Lauren G. Dobbs

MMS, PA-C

Endorsed by the Nominating Work Group

State: Texas 

City: Aledo

E-mail: laurengdobbs@yahoo.com

Lauren Dobbs CV

Platform Statement

I am seeking re-election as Director-at-Large on the AAPA Board of Directors. I have enjoyed serving the PA profession over the past 10 plus years in various roles on the state and national levels and wish to continue serving. I have always viewed the position of Director-at-Large as a position of great responsibility and servitude. I wish to serve the profession to the upmost of my ability and strive for continuance of improvements for the PA profession as a whole.

I believe the most importance aspect of this role is the servitude and I come to you with a servant’s heart asking for your support. Serving as a Director-at-Large over the next two years, I hope to improve the communications of the “Four Orgs.” I believe that PAEA, AAPA, NCCPA, and ARC-PA would benefit from working together more than we have in the past to tackle issues of tomorrow for today’s PAs.

The  AAPA 2016-2020 strategic plan as published online outlines four broad categories  of efforts: 1) Equip PAs for expanded opportunities in healthcare,  2) advance the PA identity, 3) create progressive work environments for PAs, and 4) foster AAPA effectiveness and sustainability. I believe these four broad areas are all areas that need to be addressed as we, as a profession, implement and define Optimal Team Practice (OTP) for our profession in every state and in every workplace while still maintaining flexibility for our profession, state efforts, and workplaces.

For OTP to be demonstrated in every state, PAs must be equipped to lead the way. I believe that AAPA should continue to expand its educational opportunities for members and provide resources to help PAs lead the way in healthcare. Resources such as healthcare finance models, team-based practice models, reimbursement models for PAs in the value-based system, and presentation training.  Resources, tools, and data will all be necessary to promote OTP. I hope to continue to promote research of our profession in an effort to equip all PAs to lead.

Advancing the PA identity should always be on our minds. We have to advance the identity for the next generation and for the future of our profession to look bright.  Every organization (PAEA, AAPA, NCCPA, and ARC-PA) should be working together to advance our identity as a profession. I believe working together would quadruple the work effort and make a larger impact.

Creating progressive work environments in my opinion is all about educating the administrators and “C suite” that create the work environment for all of us today.  Having PAs at the table during critical conversations is key but bending the ear of those that are making the work environment is crucial. I believe that this strategic element has to be addressed by working with all PA organizations and pushing the limit. We need to have a national movement on all levels.  I also believe that creating a progressive work environment means having equal pay for PAs and eliminating the gender pay gap. Again, this is something that all PAs should be working towards and pushing for as a profession.

Every organization should be focusing on sustainability and effectiveness. Every member wants more “bang” for the buck. I would like to work toward integrating resources within the organization to tackle more than one issue at one time while still providing member benefits that are meaningful to our membership.

It is an exciting time to be a PA!  If elected, I hope to tackle all of these issues and efforts with your support.

Questions
  1. How would you explain what Optimal Team Practice is, and its implications for the PA profession and for patients?

Optimal Team Practice (OTP) is the policy that emphasizes the commitment to team practice by our profession while giving PAs and the entire team the ability to act at the top of their license and for the scope of practice of each team member to be determined at the practice site. It also authorizes PAs to be directly reimbursed and for regulatory boards for PAs to have the majority of PAs on the board overseeing PA practice.  I believe OTP means new horizons for the PA profession and increased access to care for patients as laws are changed and legislative efforts redefine how we work with other healthcare professionals.  I believe that new PA opportunities will include more leadership, executive, and regulatory roles.  I also believe new roles will be available within insurance companies. All of these new roles will also help increase patient access to care by allowing PAs to practice in a larger variety of ways and will produce more opportunities in rural and underserved areas benefiting patients and areas that do not have adequate healthcare currently. This will also help decrease the healthcare provider shortage.

  1. What is your position on Optimal Team Practice (OTP)? What do you view as the most challenging hurdle(s) to overcome in the implementation of OTP?  As a Board member, what strategies would you offer as a means of overcoming these challenges?

