2019 PAEA Education Forum

Board Candidate: Director at Large

Candidate Statement

Daytheon Sturges,

Like many dynamic organizations before, PAEA has embraced a season of transition. We have witnessed the retirement of our esteemed CEO, transitioned from faculty listservs to the new Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), launched a state-of-the-art Digital Learning Hub, and implemented a plethora of new leadership opportunities available to PA faculty and students. These are exciting times for PAEA and PA education as this organization continues to be on the cutting edge and serves as a trailblazer of innovation and educational advancement in medicine. As an active volunteer within PAEA and an ardent supporter of its positive trajectory, I humbly submit my candidacy for Director-at-Large.

I have been a physician assistant for over a decade. I am an experienced faculty member having served in the roles of clinical coordinator at an established program and academic director at a newly accredited program. I am active within PAEA and currently serve on the Diversity and Inclusion Mission Advancement Commission (DIMAC), as a Digital Learning Hub Champion, Project Access facilitator, and Cultural Perspectives feature editor for the Journal of Physician Assistant Education. I am ready to elevate my contributions to PAEA and to you, as a member of the Board of Directors.

As an organization, we should continue to work toward creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment leading to the deployment of culturally competent physician assistants. As PAEA members, not only are we educators, but we also serve as protectors of the public trust. As an organization, it is prudent to continue the necessary work regarding diversity and inclusion while offering member programs the essential tools for success in achieving and maintaining their diversity goals. As an inaugural member of the DIMAC, it has been a collective goal to offer PAEA expert guidance in this realm.

PAEA is an organization of leaders whether one views themselves in this capacity or not. I am a proponent for elevated leadership development opportunities for both educators and students. It is our goal to create leaders and it is with excitement that the regional leadership labs are being implemented. I would like to see more opportunities for student/faculty collaboration in research and the strengthening of student leadership opportunities. In all things, we must be intentional, from leadership to diversity and inclusion. The spirit of collaboration remains essential. As a Director-at-Large, collaborative effort and transparency will remain at the forefront. Thank you for your consideration in this endeavor.

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PAEA Forum Motif


1. What attributes characterize a high-performing Board member and which of them do you possess?

When one thinks of a high-performing Board member, many attributes come to mind. I have had the privilege of being mentored by some of the most effective leaders both inside and outside of physician assistant education. I have tried my best to allow their influences as well as my lived experiences to mold me into a trustworthy, results-driven individual. I have also been able to learn new skills and hone existing skills in leadership as I have served on numerous PAEA committees to include the Diversity and Inclusion Mission Advancement Committee (DIMAC) and the Project Access Sub-Committee. After completing a year-long leadership training program at UT Southwestern Medical Center, I am in tune with the traits that I deem necessary to become a high-performing Board Member. An ideal Board Member should be responsible, accountable, and flexible. They should participate in and welcome diversity of thought. One should be adept at strategic planning and actively contribute to the process of generative thinking. As a member of a team, a high performing Board Member demonstrates a collaborative spirit and above all, performs all duties with a sense of pride and high moral character. As a servant leader, I embody all these attributes. In addition, I am a diligent worker, accessible, and will exhibit transparency. Relatability is also key in encouraging interactions between Board Members and PAEA members. I encourage and welcome all feedback, which is important in individual and collective self-reflection and for transformational growth as a cutting-edge organization.

2. What do you believe will be PAEA’s biggest opportunity in the coming years given the ongoing changes in health care and higher education?

Much has changed during the PA profession’s 50 years of existence. Since its inception, PAEA has been on the forefront of this positive forward progression. Aligning with PAEA’s mission, “Leadership, innovation, and excellence in PA education,” we have boundless opportunities to initiate sustainable change during the coming years. One opportunity is to further define implications for PA education and accreditation considering Optimal Team Practice (OTP). The first step is to ensure that all faculty members and matriculating students understand the premise of OTP and then determine what changes, if any, should be made to our current education model. This conversation is not new, but we can unite all programs and achieve collective understanding. Initially, this could be accomplished by presentations at educational forums, town hall meetings, and/or publications for public consumption. Conducting a needs assessment of member programs will help guide the approach and planning phase. Along with this conversation, comes the continued issue of clinical rotation shortages and the commitment to securing high quality sites. We should continue our legislative work and the engagement of students and faculty on Capitol Hill. Another opportunity is for us to grow our understanding of healthcare and informatics. It will be a vital skill for both PA faculty and students in helping transform health outcomes and moving toward PAEA’s vision of “Health for all.” More resources can be developed to train faculty surrounding population data and how it informs health decisions and on how to implement various informatics tools into content delivery.

3. In recent years, PAEA has advocated for a more outcomes-based approach to PA education and accreditation. What do you see as the next steps in advancing this work?

PAEA’s Strategic Goal 2 is “Program accreditation uses outcome measures that drive quality and innovation.” The next step is to utilize our resources to bridge the gap between the desired outcomes-based accreditation model versus our current iteration of the accreditation standards. We have done our due diligence to offer resources to member programs to understand and meet our current standards, and we would need to do the same for an outcomes-based approach. When incorporating outcomes into accreditation, the program will need to demonstrate the students’ clinical prowess based on the desired outcome. One way to accomplish this is through the implementation of entrustable professional activities (EPAs). The EPAs allow for better assessment of the desired outcomes. As we move toward a possible outcomes-based approach, it is essential that the educational and professional body seek and then maintain a closer relationship with the accrediting body. During this period of transition, it is prudent that PAEA engages its members and begins the dissemination of information and transmission of useful tools and strategies that lead to programmatic success in meeting the desired outcomes-based accreditation standards. This engagement can be accomplished by leveraging our existing resources such as the digital learning hub, Education Forum, JPAE, and our new regional leadership labs. A move toward an outcome-based accreditation process aids in ensuring that we graduate competent physician assistants, while also ensuring patient safety and quality healthcare.