AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship

Applications are now closed for the fifth 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.

Interested in applying next year, you can prepare by reading the 2021-2022 AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship Guidelines prior to applying.

If you have questions about the process or the Fellowship itself, we are happy to help! Just send us an email and allow 2 business days for us to respond.

Description of the Fellowship

Description of the Fellowship

PAEA and the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), offer up to three one-year research fellowships annually. PAs must be involved in research if the profession is to demonstrate their role in the healthcare environment. In addition, PA faculty face the pressure to publish original research, while educating students and practicing clinically. This program provides a substantial investment to strengthen the research skills and productivity of qualified PAs to conduct high-quality, publishable research.

The Fellowship will provide PAs with 

  • Funding for protected time to allow Fellows to conduct research and expand their research agendas;
  • Broaden Fellows’ knowledge of the medical research community, data sources, and build their professional networks with prominent medical research organizations; and
  • Developmental support to join a strong cohort of research leaders who mentor future PA researchers and become PA research experts who advance the profession.

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.

The Fellowship will include a two-to-four-day seminar at the PAEA offices in Washington, DC, and a two-to-three-day seminar at the AAPA offices in Alexandria, Virginia. Fellows will participate in exclusive Fellowship sessions and earn more than 40 hours of CME. Travel expenses for fellowship events will be covered in full, however, the COVID-19 pandemic may alter these plans and require virtual components.

Fellows are expected to use the release time to develop their research skills by completing and providing to AAPA and PAEA a research project under the guidance of a mentor, engaging in educational activities, and broadening their knowledge of PA education and the PA profession. By the conclusion of the Fellowship, fellows should have completed their research and have their findings prepared for publication and presentation.

Individuals selected for the Fellowship will be conferred the title of AAPA-PAEA Research Fellow.

If you would like to read about the experiences of Bettie Coplan, PhD, MPAS, PA-C during her Fellowship application and read her tips, she was featured in a PAEA article.

Goals of the Fellowship Program

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; and
  • Provide future research mentors for early career PA researchers in order to sustain the PA workforce and education research pipeline
Fellowship Events
    • Upcoming Fellowship Events

    • We hope you can register for the upcoming Fellowship events. To register, click on the event title.

Friday, September 24, 2021 from 11:00 am to 1200 pm EST


Speakers: Nikki Frias and Erika Brooks, CSPO, CSM (PAEA)

This activity has been reviewed by the AAPA Review Panel and is compliant with AAPA CME Criteria. This activity is designated for 1 AAPA Category 1 CME credits. PAs should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation. Approval is valid from 9/24/2021 to 9/24/2021. AAPA reference number: CME-203385.

At the end of the webinar, you should:

  • Know the important CASPA terms
  • Understand CASPA’s benefits for student applicants and PA programs
  • Have a basic understanding of how the data is set-up, what data is available, and what the limitations are.
    Know how to request data

Learn more about this event at PAEA.

Past Events

2021 Summer Seminar Series

Thank you to the PAs, Fellows and guests who attended the Research Fellowship Summer Seminar Series. We look forward to hosting more events like this in the future. Please refer to the full agenda (PDF) for the speaker(s) and learning objectives for each session.

Work Requirements for Fellows

Work Requirements for Fellows

The fellowship will run from November 1, 2021 through October 31, 2022.

  • 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 2023)
  • Interim reports providing updates on project progress and obstacles due to the funder at six and 12 months of the fellowship
  • Attendance at the 2021 PAEA Education Forum (kick off), AAPA 2021 Conference, and 2022 PAEA Education Forum (closing presentation)
  • 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)
Important Dates for 2021-2022

Important Dates for 2021-2022

  • Applications close – May 30, 2021
  • Hold interviews – June 28-July 2, 2021
  • Send offer letters – July 9, 2021
  • PAEA 2021 – Late October 2021 (TBD)
  • Winter Seminar Series – Mid-January 2022 (Washington, DC)
  • AAPA 2022 – May 21-25, 2022 (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Summer Seminar Series – Mid-July 2022 (Alexandria, VA)
  • PAEA 2022 – Late October 2022 (TBD)
Meet the Fellows

Meet the 2020-2021 Fellows

Congratulations to Adrian Banning, DHSc, MMS, PA-C and Stephanie Neary, MPA, MMS, PA-C on their acceptance into the 2020-2021 PAEA Research Fellowship.

Adrian Banning, DHSc, MMS, PA-C of Drexel University

Provider Well-Being Curricula and Student Well-Being in PA Education

Dr. Adrian S. Banning has been a physician assistant since 2006 specializing in primary care and focusing on the veteran population. She became a faculty member at Drexel University in 2008. As an associate clinical professor, she teaches the didactic section of PA education which includes evidence-based medicine.

