Student Health Policy Fellowship

For more than five years, PAEA has welcomed PA students from across the country to apply for our Student Health Policy Fellowship (SHPF). In recognition of the critical role of PA representation in health policy debates at the local, state, and national levels, this fellowship opportunity provides students with the skills necessary to serve as effective leaders on behalf of PA education and the PA profession.

The application cycle is now closed.


The SHPF is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the political process and health policy. The ultimate goal is to inspire and prepare fellows for lifelong grassroots advocacy, both in Washington and at home, that promotes the PA profession as an integral part of the health care system.
This program starts with a three-day intensive workshop in Washington, DC, on September 6–9, where fellows will learn about advocacy and policymaking processes, interact with fellow leaders, and meet with their representatives and staff on Capitol Hill. By the end of the fellowship, participants will have developed skills in three key areas:


Fellows will learn how the legislative process works at the federal level and how to become effective advocates for PA education and the PA profession.


Fellows will build and refine the skills necessary to organize and lead others in both advancing health policy priorities and serving as an advocate for the PA profession at the local, state, and national levels.

PAs and the Health Care Environment

Fellows will develop an appreciation for grassroots advocacy in advancing the goals of PA education and practice in communities.

Students take part in the Health Policy Fellowship at PAEA's offices.


In addition to the three-day meeting in Washington, DC, the fellowship requires that each participant complete an advocacy project under the guidance of a program faculty mentor by September 2021 and agree to participate in periodic follow-up surveys from PAEA. Advocacy projects should be creative and demonstrate a positive impact on the PA profession, local or state community, or PA programs. Examples of past projects include:

  • Organizing a lobby day at the state capitol
  • Hosting a member of Congress at your PA program
  • Student advocacy presentations at PA state association meetings
  • PA awareness campaigns with community health centers

Students who are accepted will receive guidelines on the development of a project proposal during the fellowship experience in Washington, DC.

Application Details

Application Timeline

  • May 4, 2020: Fellowship application opens
  • July 13, 2020: Application closes at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. All application materials and forms must be received; any information received after this date will not be considered.
  • July 31, 2020: Notification of application status via email
  • August 2, 2020: Deadline to confirm participation
  • September 14–16, 2020: In-person Session at PAEA Offices in Washington, DC

Required Application Materials

To apply for the Student Health Policy Fellowship, you must submit:

    1. A resume/CV
    2. A personal statement describing your past experience in health policy, advocacy/leadership, and why you would like to pursue this opportunity (less than 500 words)
    3. A policy analysis analyzing one section of either the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act (HR 1685) or the Physician Assistant Education Public Health Initiatives Act and reflecting on its potential impact on PA education (less than 500 words):
      • H.R. 1685, Section 2: Instituting Borrowing Parity for Physician Assistant Students Under the Federal Direct Loan Program
      • H.R. 1685, Section 4: Grants for Physician Assistant Programs at Historically Black Colleges and University and Predominantly Black Institutions
      • H.R. 1686, Section 2: Expanding Clinical Training Opportunities for Physician Assistants
    4. Program Director Certification/Faculty Mentor Assignment Form: This document is completed by your program director and confirms your ability to participate in the fellowship.

Please note that your application is not complete until your Program Director Certification/Faculty Mentor Assignment is received! 

Evaluation Criteria

Applicants will be evaluated on the following:

  • Personal Statement
    • Quality of past experience in health policy, leadership, or advocacy
    • Clear articulation of why you would like to be selected for the fellowship
    • Demonstration of interest in using learned skills to be an advocate leader
    • Connection to the fellowship’s objectives of promoting advocacy, leadership, and PAs in the health care environment
    • Writing quality
  • Policy Analysis
    • Demonstration of your understanding of the analyzed provision
    • Creativity
    • Writing quality


All PA students in an accredited PAEA member program are eligible and encouraged to apply, including incoming, first-year, and second-year students. Incoming PA students are eligible to apply if they will be enrolled as of September 1, 2020. Second-year students are eligible to apply if their graduation date is no earlier than August 1, 2020.

The program director must sign the certification form, attest that the student is in good academic and professional standing, and agree that the student will be released from classes September 14–16, 2020. In addition, the program director must assign a faculty mentor in advance to assist the fellow with the advocacy project.
Women, minorities, and people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Apply Now
Kaila Gaughan posing with the Capitol in the background.

Testimonials and Interviews


Read what 2017–2018 Student Health Policy fellow Kaila Gaughan (pictured) said about her experience.

“It was an amazing experience to actually conduct meetings on the hill and contribute in that way. It may seem intimidating at first, but when you are truly passionate about something, it is surprising how easy it is to talk about those topics. Everyone at PAEA helped us to feel prepared and confident so that we could make the most of the experience.”

Marissa Weeks, 2018–2019 Student Health Policy Fellow


“I hope to encourage my classmates and future…PA students to explore this fellowship as a supplement to their education, and I hope to motivate PAs and students…to support their patients through leadership and advocacy.”

Bridget Gallagher, 2018–2019 Student Health Policy Fellow


Please email with any questions.