop, students are then given the opportunity to put their newly refined advocacy skills to the test by conducting meetings with the offices of their elected representatives.
Community-Based Advocacy for Life
“The Student Health Policy Fellowship has given me a much broader and behind the scenes look at the profession. I now have a much better understanding of what it takes to make progress over the long term. I see how critical advocacy is on many levels and now feel that I have to incorporate that throughout my career. I look forward to taking on leadership opportunities as I grow as a PA and a person,” said one alumnus.
While the workshop is the most intensive component of the experience, the Student Health Policy Fellowship does not end in September.
Over the course of the next year, each student is tasked with completing a community-based advocacy project such as hosting a member of Congress at their PA program, coordinating a state lobby day, or drafting an editorial for their local newspaper on a prominent policy issue.
Since the program’s creation in 2014, nearly 100 alumni have participated with many currently serving in key leadership positions within their state associations and within their clinical practice.
Be the Change You Wish to See in the World
“It has provided me with the knowledge and tools needed to educate others, lead advocacy/policy efforts, become more aware of existing efforts, and ways that I can continue to stay/further my involvement in these areas. I will continue to incorporate what I gained from the PAEA SHPF into the rest of my time in PA school, as well as in my future career as a PA, regardless of setting or specialty,” said another alumnus.
Application and Timeline
Applications for the 2021-22 Student Health Policy Fellowship will be accepted through July 12 with the 2021 workshop being held virtually from September 13-15. Learn more about the requirements and apply now.
Students with questions are invited to contact Tyler Smith at [email protected].