AAPA, PA Foundation Awarded Grant to Improve Mental Health in Students

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (March 18, 2024) – The American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) announced today that the PA Foundation has received a grant from the RBC Foundation USA to launch the PArtnership to Improve Student Mental Health project, aimed at addressing trauma or mental health challenges students may experience in the classroom.

Throughout this project, AAPA and the PA Foundation will develop a youth mental health training program in partnership with five physician associates/physician assistants (PAs) selected to participate. Upon completion of the training, those PAs will then partner with a local school district to train educators and administrators on ways to improve interactions with students impacted by mental health challenges.

AAPA CEO Lisa M. Gables, CPA, said the project comes at a critical time as youth mental health needs increase and schools struggle with shortages of professional mental health staff.

“It is estimated that 80% of children are exposed to a potentially traumatic experience during childhood,” Gables said. “We know that teachers want to help their students succeed anyway they can. This program aims to empower teachers to feel more comfortable addressing mental health challenges students may face.” The project was inspired by the work of Erin Crown, a Pennsylvania PA and founder of the Pennsylvania Mental Health Initiative. Crown helped to lead mental health training with three central Pennsylvania school districts in 2021, helping teachers and administrators better understand the different mental health issues that may affect students.

“We knew this was a major problem in our schools, so we decided that we needed to step up and do something,” Crown said. “It’s been several years since we conducted training, and I still hear from teachers who say that this was one of the most impactful trainings they’ve ever received.” The National Alliance on Mental Health estimates that one in six youth in the U.S. experience a mental health disorder each year. The RBC Foundation USA works to provide funding to support youth mental health that empowers them to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

“The PA Foundation and AAPA have developed an innovative training program to help schools and students with mental well-being support,” said Jennifer Grazel, Global Chief Marketing Officer, RBC Capital Markets and RBC Foundation USA Board Member. “We are proud to partner with them on this project.”


Media Contact: Josh Birch, 443.614.5896

About the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA)
AAPA is the national membership organization for all physician associates/physician assistants (PAs). 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 was named one of the best jobs overall and one of the best healthcare jobs for the seventh year in a row by U.S. News & World Report. Learn more about the profession at aapa.org and engage through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

About the PA Foundation

PA Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that promotes better health and wellness by providing PAs and PA students with philanthropic opportunities and resources. It is the philanthropic arm of the AAPA, representing a profession of approximately 159,000 PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the uniformed services.

About the RBC Foundation

USA The RBC Foundation USA, the charitable arm of RBC Capital Markets, is proud to invest in partnerships and programs that create equal opportunities and better outcomes for youth across the U.S. By providing mental well-being support, skills, resources and mentorship, the RBC Foundation USA aims to help the next generation achieve their full potential. From 2023 through 2025, the RBC Foundation USA will commit $27 million to initiatives that will reach more than 275,000 young people. To learn more about the impact, visit rbccm.com/foundationusa.

About RBC Capital Markets

RBC Capital Markets is recognized by the most significant corporations, institutional investors, asset managers, private equity firms, and governments around the globe as an innovative, trusted partner with an in-depth expertise in capital markets, banking, and finance. RBC Capital Markets is well-established in the largest, most mature capital markets across North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, which collectively encompass more than 75% of global investment banking activity each year. To learn more, visit rbccm.com.