On the Air with James Millward

PA Podcast Explores Topical Issues in Healthcare

October 19, 2018

By Abby Boshart

James Millward
James Millward, MPAS, PA-C

“From the PA Foundation, I’m James Millward. This is Vital Minds.”

James Millward, MPAS, PA-C, is host of the PA Foundation’s Vital Minds podcast series. Hundreds of practitioner listeners are tuning in to each episode to hear Millward and his guest experts discuss important clinical topics.

Millward practices in cardiovascular surgery in Indianapolis, Indiana, and never imagined himself as the “voice” of a podcast. Although he is an avid podcast listener, he says he had never given any thought to hosting one of his own. Last year, while serving as student representative on the PA Foundation Board of Trustees and the AAPA Student Academy Board of Directors, someone suggested he had a good voice for podcasting.

“I thought, well that’s a nice compliment,” he says, laughing. “But I also thought it would be a lot of fun. It was a realm I had not been in before and seemed like a good opportunity to get some discourse going with a lot of different experts in different fields of medicine that PAs are practicing in.”

“The stars must have been aligned,” says Lynette Sappe-Watkins, executive director of the PA Foundation. “We had been developing the Vital Minds concept and as luck would have it, James became our student representative. Hearing his voice and how well he represents himself, we thought he was a natural for the position of host. Fortunately for us, he was up for the task.”

Millward hosting a special live edition of Vital Minds featuring special guest, Scott Urquhart
Millward hosts a special live edition of Vital Minds featuring special guest, Scott Urquhart, PA-C, DFAAPA.

Connecting PAs to subject matter experts

The PA Foundation launched Vital Minds as a channel for connecting PAs to top subject matter experts and providing them with material vital to their practice, regardless of their specialty or setting. Informational and aspirational in nature, the podcast aligns with the Foundation’s mission of empowering PAs to improve health through philanthropy and service and its commitment to promoting better health and wellness by providing PAs and PA students with philanthropic opportunities and resources.

Discussing important areas of healthcare practice with people who are experts in their field has become Millward’s favorite part of hosting Vital Minds. He’s worked with over a dozen practitioners on the podcast and has thoroughly enjoyed discussing everything from flu prevention in older adults to PA leadership in medicine.

“It’s really fun to engage with different guests and see how passionate they are about what they do,” he says. “These leaders give a voice to what’s going on in medicine and is important for PAs to know.”

Stay up to date on clinical information

Through his work on Vital Minds, Millward stays up to date on a variety of important clinical information relevant to the patients he sees daily as a cardiovascular surgery PA at Indiana University Health Physicians. He believes the conversations he has with guests on the podcast are critically important for PAs, regardless of their practice environment.

“Each podcast offers certain tips and things that you can do to optimize your practice and improve your patient outcomes,” he says. “Even though we all specialize in different areas, these are common issues that we see every day as PAs.”

Not only is Vital Minds important for practicing PAs looking to remain informed on the latest trends in clinical practice, but it can also be a great resource for pre-PA and PA students. With its wide coverage of issues and exposure to PAs with a wealth of experience and expertise, it gives students a realistic picture of what they might experience as a practitioner and issues they should keep in mind for future patient encounters. Millward says he also believes it can give PA students insight on various practice areas they may be considering.

Regardless of specialty or career level, Vital Minds is a great resource for PAs and other medical practitioners looking to stay in the know on some of the most important topics in healthcare. Upcoming episodes will focus on treating patients with substance use disorders in primary care, the role of addiction medicine in hospital settings, and more. Ready to check out Vital Minds? Millward suggests you start with these popular episodes:

  1. Episode 4 – Mental Health First Aid
  2. Episode 7 – Opioid and Alcohol Use Disorder
  3. Episode 6 – Older Adult Flu Prevention

Abby Boshart is the communications coordinator at AAPA. Contact her at [email protected].