A Reflection on the 2016 PAEA Future Educator Fellowship
Hello! My name is Joey Parseghian, from Northeastern University, and I want to share with you my experience as a 2016 fellow at the Future Educator Fellowship (FEF) in Minneapolis, MN this October. What is the Future Educator Fellowship? Well, the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) designed a fellowship for 25 current PA students with interests in PA education careers. I, along with 24 other fellows, attended the fellowship at the Education Forum, which is an annual event that is highly anticipated by PAEA members, where they can learn new skills, hear enlightening speakers, and network with colleagues from across the country. It also provides PA educators with the opportunity to present their own work and ideas. Over the next year, I and the 24 other fellows will collaborate with our chosen mentor on a mentorship project to help us develop skills we can use as future educators.
For my project, I am giving a lecture on LGBTQ healthcare disparities and will conduct a pre- and post-survey to assess whether or not there is a change in student knowledge and attitude. This project wasn’t handed to me by PAEA, but is a topic that I am passionate about and needs more attention in PA education curricula. Over the next year, I will be working closely with my mentor and contacts I made at the forum to complete my project.
As a fellow, one highlight of the conference was a presentation titled ‘Massachusetts Consortium on Core Competencies for Addressing the Opioid Crisis’. The opioid epidemic in our country has become a major problem and many institutions are implementing new curricula into their programs to tackle this issue. As a student in Massachusetts, I found it interesting to hear faculty from various programs discuss their approach through a combination of simulation labs, PowerPoint lectures, online training certificates, field trips to addiction centers, and panel discussions. This showed me how faculty work hard and diligently to plan for our education, to ensure that we are prepared to best serve our patients, regardless of the institution we attend.
At the conference, we also had the opportunity to meet faculty from across the country and participate in group discussions focused on research, policy, and education. My favorite small group discussion was envisioning our profession, and PA education ten years from now, and overcoming the challenges students face. It was interesting to hear about these perceived challenges and also discuss different perspectives and solutions with my co-fellows, such as breaking test mentality and integrating technology into PA education.
The fellowship has opened my eyes to the passion and commitment of the faculty, staff, and professional organizations to our education and to our profession. For those who are interested in education – whether you want to teach, conduct research, or precept – you should strongly consider applying to a future fellowship. You won’t regret it! If the fellowship is not for you, there are many other ways to become engaged with PAEA and the work they are doing with PA students.