Jennifer DeMoss, a second-year student at Marshall B. Ketchum University’s physician assistant (PA) program, recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Physician Assistant Education Association’s (PAEA) Student Health Policy Fellowship held September 13-16.
DeMoss was one of 14 PA students from across the country selected for the fully funded program, designed to foster leadership and advocacy skills.
During a jam-packed three days, the students met with multiple advocacy experts to learn about health policy, higher education issues and how to engage Congress. They had the opportunity to immediately put into practice what they had learned during a visit to elected officials and congressional staff on Capitol Hill.
“I was thrown out of my comfort zone and taught how to speak to the legislators that help determine the PA profession’s future,” DeMoss said. “This experience has sparked my interest in policy and becoming an advocate for my profession.”
Over the next year, fellows will continue to hone their advocacy skills at their respective institutions with individual advocacy projects. DeMoss will work to spread awareness about advocacy within her program at MBKU.
“Sometimes we are stuck in a bubble of learning what will be tested on an exam,” DeMoss said. “I want to teach my classmates and new students about why they should care about advocating for our future in the profession.”
Physician assistants (PAs) are licensed health care professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physicians. Established in 1972, PAEA is the only national organization in the United States representing PA educational programs. Its mission is to pursue excellence, foster faculty development, advance the body of knowledge that defines quality education and patient-centered care, and promote diversity in all aspects of PA education.