Her previous research has explored the effect of art therapy on medical education and its relationship to communication, ambiguity, empathy, and well-being. Her Fellowship project will investigate associations between PA program curricula and student-reported well-being, in addition to associations between student demographics, program characteristics, and student well-being. Banning hopes that her study will prove valuable to PA programs seeking to meet the new Accreditation Standard B2.20 focused on provider wellness.

Stephanie Neary, MPA, MMS, PA-C of Yale School of Medicine PA Online Program

The effect of a well-being curriculum on the mental health outcomes of first year Physician Assistant (PA) students

Stephanie Neary has been a physician assistant since graduating with an MMS in Physician Assistant Studies in 2015. She currently practices inpatient endocrinology in the Diabetes Management Service at the Medical University of South Carolina. She began her career as an adjunct faculty in 2012 and became an instructor at the Yale School of Medicine PA Online Program in 2017. Currently, she serves as an Assistant Professor Adjunct and the Director of Didactic Education.

Stephanie Neary was motivated to study PA student well-being because of her own experiences as a student in two master’s programs paired with her experience advising numerous didactic students. In her Fellowship, she plans to study the effect of a dedicated well-being curriculum on PA student mental health. Neary hopes that her curriculum will erase the idea of white coat infallibility and provide all students foundational skills in positive coping and self-reflection.

Meet the 2021-2022 Fellows

Congratulations to Alice Eggleston, MPH, PA-C, Yolanda Freeman-Hildreth, PhD, PA-C, and Nick Hudak, MPA, MSEd, PA-C on their acceptance into the 2021 to 2022 AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship.

Alice Eggleston, MPH, PA-C, of Atlantia Clinical Trials

Physician Assistants in the Clinical Trials Setting

PA Eggleston’s study aims to understand what roles PAs play in clinical trials, the characteristics of PAs practicing in clinical research, and what benefits or barriers PAs encounter while working in the clinical trials setting. The topic is essential to describe the PAs working in these non-traditional capacities and highlight an aspect of the PA identity. There is an increased demand for clinical research professionals. PAs do outstanding work in many areas of medicine, but it is not widely known how PAs contribute to the clinical research field.

Eggleston’s public health education before PA school and her interest in the big-picture perspective of health prompted her to pursue clinical research since becoming a PA in 2014. Through her research and clinical experience, she found that the PA workforce needed to explore the clinical research PA characteristics to develop new opportunities and standards in the field. Ultimately, Eggleston hopes PAs who have considered shifting their practice to a non-traditional role or non-clinical role can learn more about the research sector as an opportunity for professional growth. Understanding the breakdown of research PAs in the country will help characterize the gaps and opportunities in the research industry.

Yolanda Freeman-Hildreth, PhD, PA-C, of the University of Detroit-Mercy

Singled out: The Influence of Implicit Bias on Underrepresented Minority Student Recruitment and Retention

Dr. Freeman-Hildreth also examines the underrepresentation of students from diverse backgrounds in admissions. The study will explore the influences of implicit faculty bias and students’ perception of inclusiveness on underrepresented minority (URM) recruitment and retention. The current demographics of the PA profession do not reflect the diversity of the US population. Recent research indicates that healthcare providers and educators, similarly to police officers, are not immune to implicit bias. Moreover, recent news stories have highlighted incidences where implicit bias has influenced clinical decision-making where treatment decisions were made based on stereotypical unconscious attributes among minority patients. Dr. Freeman-Hildreth seeks to provide best practices for:

  • Improving PA program diversity
  • Increasing self-awareness regarding existent biases and stereotypes among PA faculty
  • Providing insight into how implicit bias impacts the perception of inclusivity among URM students
  • Providing recommendations for improving URM recruitment and retention within the profession.

This research has implications for standardizing the recruitment and interview processes within programs by implementing protocols to reduce bias and creating an inclusive climate throughout PA education.

Nick Hudak, MPA, MSEd, PA-C, of Duke University

Policy Effect on Physician Assistant Student Mistreatment Reporting

Accredited PA programs are required to define, publish, and make readily available policies and procedures for student reports of mistreatment. Given the challenge of mistreatment and the role of policy-driven practices, PA Hudak is studying the relationships between mistreatment policy factors (i.e., policy presence, content, dissemination) and the frequency at which students report mistreatment to their programs. Findings from his study will establish an evidence base to inform policy-driven practices to better support students and improve clinical learning environments. From a policy perspective, they will assist PA educators in revising, implementing, and evaluating mistreatment policy within their programs and establishing a foundation for future research.



Current and Past Fellows

Current and Past Fellows

2020-2021 PAEA Research Fellows

  • Adrian Banning, DHSc, MMS, PA-C of Drexel University
  • Stephanie Neary, MPA, MMS, PA-C of Yale School of Medicine PA Online Program

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