The Physician Assistant Education Association delivered awards to the UAB Physician Assistant Studies Program, Program Director Tosi Gilford, MD, PA-C, and to student Amber Rohrberg.

Rohrberg named Future Educator Fellow

Amber Rohrberg, a second-year PA student, has been named a 2020 Future Educator Fellow. She is one of only 15 to earn the honor. The awardees attend the annual PAEA Education Forum for an intensive in teaching, the educational environment and leadership. The fellowship is a year-long program that focuses on educational programming, problems, and competencies in an effort to foster Rohrberg’s foundation in PA education.

The UAB PA Instagram named Rohrberg their Student of the Week for the honor and in the SOTW post she said: “I am hoping to use this fellowship to supplement my ability to be an effective Supplemental Instructor for the first year Physiology class.”

Gilford added to Committee to Advise on CASPA Issues

M Tosi GilfordTosi Gilford, pictured far rightTosi Gilford, PA Program Director, has been named to a committee to advise on admissions policies and concerns with the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). She joins five others from across the U.S. that will serve as the voice of PA admissions and provide suggestions for the maintenance and enhancement of CASPA.

“I am excited to work closely with the other appointed PA educators because serving in this capacity aligns with the diversity measures that we have focused on, over the past few years,” said Gilford. “Through the support of our outreach activities, the Underrepresented Minorities in Medicine Group (URM), and our Diversity and Inclusion Chair, we have found sustainable ways to increase the diversity of our PA program and we have upped our diversity by 14 percent in 2020.”

This is the inaugural PAEA CASPA Advisory Steering Committee. They are working on behalf of programs and applicants to develop the necessary tools and resources based on admissions best practices and to ensure PAEA members have access to them.

Program to Administer Pilot Substance Use Disorder Curriculum

The UAB PA program, ranked 37th in the latest U.S. News & World Report, has been named to the second cohort to administer the pilot version of the Expansion of Practitioner Education – PA (PRAC-ED-PA) substance use disorder (SUD) curriculum. They are one of only 10 universities to be selected.

“The Alabama Department of Public Health reports the #2 health concern in our state is mental health and substance abuse,” said Gilford. “Substance use disorders and drug-related mortality has significantly increased over the years, and it is imperative that we train our students in a manner that will equip them with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to develop a comprehensive and compassionate approach to effectively manage this population of patients.”

Beginning in 2021, the UAB PA program will administer the PRAC-ED-PA curriculum to their first-year students. They are participating in a curriculum quality improvement process that will eventually lead to the development of a standardized SUD curriculum for PA education.

The program receives an honoraria for their contributions. At the end of the project, the PAEA will distribute the SUD curriculum to all member programs.