American Academy of Physician Associates Teams up with Indianapolis Colts to Kick Mental Health Stigma

PAs from Across the Country to Hear Lessons Learned from Indianapolis Colts’ Kicking The Stigma Initiative During AAPA Conference

The American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) is tackling the pervasive mental health crisis by teaming up with the Indianapolis Colts during AAPA 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana, to discuss ways to increase mental health awareness, education, and access to care.

AAPA President and Chair of the Board Jennifer M. Orozco, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA will be joined by Kalen Jackson, Colts vice chair and owner, for an open and honest discussion about mental health and the Colts’ Kicking The Stigma campaign. The initiative is a comprehensive plan, rooted in personal experience and aimed at raising awareness about mental health disorders and creating resources and pathways to provide treatment options for patients in the Indianapolis area.

During the panel conversation, Jackson and other Colts leaders will highlight how they have raised awareness of mental health in the Indianapolis region.

PAs will learn through the experiences portrayed by the panelists how they can make a difference in their own local communities – whether they are practicing clinically, leading mental health first aid trainings, volunteering to serve marginalized populations, or engaging in conversations with business leaders in their community.

“We are excited to welcome the Colts organization to our first in-person conference since 2019 so that PAs from across the country can learn from what the Colts have accomplished and return to their own communities and their patients equipped with lessons learned. With more than 400 million patient interactions per year, PAs are positioned to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders, to compassionately lead their patients through the difficult conversations associated with these disorders, and to ensure their patients are getting the proper care and have access to appropriate resources.”

Other Colts representatives confirmed to speak on the panel include Elizabeth White, MA, LMHC, LCAC, team clinician, and Steve Campbell, vice president of communications. Sarah Scantamburlo, MSW, MS, PA-C, a Mental Health Outreach Fellow for the PA Foundation from Michigan Mental Wellness, will also serve as a panelist.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, up from 1 in 10 adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Mental Health America reports that 52% of adults with a mental illness receive no treatment at all.

AAPA’s focus on mental health during its conference, which coincides with National Mental Health Month, builds on the organization’s ongoing commitment to this issue. In 2018, the PA Foundation launched the Mental Health Outreach Fellows program that was designed to connect PAs’ clinical expertise and compassion to specific mental health community needs. As part of the program, PAs were certified as trainers of the evidence-based Mental Health First Aid curriculum. Since launching, the Mental Health Outreach Fellows have trained more than 2,300 individuals across the country.

The discussion, which is open to the media, will take place at the AAPA conference on May 23 from 3:30 until 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Risers and a mult box will be available to members of the media on a first-come, first-served basis. Members of the media interested in covering the event should register here.

AAPA 2022 is the only national PA conference with thousands of PAs from across the country in attendance. The conference will take place May 21-25 in Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information about AAPA 2022, go to


Media Contacts:
Jenni Roberson, 703.380.2764
Josh Birch, 443.614.5896

About the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA)
AAPA is the national membership organization for all PAs (physician associates/physician assistants). PAs are licensed clinicians who practice medicine in every specialty and setting. Trusted, rigorously educated and trained healthcare professionals, PAs are dedicated to expanding access to care and transforming health and wellness through patient-centered, team-based medical practice. PA has been named one of the best jobs overall and one of the best healthcare jobs for the fifth year in a row by U.S. News & World Report. The PA profession ranked number three this year in Best STEM jobs. Learn more about the profession at and engage through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.