Congratulations to the 2019-20 AAPA-PAEA Research Fellows

Two Selected to Conduct Research on PA Profession

September 18, 2019

By Jenni Roberson

Launched in 2017, the AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship seeks to build the research capacity of PAs and PA faculty and develop leaders to represent, advance, and elevate PAs in health professions research. AAPA and PAEA are pleased to announce that the 2019-2020 AAPA-PAEA Research Fellows are:

Kari Bernard headshot
Kari Bernard, MS, PA-C

Bernard, whose fellowship will be funded by AAPA, will research, “Assistant Burnout and the Role of Career Development and Physician Relationship.” Her work with PA burnout is aligned with AAPA’s work including burnout publications from AAPA’s Research Department, the Joint Task Force on Burnout, and the AAPA Commitment Statement to the National Academy of Medicine in support of its work on clinician well-being.

[AAPA Statement on the Commitment to Clinician Well-Being and Resilience]

Bernard completed her PA studies in 2004 at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona. She has practiced clinically in cardiac electrophysiology, emergency medicine, urgent care, and occupational medicine.  She began her formal research training in 2016 at Walden University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and is in the dissertation phase of her studies.

Vanessa Bester headshot
Vanessa Bester, EdD, MPAS, PA-C

Bester, whose fellowship will be funded by PAEA, will research, “Rigorous and Valid Qualitative Research: African American PA Student Success.” Bester serves on PAEA’s Diversity and Inclusion Mission Advancement Commission and has published articles related to HIV and infectious diseases, military PAs, and the retention and barriers of minority PAs, faculty, and students.

Bester graduated from the University of Florida’s PA Program in 2003 and worked in HIV primary care through the National Health Service Corps in Florida. In June 2019, she completed her doctorate in education at Northeastern University; her thesis focused on Critical Race Theory and African American PA Student Success. Her primary research focus is on qualitative methodologies and inclusion and diversity within the PA profession.

Both fellows will experience two seminar weeks in the Washington, D.C., area that are designed to help shape them into leaders of health workforce and education research.

The objectives of the AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship are to:

  • Develop a cadre of PA leaders who are skilled in PA education and workforce research,
  • Encourage utilization of PAEA and AAPA data to generate research of interest to the PA profession and community of PA scholars, and
  • Provide future research mentors for early career PA researchers in order to sustain the PA workforce and education research pipeline.

The AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship provides financial support for PAs with a strong interest in research. A grant covering 20% of the recipient’s base salary up to $25,000 will be allocated to the fellow’s institution to permit a 20% time release from teaching and other activities to allow them to focus on scholarly activities of interest to the PA profession and PA education. Learn more here.

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