2023 Eugene A. Stead Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Has Dedicated Her Career to Opening Doors for PAs

Josanne Pagel is a Trailblazing Leader and Advocate for PAs in Administration

May 19, 2023

By Sarah Blugis

Josanne K. Pagel, M.Div., MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, EBS

Josanne K. Pagel, M.Div., MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, EBS, is the 2023 recipient of the Eugene A. Stead Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the first early PAs in administration, Pagel has been a committed advocate for the profession throughout her career, and is perhaps best known for her dedication to advancing PA practice in her home state of Ohio and cultivating future PA administrators.

The Eugene A. Stead Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award honors a lifetime of achievement that has had a broad and significant impact on the PA profession. It is AAPA’s most prestigious award.

Interested in medicine since elementary school, Pagel met a student in a surgical PA program and was able to shadow him. From there, she says, she was hooked. Following graduation from her PA program, Pagel left Ohio to join the Peace Corp – another childhood dream – as a healthcare volunteer.  Stationed in the Philippines for two years, Pagel practiced rural medicine before returning home, where she began clinically practicing in surgery.

“Surgery was our niche in northeastern Ohio and it gave me opportunities to begin new programs, like cardiothoracic surgery, and also the ability to move into management,” Pagel says. She helped to develop the Fairview Hospital surgical PA department, and throughout her career, has also practiced in women’s health, family medicine, and emergency medicine. She has also received master’s degrees in both psychiatry and addiction medicine.

Pagel’s early-career cardiothoracic surgery team

“While working in surgery I was able to become a preceptor and allow many students to rotate through our surgery department,” she says. “Being a part of a team, and then being able to lead the team, was always my dream in medicine.”

And lead she did. Pagel quickly became a trailblazer in Ohio, where she was appointed as the Chair of Fundraising for the Ohio Association of PAs (OAPA). As a skilled event planner, Pagel thrived at organizing fundraising events—which were critical to chapter advocacy efforts. Throughout her career, her commitment to improving PA practice in Ohio only deepened as she went on to serve as the president of OAPA, and later the chair of the governmental affairs committee.

Pagel has helped to generate over 50 pieces of legislation to enhance PA practice in the state, and continues to be an active advocate for Ohio PAs. Legislative victories in which she played a part include achieving full scheduled prescriptive authority, filing of supervision requirements at the

Pagel is well known for her advocacy on behalf of the profession.

practice level, admitting authority, and the elimination of the restrictive drug formulary.

Her leadership didn’t end at the state-level: After volunteering for over ten years with the AAPA Planning for PA Progress committee, Pagel took on more national leadership roles. She served as Secretary-Treasurer on the AAPA Board of Directors, and went on to serve as AAPA President for the 2017-2018 leadership year. Her passion for national leadership has extended across multiple impactful volunteer roles, including positions on the Clinical Ratio Task Force, the Title Change Investigation Advisory Council, and the Governance Commission Task Force. Pagel is also a familiar face within the AAPA House of Delegates, serving for years as a delegate and chief delegate for OAPA.

Pagel has also made new inroads for PAs at one of the largest PA employers in the world: the Cleveland Clinic Health System. For 19 years, Pagel was the first Executive Director of PA Services at Cleveland Clinic, where she empowered PAs to work in every medical and surgical practice setting as she oversaw the practice, regulation, and competencies of over 950 PAs.

For 19 years, Pagel was the first Executive Director of PA Services at Cleveland Clinic.

Through this role, she was responsible for quality, onboarding, competencies, education, and “anything PA,” she says, in their work. She also consulted on practice across all of the health system’s sites, including in Abu Dhabi and in the United Kingdom, and expanded the Cleveland Clinic’s preceptor program for PA students.

“My goal as the Executive Director of PAs was to nourish future PA administrators, create leadership positions, and to help PAs hone their skills both clinically and professionally,” Pagel says.

She retired from Cleveland Clinic in 2022 and is now an adjunct professor for the Butler University PA program, where she teaches a leadership course. Pagel is also a guest lecturer for multiple PA programs, speaking about state laws and regulations, as well as professionalism and practice. Going even further to empower the next generation of PAs, Pagel has also created several student workshops, and initiated a program director and industry workshop.

“I love teaching and being able to enrich practicing PAs, to enable them to rise up in their organization or practice to become administrators and leaders,” Pagel says. “My dream has always been to make sure there is a PA administrator in every practice and health system in the world. A PA sitting in the C-suite, making an impact on healthcare, has always been and always will be my goal!”

Pagel served as Secretary-Treasurer on the AAPA Board of Directors, and went on to serve as AAPA President for the 2017-2018 leadership year.

Throughout her career, Pagel has been recognized for her substantial contributions to the profession. She is an AAPA Distinguished Fellow, a two-time recipient of the Charles Hudson Ohio PA of the Year Award, a recipient of the Hudson Society Distinguished Clinical Educators Award, and a recipient of the Case Western Reserve University Program’s award named in her honor, the Josanne Pagel PA Advocacy Award.

Among her colleagues, Pagel is known for her mission to open doors for others – to enhance, cultivate, and encourage both their careers and their livelihoods. “PAs are changing the world in healthcare, education, research, and beyond. There are no boundaries to what PAs can and will do,” Pagel says. “I’m hopeful that I have accomplished what I was put on this Earth to do: open doors.”

Sarah Blugis is AAPA’s Internal Communications Manager. She can be reached at [email protected]

You May Also Like
2023 Award Recipients
Major Marc Latta Focuses on Transformation
Cardiology PA Viet Le Helps Pave the Way for More PA Researchers

Thank you for reading AAPA’s News Central

You have 2 articles left this month. Create a free account to read more stories, or become a member for more access to exclusive benefits! Already have an account? Log in.