Physician assistant faculty gives back to PA education

Veda Womack93In most cases, when clinicians make the jump to academia, they have to figure out how to teach. They’re faced with taking a leap and inventing their wings along the way. For PAs, the Physician Assistant Education Association fills that gap with Faculty 101 training. One faculty member at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth has taken on a crucial role in the PAEA by serving as an exam development board member for the end-of-rotation exams.

Veda Womack, MBA, PA-C, is the director of clinical education and an assistant professor in the School of Health Profession’s Physician Assistant Studies program and serves as a content expert for PAEA exams. Notably, Womack is also the first physician assistant to ever be elected as HSC’s faculty senate president. In March, she attended the PAEA Exam Development Summit in St. Louis, Missouri.

“PAEA has a very thorough and detailed Faculty 101 training that teaches you how to teach,” Womack said. “It’s a great networking opportunity because you get to meet faculty from other PA programs across the U.S., discuss innovative teaching strategies and share stories of the transition from clinical practice to academics. It’s very interactive, and you can apply what you’re learning to your current courses and develop content.”

PAEA is the only national organization representing PA educational programs in the United States. Currently, all the accredited programs in the country are members of the association. PAEA provides services for faculty at its member programs, as well as to applicants, students and other stakeholders.

During the summit in March, more than 80 PA faculty, with the assistance of experts from the broader assessment community, conducted an in-depth peer review of PAEA’s national standardized exams and validated exam content. This event was designed to develop a national team of PA assessment experts, providing targeted faculty and leadership development.

“I chose item writing because I enjoy creating assessments for students to ensure that we are capturing the material the students should know for their future board certification and professional practice,” Womack said.

In a letter to PA Lauren Dobbs, chair of SHP’s Physician Assistant Studies program, PAEA’s chief executive officer Sara Fletcher lauded Womack as a prominent national figure in the PA world.

“PA Womack is recognized as an expert in the PA education profession and her contributions to our assessment program and the summit were invaluable,” the letter said.

Womack encourages others to be involved in professional organizations and be a part of the conversations about the future of PA education and the profession. “I think if you have the opportunity to volunteer with PAEA, you should,” she said. “It’s important to have a voice in how we practice and what we’re teaching our future providers.”

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