On behalf of the Physician Assistant committee, I write with warm salutations for Spring and we look ahead to the Summer! As always, I want to keep you as a member updated with happenings within the Academy and specifically within the PA Committee.
The Academy held the first Minority Student Open, hosted by the Academy Council for Racial Equity (ACRE) on March 30th. The free virtual conference welcomed over 40 PA, NP, medical, and pharmacy students. The event included a plenary focused on health equity and an interdisciplinary panel of HIV Specialists shared their professional and personal insights about various career pathways in HIV. Students participated in breakout sessions on opportunities in HIV research, the basics of business in HIV care, and the hierarchy in healthcare and systemic racism. Click here for more information about the ACRE.
Speaking of students, the PA Committee is still committed to the launch of the PA Preceptorship Program! Earlier in the year, I sent out a number of letters to PA programs informing them of the goal to connect students in their didactic time who are interested in HIV medicine, public health, sexual health and/or care for marginalized populations with PA preceptors who are Academy credentialed HIV Specialists. Unfortunately, this outreach didn't result in much response from the training programs. So, the committee is shifting gears to take the information directly to the students themselves!
Recently, I was giving an HIV medicine clinical medicine lecture at a local PA program. At the end, I let the students know if any of them were interested in the work I do, to reach out in hopes to make a connection for future rotations. Within one day, I received an email from one of the students who was thrilled to hear about the program and has always been interested in HIV medicine and public health, but as a student had no connections and didn't know where to start. It was fate! We were able to have a virtual meeting to talk about his goals and to discuss the best way to have him join my office for a rotation. I connected with his PA program coordinator and not only will he be joining me for his 4-week elective rotation, but he will also join for his 6-week Internal Medicine rotation! Just like that, a connection was made. Marco and I are now in touch regularly as I want to make sure I am a resource for him through didactic and clinical rotations before he even comes to my site.
This got me thinking, we need to bring the information directly to the students themselves. Let them know opportunities are out here, let them know PA clinicians are here for them and want to be preceptors! Now we just need to make connections. On June 27th, National HIV Testing Day, the PA Committee will host an information session for PA students on the importance of HIV treatment and prevention in healthcare and the need to continue the legacy of PAs in HIV medicine. Alongside the Academy will be a member of the National Society of Black Physician Assistants and a member of the AAPA LGBT Caucus. The three of us will share our experiences and passion while informing participants of the PA Preceptorship Program.
This information session is not just for students! We encourage all PA members and specialists to join on to listen in. We plan on having some time at the end for some Q&A from students, so there might be someone who you could connect with for a rotation. Be on the lookout for an invitation to this virtual event in the near future.
If you are a HIV Specialist, get ready for personal emails from me. Once we start having interested students, we will need places for them to go and people for them to learn from. If you already know you want to be one of those preceptors and be on my list, you are welcome to email me now.
And if you have not yet earned your HIV Specialist credentials yet and want to, now is the time! Registration for the credentialing has just opened. Click here for more information and to register for the August/September testing window. Join me in having the credential of Academy HIV Specialist™, showing the healthcare community you are committed to the cause.
As you can see, the theme this year is Connection. My dream is to ensure all PAs in HIV medicine feel connected to each other, to bring students together with those PAs and always have open lines of communication. Have a great spring!
Angela Kapalko, PA-C, MS, AAHIVS
PA Chairperson of AAHIVM
------------------------------Angela KapalkoPhysician Assistant Chairperson for AAHIVMPhiladelphia FIGHT CommunityHealth CentersPhiladelphia PAakapalko@fight.org------------------------------