AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship

AAPA is pleased to announce the third year of the AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship. The AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship is a collaborative PA education and workforce research capacity building program. The goals of the Fellowship are three-fold: develop a cadre of PAs skilled in PA education and workforce research, encourage utilization of PAEA and AAPA data to generate research of interest to the PA profession and community of PA scholars, and provide future research mentors for newer faculty to sustain the PA workforce and education research pipeline.

Welcome to the 2019-2020 Fellows

Congratulations to Kari Bernard, MS, PA-C and Dr. Vanessa Bester, EdD, PA-C for their acceptance into the AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship.

About the Fellows

Vanessa Bester, EdD, PA-C, Augsburg University PA Program
Rigorous and Valid Qualitative Research: African American PA Student Success

Dr. Bester began teaching PA students in the clinical setting in 2007 and transitioned to full-time PA education in 2012, while continuing to maintain her clinical PA practice. Dr. Bester’s primary research focus is inclusion and diversity within the PA profession and qualitative methodologies. Dr. Bester has published articles related to HIV and infectious diseases, military PAs, and the retention and barriers of minority PAs, faculty, and students. She serves on PAEA’s Diversity and Inclusion Mission Advancement Committee and is also the Primary Investigator for a Minnesota Department of Health Grant to educate students on opiate addiction treatment and expand PA student clinical training opportunities to urban and rural underserved communities in Minnesota.

Kari Bernard, MS, PA-C, MEDEX Northwest
Physician Assistant Burnout and Fulfillment related to Career Development and Physician Relationship

Kari Bernard has practiced clinically in cardiac electrophysiology, emergency medicine, urgent care, and occupational medicine since 2004. She began her research training in 2016 through Walden University. After joining the faculty of the University of Washington MEDEX Northwest PA program as a lecturer at the Anchorage campus, where she is currently the campus director, she changed her focus from clinical practice to education and research. Kari is currently pursuing a doctor of philosophy in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

We will begin accepting proposals in Spring 2020. It is time to start thinking about your application now, for submission next year. For more information regarding the AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship, the application process, and application requirements, please review the AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship Guidelines!

Description of the Fellowship

The AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship provides financial support for PAs with a strong interest in research about the PA profession and PA education. A grant covering 20 percent of the recipient’s base salary up to $25,000 will be allocated to the fellow’s institution to permit a 20 percent time release from teaching and other activities to allow them to focus on scholarly activities of interest to the PA profession and PA education. There is no allowance for institutional indirect costs.

Fellows are expected to use the release time to complete their research project, develop their skills under the guidance of a mentor, engage in educational activities, and broaden their knowledge of the PA profession and PA education. By the conclusion of the fellowship, fellows should be finished or near completion of their project and preparing the findings for publication and presentation. It is the funders’ expectation that by one year after the end of the fellowship, a research manuscript describing and analyzing the results will be submitted to a peer-reviewed publication.

The fellowship will include a two-to-four-day winter meeting at the PAEA offices in Washington, DC, and a two-to-four-day summer meeting at the AAPA offices in Alexandria, VA. Travel expenses will be covered by the funders. Fellows will interact with PA leaders in education and workforce research and the research teams from AAPA and PAEA. The fellowship provides opportunities to meet with researchers from other organizations such as the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Academy of Medicine, the Robert Graham Center, the National Association of Community Health Centers, and the National Center for Education Statistics. Fellows will be eligible to earn AAPA Category 1 CME for their participation in many of the educational opportunities offered by the fellowship. Individuals selected for the fellowship will be conferred the title of AAPA-PAEA Research Fellow.

Goals of the Fellowship Program

The AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship seeks to build the research capacity of PAs and PA faculty and develop leaders to represent, advance, and elevate PAs in health professions research.

The objectives of the fellowship are to:

  • Develop a cadre of PA leaders who are skilled in PA education and workforce research
  • Encourage utilization of PAEA and AAPA data to generate research of interest to the PA profession and community of PA scholars
  • Provide future research mentors for early career PA researchers in order to sustain the PA workforce and education research pipeline

Recommended Research Topics

  • Workforce readiness of PA program graduates
  • Advancing the PA identity
  • Challenges and solutions to clinical education site availability
  • Equipping PAs and faculty for expanded leadership roles in health care
  • Diversity and the PA student pipeline
  • Barriers to the creation of progressive work environments for PAs

Work Requirements for Fellows

The fellowship will run from November 1, 2019 through October 31, 2020.

  • Commitment to scholarly activity for the equivalent of one day per week (.2 FTE)
  • Completion of a research project including publication in or submission to a peer-reviewed journal or other project approved by PAEA and AAPA within one year of fellowship completion (October 2021)
  • Interim reports providing updates on project progress and obstacles due to the funder at six and 12 months of the fellowship
  • Attendance at the 2019 PAEA Education Forum and AAPA 2020 Conference • Attendance and presentation of research progress at the 2020 PAEA Education Forum
  • Attendance at webinar seminars
  • Attendance at monthly check-in meetings with the funder regarding project progress
  • Two in-person meetings in the Washington, DC, area (winter and summer seminar series)

Current and Past AAPA-PAEA Research Fellows

2019-2020 AAPA-PAEA Research Fellows

Kari Bernard, MS, PA-C, of MEDEX Northwest

Vanessa Bester, EdD, PA-C, of Augsburg University

2018-2019 AAPA-PAEA Research Fellows

Bettie Coplan, MPAS, PA-C, of Northern Arizona University

Morgan Nowak, MS, PA-C, of Shenandoah University

Ryan White, MS, MPH, PA-C, of Rutgers University

2017-2018 AAPA-PAEA Research Fellows

Christy Hanson, MPAS, PA-C, of Bethel University

Virginia Valentin, DrPH, PA-C, of University of Utah

Alicia Quella, PhD, PA-C, of Augsburg University