Reflection of the Past, looking to the future; A Call to Action!
Looking back over the 30 years at the University of Kentucky, I am encouraged to see what the Physician Assistant Studies program has achieved. As a new first year PA student coming out of Africa and starting into the UKPA program after the 1986 summer session was finished, I started on a journey that has been a wonderful career. As my path would take me from practicing clinically full time to move into teaching in the UK PA program in 1994. I have seen many students come through our program. Our graduates are practicing around the world as PAs providing top quality of care. We have kept to our mission of “The Mission of the UK Physician Assistant program is to educate competent physician assistants committed to the delivery of high quality and compassionate health care in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond.”
Our program is strong defined by a solid foundation in 1974. We have continued to redefine who we are as a program. As we assess the current health of Kentuckians, we see a great disparities throughout the Commonwealth. Our call to action is to meet these healthcare disparities as PAs. We as the Flagship PA program in the Commonwealth, need to focus on meeting the health needs of Kentuckians. Our new program director gave our PA faculty and staff a challenge to help meet the healthcare disparities of Kentuckians through training PAs for the Commonwealth in the areas of healthcare such as Primary Care. We accept this challenge as PA faculty and staff, but we cannot do this alone.
I am challenging each PA graduate from 1974 until now to step up to the plate and help us prepare our future PA workforce to:
* To refocus our PA training in Primary Care
* To move our state legislation to enable our future and current PAs to practice at the top of their scope of practice
* To expand our recruitment of new students from areas of our state that have high disparities
* To enhance primary care tracks for our students to be trained in models that are effective in retaining PA graduates to stay in the commonwealth
* To become preceptors from every area of medicine to help train UK PA students.
* To give to PA student scholarships that we have established here in the college * to help our students offset the financial burden of school loans.
As Dr. Scott Black reported out to our faculty and staff that the Commonwealth will have an estimated shortage of 2368 primary care providers by 2025. We need to be producing 240 primary care providers (PAs, MDs, DOs, and NPs) each year from now until 2025.
We bleed Blue for UK basketball and football why not bleed blue for UK PA education. I love UK I know we all are proud of our PA training and for providing each one of us with a great career as a PA. Please join the PA faculty and staff as we refocus our efforts in making Your UK PA program a national model for the training of PAs in Primary Care.