2022 Military Service Award Recipient Committed to ‘Paying it Forward’
Col. Amy Jackson Has Served in the Army for Over 30 Years, 17 as a PA
May 18, 2022
By Sarah Blugis
To Colonel Amy L. Jackson, DMSc, MPAS, PA-C, PAs are known as compassionate, competent providers from whom patients want to receive care. Particularly in the Army, she says, PAs are frontline providers – the entry point of all healthcare.
“As an Army PA, I am empowered to provide compassionate and comprehensive healthcare to our nation’s sons and daughters,” she says. “There is no greater honor than to serve those who bravely and boldly defend our country.”
The Military Service Award recognizes a veteran or active duty PA who demonstrates exemplary healthcare service and exemplifies the PA profession’s philosophy of providing accessible, quality healthcare to current members of the military, veterans, or a medically underserved community.
Jackson entered the military medical field as a medical administrator, but knew she could do more. She then met an Army PA who encouraged her to apply for the Interservice PA Program. There, she says, she recognized the opportunity to be a medical professional while also continuing her military career – “the best of both worlds.”
She has served in the United States Army for over 30 years, 17 as an Army PA. During deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jackson volunteered her free time to conduct smoking cessation group activities. She also volunteered with local special operations groups to provide culturally appropriate medical services to Iraqi and Afghani women and children in their villages.
Early in her career as a PA, Jackson was selected to be an assignment manager and saw an opportunity for PAs to serve in more leadership positions. Her efforts led to success in schools, broadening assignments, and leadership positions to create a precedent for PA success in multiple new roles.
Jackson, herself, then took on roles that PAs typically had not held. These included working as a nonmedical Brigade-Level Executive Officer, Director of Medicine at the Pentagon, and Deputy Commander for Administration in SHAPE, Belgium.
Currently, Jackson serves as the commander at Keller Army Community Hospital at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. She is the first Army PA to hold this position. Jackson is also the Director of the West Point Market, which spans five states and includes three occupational health clinics.
“I have had rewarding and challenging experiences that I never would have realized had I not become a PA,” she says. “And I would not be where I am today without others helping me along the way. I continue to pay it forward by leading the way in charting a path of incredible strategic-level opportunities.”
As the Keller Army Community Commander, Jackson led her organization to gain accreditation through the Joint Commission. She also supported the West Point installation and seven outlying stations with a campaign involving over 30,000 COVID-19 tests, surveillance and tracing, and nearly 26,000 COVID-19 vaccinations over the past 18 months. Jackson has also spearheaded a campaign to bring orthopaedic patients to Keller from another military facility, ultimately resulting in significantly improved patient readiness outcomes.
Additionally, Jackson has contributed to over 20 published articles and 17 podium and poster presentations. After identifying a need for Army PA professional development, Jackson collaborated with over 50 clinicians, physicians, nurses, and PAs, identifying subject matter experts to create the U.S. Army PA Handbook, to provide valuable insight and indirect mentorship to all Army PAs.
Outside of her professional career, Jackson also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity. She also currently sponsors three U.S. Military Academy cadets, giving them refuge from dorm life and home-cooked meals.
PAs, Jackson says, are vital leaders and partners in the future of healthcare. “All people must have the benefit of and free access to safe, quality healthcare as a basic human right. The expansion and global integration of PAs throughout all facets of healthcare is the preeminent solution to the challenges facing our healthcare industry today.”