Duke PA Faculty Participate in PAEA Conference


To be a Physician Assistant (PA) is to be a lifelong learner. For PA educators, that is doubly true. In addition to the annual AAPA conference, many PA program faculty and staff from across the country attend the PA Education Association (PAEA) Education Forum each year.

PAEA is a national organization of PA educational programs. Its mission is, “Advancing excellence in PA education through leadership, scholarship, equity, and inclusion.”

Each autumn, the organization hosts a forum with wide-ranging continuing medical education (CME) opportunities, presentations, interactive workshops, and an exhibitor pavilion. 

Duke PA Program Director Jacqueline Barnett, DHSc, MHS, PA-C, who also serves as the Treasurer and a member of the PAEA Board of Directors, said,

Dr. Barnett with her colleague and mentee Dr. Skylar Stewart-Clark, PAEA’s 2023 recipient of the Rising Star Award
Dr. Barnett with her colleague and mentee Dr. Skylar Stewart-Clark, PAEA’s 2023 recipient of the Rising Star Award

“I am really proud of the opportunities the annual PAEA forum provides to PA educators.  We get to network with our colleagues and learn their approaches to educational innovation and research, and also meet with our mentors/mentees, coaches, and advisors, many who serve as faculty at other PA Programs. For many PA faculty and staff, PAEA has served as a vital launching pad for our careers, providing professional development, leadership opportunities, national service, and recognition through various PAEA Awards.”  

More than a dozen Duke PA Program faculty members attended the 2023 forum in New Orleans from October 11 to 14th

This year’s forum had 138 available CME credits and most of the sessions were available in person or virtually.

Duke PA graduates Laura Okolie, DMSc, MBA, MHS, PA-C, and Suzanne Hallquist, MSPH, MHS, PA-C, attended the forum for the first time as Duke PA faculty. Jacquetta Melvin, MPH, PA-C, also attended in her new role as director of clinical education. They each detailed their experience below.

Laura Okolie:

Laura Okolie
   Laura Okolie, PA-C

My first PAEA Workshop/Forum in New Orleans was unforgettable. The Faculty Skills 101 Workshop and Forum, which included a Project Access Service opportunity, exceeded my expectations. The workshop covered academic insights, from syllabus prep to promoting test effectiveness, while the Forum included insightful sessions on JEDAI, AI in research, and mentorship. Witnessing the camaraderie and the sense of unity among colleagues was truly uplifting. This was such an engaging and empowering experience, and I'm deeply grateful for the program's support in my professional development through this conference.

Suzanne Hallquist:

Suzanne Hallquist
Suzanne Hallquist, MSPH, MHS, PA-C

Attending the 2023 PAEA workshops and forum in New Orleans was an incredibly valuable experience. With support from DPAP, I was able to attend the New Faculty 101 series. During the three-day program, I learned how to formulate learning objectives, create more impactful lectures, and evaluate exam questions/performance. These are skills I can put into practice immediately. Beyond the learning, though, what I enjoyed the most was making connections with other new faculty members from across the country. I especially enjoyed talking with peers who, like me, teach Evidence-Based Practice at their institutions. There are so many models for how EBP is integrated into PA education and it gave me some fresh ideas for our program. Sometimes, our conversations spilled over into dinner out on the town. I did not expect to make so many new friends in such a short amount of time!

Jacquetta Melvin:

Jaquetta Melvin
  Jacquetta Melvin, MPH, PA-C

Invigorated and inspired are the first two words that come to mind when I think of my experience at the 2023 PAEA Education Forum in New Orleans. Through its various educational sessions, The Forum creates a robust experience, and provides me with tools and strategies that I'm able to apply to my work as a PA educator. Additionally, through the Forum I always leave with new, creative ideas that are useful for promoting innovation within my program. When attending the Forum, I always look forward to the networking! Through PAEA I've created lifelong connections with PA educators from across the country who I've grown to know both personally and professionally!

Duke PA Program faculty participated actively in the forum, contributing workshops and presentations and serving in various leadership roles.

Workshop Participation:

Betsy Melcher, MS, ATC, MHS, PA-C

  • Facilitator for the two day “Faculty Skills 101 Workshop”


Jacqueline Barnett, DHSc, MHS, PA-C

  • “Adapting to Changing times: Understanding the Next Generation of PAs”
  • Research Brief: “Culture of Well-being: Perfectionism, Imposter Phenomenon, Self-Compassion, and Mindfulness”

Jacqueline Barnett DHSc, MHS, PA-C and Rachel Porter, MEd, PH.D.

  • “Hindsight is 2020, but it's 2023! Where is EDI today?”

Janelle Bludorn, MS, PA-C

  • “How to Run a Killer Meeting”

Megan Holmes, Ph.D., Rachel Porter, MEd, Ph.D., Melcher, Annamarie Streilein, MHS, PA-C

  • “Transforming Allyship: Engaging an affinity Group to Advance Racial Equity”

Nick Hudak, Ph.D., Mpa, Msed, PA-C

  • “Ready for Take-off. Preparing Students for International Clinical Rotations”
  • Research Brief: “Predicators of PA Student Mistreatment Reporting"

Quincy Jones, MSW, MHS, PA-C

  • Using Reflection and a Systems Based-Approach to Foster Gender Inclusion”
  • Research Fellows presentation: “Sexual and Gender Minority Content in PA Education”
Jones and co-presenter Jo Rolls, MEHP, MPAS, PA-C
Jones and co-presenter Jo Rolls, MEHP, MPAS, PA-C

April Stouder, EdD, MHS, PA-C and Melinda Blazar, EdD, MHS, PA-C, with former Duke PA faculty Alicia Bolden, DMSc., MPH, PA-C

  • “Reasonable Accommodations in PA Education-Keeping an Open Mind”
L to R: Melinda Blazar, Alicia Bolden, April Stouder
L to R: Dr. Blazar, Dr. Bolden, Dr. Stouder

Additionally, recent graduate Katherine Bullock, PA-C, (‘23) presented her Future Educator Fellowship project: “Preparing PA Students to be Successful Postgrad Program Applicants”

The 2024 PAEA Forum will be held October 6-10 in Washington D.C.