Meet New Student Academy President Katie Ganser

“I am Inspired by PA Students as Leaders During This Crisis”

September 3, 2020

By Student Academy President Katie Ganser

Hi fellow PA students!

My name is Katie Ganser, and I am the current President of the Student Academy of AAPA. To our new PA

Katie Ganser headshot
AAPA Student Academy President Kate Ganser

students, welcome to the PA profession! To those of you in didactic and clinical training, keep working hard. We have experienced an incredibly challenging six months, and I applaud your ability to adapt to online classes, virtual rotations, telemedicine, and delayed graduations. I am inspired by how PA students have emerged as leaders amid the COVID-19 crisis: stepping up to care for patients on the front lines, volunteering within our communities to care for neighbors, creating virtual communities for PA students, marching peacefully in the streets to demonstrate support for Black lives, advocating within your individual programs and at a national level to ensure our profession is more accessible to underrepresented minority students, and using our passion for patient care to push the profession forward.

[Join AAPA as a Student Member]

The Student Academy of AAPA is  a part of AAPA which represents the PA student’ voice. The Student Academy Representative (SAR) within your school’s Student Society is the liaison between you/your program and AAPA’s Student Academy. SARs ensure an open channel of communication between PA students and AAPA. Their primary role is to make your voices heard and to bring forward ideas and opportunities so that we are constantly improving the landscape for students across the country. SARs are also responsible for electing the Student Academy Board of Directors and for acting on resolutions presented annually to the Assembly of Representatives (AOR).  We are very lucky this year to have an incredibly diverse group of passionate PA student leaders to represent you!

In addition to serving you all as President of the Student Academy, I also sit on the AAPA Board of Directors as the Student Director. My duty in this role is to represent the voices of PA students across the nation and ensure that AAPA’s decisions are informed with students in mind. To this end, in order to best represent you, we need to know what you are thinking, what you need to succeed, and how we can better serve you. Please know you can always reach out to me and all of the Student Board members for anything!

[5 Mental Health Tips for PA Students]

We have two main goals for the Student Academy this coming year:

1) Increase engagement of PA students in the Student Academy: The Student Academy is by and for PA students; this is YOUR team and we as student leaders are here to represent and support you. In order to best accomplish that, it is imperative that you bring your concerns and ideas to the table. This is a pivotal time for change in our profession. From advocating for the profession to our increased commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion – we need you to be engaged now more than ever. Here are some of the best ways to get involved:

  • Run for a position in your program’s student society
  • Reach out to Student Board members with your ideas!
  • Join AAPA, state, and other constituent organizations to support their critical work on behalf of the profession at the state level and look for leadership opportunities
  • Attend AAPA’s Leadership & Advocacy Summit
  • Attend Conference 2021
  • Run for a Student Board of Directors position next year!
  • Run for the Student Delegation to the House of Delegates (HOD) next year!
  • Apply for the Student Board Committees next year!

2) Increase diversity in the PA profession: We will keep diversity, equity, and inclusion in the forefront of our minds in all decisions this year. Here is an example of what we’re working on:

  • We have a new position on the Student Board, Director of Diversity and Outreach (held by our amazing Eryka Bradley)! Eryka will represent the Student Academy voice in AAPA’s initiatives for diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is also working to build community among the Diversity Chairs in your Student Societies!
  • Two of the main initiatives that the Student Board Committees will be working on this year include raising awareness of the various diversity initiatives within AAPA and its constituent organizations and investigating ways AAPA can support underrepresented minority student members.

[PA Foundation Announces Scholarship for Black PA Students]

Ganser and her dog Bear at Chief Mountain Summit
Ganser and her dog Bear at Chief Mountain Summit

No matter what your journey was to PA school, we are united in the calling to dedicate our lives to caring for others. The opportunity to do that as a PA exists because PAs before us committed to leading and advocating for our profession. It is now our turn as students to stand up as healthcare leaders and to advocate for the profession and our patients.

I ask that you join in the conversation. There are so many ways to connect by following the Student Academy on Facebook and Twitter (@StuAcademyAAPA) , AAPA on Instagram (@AAPAorg), and participating in discussions on the Student Huddle. Stay tuned – we’re working on more innovative ways to get your feedback! Please reach out to me or anyone on our team if you have any ideas, questions, or concerns. We look forward to working with you in the year to come!

Katie Ganser is the 2020-2021 Student Academy President. She is a third-year PA student at the University of Colorado. Ganser lives in Colorado with her partner, Jim, and their dogs Bear and Dee. When not studying medicine, advocating for Black Lives and diversity, equity and inclusion in medicine, or volunteering in the local community, she spends her time hiking, trail running, mountain biking, camping in a teardrop trailer, and traveling the world – most often to see her family outside of Boston! You can reach Katie at [email protected].

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