CO Outreach and Advocacy Award Recipient Strives to Empower PAs

Minnesota Academy of PAs Works to ‘Foster a Supportive Environment’ for PAs

May 16, 2024

By Sarah Blugis

MAPA logoThis year’s CO Outreach and Advocacy Award recipient is the Minnesota Academy of PAs (MAPA), recognized for their outstanding work in the previous calendar year. AAPA’s Outreach and Advocacy Awards are presented each year to recognize constituent organizations (COs) for their creative and innovative programs and projects that align with AAPA’s strategic plan and commitments to the PA profession.

“MAPA is dedicated to advancing the role of PAs in Minnesota by fostering a supportive environment that empowers PAs to provide quality, accessible healthcare to diverse communities,” says MAPA President Brittany Strelow, DMSc, PA-C.

MAPA has utilized its 12 committees to achieve several of its initiatives across CME; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); advocacy; and more. This approach, the organization says, helps them to ensure they’re making an impact across all areas of engagement, as well as the entire state of Minnesota.

MAPA’s CME Committee, for example, organized “PA Nights Out” in various Minnesota cities, providing PAs with an opportunity to network and earn CME. Meanwhile, the Social Media and Marketing Committee developed and launched a podcast for MAPA members on a range of topics, including LGBTQ issues and rural medicine.

Other committees are focused on student relations, membership, legislation and reimbursement, leadership development, DEI, awards, and executive affairs.

Through this approach, MAPA has grown as a constituent organization by increasing their membership, advancing PA practice in the state, amplifying advocacy efforts by partnering with other Minnesota health organizations, cultivating student leaders, and encouraging continued PA leadership and engagement.

“By championing policies that support PAs and promoting continuous education, we equip our members to excel in their roles and make meaningful contributions to healthcare,” Strelow says. “Ultimately, our goal is to create a community where PAs thrive professionally, positively impacting the health and well-being of individuals and communities throughout Minnesota.”

Their success isn’t without challenges. In 2020, MAPA celebrated the passage of an omnibus healthcare bill that improved PA practice in Minnesota by removing references to supervision, delegation, and physician responsibility for care provided by PAs. But that bill took years of hard work—and compromises made by MAPA’s legislative committee—to achieve. In 2022, they again worked to pass a harmonization bill to reduce administrative confusion and allow PAs to continue caring for patients without disruption.

Along with improving the practice environment for PAs in Minnesota, MAPA also strives to support a diverse community of PAs and PA students. In particular, they’ve worked to reach and engage a variety of groups, including LGBTQ PAs and PA students, PAs of color, rural PAs, PA programs, retired PAs, local healthcare systems, legislators, and more.

The state chapter’s success is thanks to the dedication and hard work of volunteers, Strelow says, whose tireless efforts are the “backbone” of MAPA’s mission to advance the profession.

“This award inspires our volunteers to continue their impactful work, knowing that their efforts are making a difference and being acknowledged by the broader community,” Strelow says. “It serves as a morale boost, fostering a sense of pride and motivation among our volunteers to continue striving for excellence in advancing our organizational goals.”

Strelow, an internal medicine PA who became interested in the profession during her mother’s battle with cancer, cites the ability to giving back to her community as the most rewarding aspect of being a PA. The tangible impact of innovation, she says, inspires her to advocate for proactive healthcare practices.

“PAs can do it all,” Strelow says. “So buckle up, world, because with PAs on the scene, the possibilities are endless—and the adventures are boundless!”

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

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