Four students from the Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences are participating on Students Board Committees with the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA) Student Academy, more than any PA program in the country.
Students may participate on five AAPA Student Academy — advocacy and policy, student governance, communication and outreach, service, and leadership. The committees are charged with implementing annual resolutions passed by the AAPA Student Academy of Representatives during the Student Academy meeting that convenes every May during the AAPA national conference.
First-year PA student Jeniece Montellano and second-year PA student Carly Moss are serving as members of the Advocacy and Policy Committee, which this year is most notably charged with promoting PA student involvement with the AAPA Political Action Committee as well as finding ways to make the AAPA national conference more affordable for students.
Second-year PA students Kristen Schoenike and Bradley Cundiff are members of the Student Governance Committee, which is working to revise the student academy policy manual, revamping Student Board Elections, and collaborating with the other committees.
“I think it’s vitally important for PA students to seek engagement in something beyond their schoolwork during their education,” said Schoenike. “Whether it is something in the community, in politics, in PA leadership, or in health care as a whole, these experiences bolster your knowledge of and ability to serve your community in a clinical setting and beyond.”
In March 2019, the four students, along with several of their classmates, attended the AAPA Leadership and Advocacy Summit, Moss said. There they learned about the various issues affecting the PA profession. They also had the opportunity to speak with representatives on Capitol Hill about policies and legislation impacting PAs.
“I think we all left that experience with new motivation to contribute to our profession not only in the classroom and clinics,” said Moss, “but also at the more far-reaching levels of advocacy, service, and leadership.”