December 6, 2023
Nearly 500 PAs and PA Students Represent the Profession on National TV
October 6, 2022
PAs on the Plaza has become a staple PA Week event, and this year, served as an exciting kick off to PA Week 2022. This morning, on Thursday, October 6, more than 450 PAs and PA students traveled to New York City to flood Rockefeller Center and NBC’s TODAY Show, and – for the first time in the history of the event – ABC’s Good Morning America plaza, too.
This year, AAPA decided to amplify our presence and messaging by having a significant presence at two morning show plazas in order to raise awareness of the PA profession to people across the country.
PAs on the Plaza is consistently popular with PA students, and this year was no different. Among the many PA programs represented included local programs like Wagner University, Stony Brook University, Mercy College, Rugters University, Hofstra University, and Arcadia University. Students from ATSU Central Coast in California completing their rotations in the Bronx also took the opportunity to participate in the event while on the East Coast.
Not all participants were local. Two Texas PAs who work at MD Anderson – Barbara Slusher, MSW, PA-C and Cherie Plouff, DMSc, PA-C – who happened to be passing through New York, made a point to appear at the plaza this morning. “We’re so excited to be able to advocate for our profession,” Slusher says. Plouff adds, “After 20 years, I finally made it [to PAs on the Plaza]!”
Other practicing PAs, too, turned out to visibly represent and advocate for the profession. PAs Lolito Simmons, Kelly Suarez, and Karen Belleh from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center also appeared at the Good Morning America plaza.
Participants embraced creating creative signs to spread the message about PA Week and PAs Go Beyond, including: “I aorta tell you about PAs,” “Can’t wait tibia a PA,” and “Good morning America – Your PA can see you.”
A group of students from CUNY York College held a sign with the hashtag #LatinosinMedicine. “We want to bring awareness to what PAs do. It’s an expanding field, and we want people to know that,” says student Azline Exine. Her classmate Mackenzie Godoy echoed this sentiment.
“We’re excited to be here and raise awareness of the profession,” Godoy says.
After filling into the TODAY Show plaza, participants were rewarded for their patience when anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, and Craig Melvin came out to the plaza to greet PAs and take pictures. A group of students from Stony Brook University captured a selfie with Hoda, pictured below.
Stony Brook PA Program Associate Professor Lynn Timko-Swaim, MS, PA-C, says, “I’m happy to be with our students from Stony Brook to celebrate National PA Week and show our support for PAs across the country. And to support our many other programs.”
Among the over 50 students who traveled from Rutgers University was Rachel Sarracco, who experienced PAs on the Plaza for the first time. “I just want everyone to know about the amazing things PAs do for their patients,” she says.
The overwhelming PA turnout at both plazas did not go unnoticed by the hosts of Good Morning America or the TODAY Show.
“Do you hear that? This crowd that we have outside is here for Physician Assistant Week. They’re college students from all over the country training to be PAs. We’re so grateful for what they want to do,” says anchor Robin Roberts.
On the TODAY Show, Al Roker led a camera pan around the plaza to capture the size of the crowd. “These physician assistants, wow!” he remarked over the cheers of the crowd. You can view live footage from both plazas here.
PAs on the Plaza is just one way to spread the word about how PAs Go Beyond – stay up to date with AAPA’s social media channels and visit our website to learn more about how to participate this year!