I believe Optimal Team Practice (OTP) is beneficial for the PA profession as we move forward. I understand and recognize that the implementation and specifics of OTP may have to vary between states based on laws and how legislative efforts change current laws and regulations to further solidify the team practice and the optimal usage of all team members in each state and each practice. I think the most challenging hurdle to overcome with the implementation of OTP will be educating and working with other healthcare groups and legislators who have misconceptions about OTP despite the fact sheets and information that are available that clearly define OTP as team practice and not independent practice. Misconceptions and turf wars often cause drama and hype that is not necessarily true or accurate but continues to feed a fire. I would suggest as a board member that instead of simply publishing helpful articles, fact sheets, and infographics, we also meet face-to-face with leadership from a variety of healthcare arenas and continue to constantly promote the meaning and true intent of OTP. I believe we may need to partner with other organizations to help promote OTP without misconceptions.

  1. What is your primary motivation for wanting to become a Board member? As a member of the Board, what initiatives would you bring to the Board’s work and how do these initiatives support the critical role PAs play in today’s healthcare marketplace?

My primary motivation for wanting to become a board member is service. I am motivated to serve our profession and to continue to serve on the board of directors. I would like to promote and further discuss the issue of the wage gap as we implement Optimal Team Practice (OTP) and push our profession forward. This past year AAPA established Wage Parity Day on Dec. 4th to recognize the discrepancies between male and female PA salaries and several articles were published in JAAPA and media sources such as The Washington Post within the last year outlining issues of the inadequacies of the wage gap. Efforts to decrease the wage gap will help keep our profession ranked as one of the top professions and will further encourage others to join our profession. This will in turn support the profession as a whole since the current majority of PAs are female.

  1. We all have connections through our professional networks. Can you explain how, as a Board member, you would proactively engage your network to further the work of AAPA and the PA profession?

My professional network includes colleagues from a variety of backgrounds and a variety of professional development areas. My past participation in the House of Delegates, AAPA committees and workgroups, Texas Academy of Physician Assistants, Oklahoma Academy of Physician Assistants, Society of Early Career PAs, and Society of Pediatric PAs has introduced me to numerous PAs. My interactions with a variety of caucuses and special interest groups have also increased my professional network as well as my work at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. I would hope to engage members of my professional network to the betterment of the organization and utilize those network contacts as needed when their specific skill set is most useful to the organization as a whole. Strength in our profession comes from our fellow PA colleagues and our very own member resources.

  1. What non-PA organizations are critical partners to moving the PA profession into the future, and why? What are the “4 Orgs” and how should these organizations interact in the best interest of the profession?

All healthcare organizations are critical partners as we move forward with OTP, push other efforts to improve access to care forward, and move the PA profession in to the future. If we truly want to promote team-based practice we must interact with the team on the national level as well. American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, the 85 plus national physician specialty medical groups, and our allied health partners should be included as we move forward. We must educate all and have support on as many fronts as possible. The more support we have within medical organizations the more support we will have within healthcare systems and within legislative arenas to promote and push for the implementation of OTP and other changes in all states. The “4 Orgs:” PAEA, AAPA, NCCPA, and ARC-PA, should be communicating and working together for the betterment of the profession.  I believe this would quadruple the effort and make a larger impact as we move our profession forward.

  1. How do you define and implement leadership in your work environment? What leadership skills do you call upon when challenged on a deeply held belief?

In the work environment, I define leadership as the person who “steps up” to a duty or task that affects the whole group and takes action or influences action of others. I often have to implement or push for changes to improve the work place. When challenged on a deeply held belief or a professional moral, I call upon research, numbers, facts, and morals to promote the belief and present my position on the matter. I often ask questions and push for the hard answers. I specifically call upon the leadership skills of communication and organization to make a plan and tackle the issue at the time. In everything I do, I have stuck to a motto that was presented to me in high school. The motto is called the “7 Ps.” The motto states: “proper prior planning prevents pitifully poor performance.” This motto ensures that organization and communication is used to get a positive end result.