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Emory Students at the AAPA Meeting in Boston 2014

AAPA 2014 - Boston by Chantel Priolo PA-S1

The PA Challenge Bowl  with Team Emory - Jeremy Amayo PA-S1, Shannon Doran PA-S2, and Claire Urban PA-S2

Challenge Bowl

Assembly of Representatives meeting

As a member of the AOR, I was required to attend the AOR meeting on Saturday and Sunday. Despite having to wake up at the crack of dawn on both days, I really enjoyed myself. Before the conference started, I was already meeting reps from other schools and had a great time comparing our programs.

The AOR meeting was held in the basement of the conference center. I really couldn’t get over how organized it was! Reps had to sign in and grab a placard with the name of your school. This helped us to get to know one another and to hold it up to vote.

As student reps, we were encouraged to write resolutions to improve our field. As much as the former reps educated me on this, I still wasn’t sure what to expect. First, the AOR board walked us through parliamentary procedures which is basically a fancy way of allowing a large group to speak their minds during voting of resolutions.  Towards the end of the morning session, we listened to guest speakers from the PA foundation and PAEA president and the announcement of the PA student awards. The awards recognized students and programs for their service outside PA programs. This is definitely something Emory should apply for next year.

Voting of Resolutions (Resolution summaries at end of post)

The AOR’s job is to vote on student resolutions and there were 10 resolutions on the agenda. Resolutions provide the agenda for the student board for the upcoming year. Task forces and volunteer groups are formed to tackle these resolutions and actually carry them out. Procedures start with a main motion and proposal. The author of the resolution would step up to a microphone to discuss the meaning behind their resolution. Then there would be an open floor discussion. Some students would agree with it and others would explain why they didn’t think the resolution was necessary. Resolutions included things like establishing more international rotations, creating LGBT awareness, increasing social media strategies amongst regional groups, and building a database for post-grad training. After voting to pass, amend, or reject the resolutions all AOR members broke off into their designated regional group. I met with the Southeast regional director to tie up loose ends. 

Keynote Speaker: Atul Gawande

On Saturday night, I attended the key note speaker. I arrived about 15 mins late and I felt like I was walking through a ghost-town when I arrived at the conference hall. No one was around! As I made my way to the top floor, I could hear the commotion. I was amazed at how many people were in the room! Such great energy! Atul Gawande talked for about 45 minutes about the problems facing healthcare today. One of his anecdotes that really stuck with me was about a recent operation for his mother that required him to stay with her during her recovery. During that time, 64 different healthcare professionals stepped foot into her hospital room and made their own decisions on his mother’s health. He used this as an example of why it’s important that healthcare professionals work as a TEAM and not individuals. He also mentioned the need to focus on those patients that are “frequent” users of healthcare and how it can be avoided. Atul talked about  Dr. Jeffery Brenner’s project – the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers established in 2003. This project is a new health delivery model that provides better access to care to Camden City residents. I saw Dr. Brenner speak at UPenn last year and had many of my MPH classmates work with him on this coalition. Originally growing up in a town not too far from Camden, NJ, I felt really proud!

Researcher’s Reception

After spending the morning at SPARK lectures and then sight-seeing during the afternoon, I returned to the conference center on Monday night to attend the researcher’s reception. This was an open invite for practicing PA and student researchers. I didn’t know what to expect at this event but I’m glad I attended.

One of the editors from JAAPA was also in attendance and spoke to us about the importance of research as PAs, how it’s such a small field, and the importance of submitting research to the journal for publication. Although it is a “low impact” journal, the journal still requires articles to boost their numbers.  I also ran into an old friend, Memo Sanchez, an alumni from GWU who had a popular PA student blog and now works in research at the CDC in Atlanta. It’s always great to see a familiar face!


Poster Session

Tuesday afternoon I presented my poster at the conference. I was able to not only present my research to colleagues but also walk around and talk to authors of research within the field of health literacy and EHRs (my interest). All in all, it was a success! Can’t wait until next year’s conference in San Fran!! Posters were also presented by Emory PA students Jose  Guillen and Melanie Williams