Nathaniel Alston Student Achievement Award

 Hey Students,

Wouldn’t it be nice …
·         To have $2000 to apply towards your educational expenses?
·         To be recognized for your student accomplishments?
·         To set a shining example for your peers?
If the answer to any of these questions is “YES!!”, then I encourage you to apply for the Nathaniel Alston Student Achievement Award. Each year the PSPA honors senior Physician Assistant student winners at their Annual Conference, which this October 2014 will be held at the Lancaster Convention Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Oh... and did I mention that the three winners of the essay contest will be presented with a $2000 honorarium
Applying is easy. See details in the information that follows this notice.
Good luck to all who apply!
Sincerely yours,
Helen O. Hiserman PA-C
Awards Chair
“Everything is out there waiting for you. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.”
Pierre-Jules Renard, French author

To All Physician Assistant Students:

The PSPA is pleased to announce the Nathaniel Alston Student Achievement Scholarship Award. This award has been established by the PSPA to recognize students who have demonstrated the highest standards of the PA profession through their experience and knowledge by promoting goodwill, public recognition and professional development of the PA profession. An award of $2000 will be presented to three PA students. These awards will be selected on a competitive basis. Each student applicant will be competing against other student applicants from their respective PA Programs in Pennsylvania. The applicants’ essays will be judged by the members of the PSPA Awards Committee. More than one student from each program may be among the winners. The awards will be presented during the Student Challenge Bowl at the Annual PSPA Fall CME Conference. Selected students are expected to attend the banquet and receive their award in person.
Eligibility Requirements:
·         Currently, and at the time of the awards presentation, the student must be in good standing at an accredited Pennsylvania PA program
·         A member of the PSPA at the time of application
·         A maximum 750 word essay typed and double spaced.
·         For all essays, client/patient encounters should be identified by intials only in an effort to protect patients' confidentiality.
Choose one topic from the three choices below.
1) What role does community service in medicine play in promoting the PA profession?
2) Provide an experience during PA school, perhaps a patient you interacted with or a project you were involved in, and how this experience will affect how you practice in the PA profession.
3) Provide a patient encounter that presented a moral/ ethical dilemma in medical practice, and how you would approach the issue/issues.
Quotes and excerpts from written documents can be used, but must be credited appropriately.
Applying is easy. E-mail in your essay to . Make sure to include your name, address, email, PSPA number, PA program and anticipated date of graduation in the body of the e-mail.
All applications for the Student Achievement Award must be completed and submitted by July 30, 2014.
Any questions should be directed to Helen O. Hiserman PA-C, Awards Chair at


Thomas J. Lemley Award for Health Disparity Competition

Health Disparities and Cultural Competence

Jane R. Arenas, MS, PA-C
The inception of the PA profession was a response to the shortage of health care providers in the US. The fight continues as multiple factors such as poverty, environmental threats, lack of access to health care, and educational inequities continue to result in health disparities. Health care providers should strive to acknowledge the importance of culture and the dynamics that impact access to health care. Disparities are preventable inequities. Barriers to access include lack of adequate insurance, patient perception of needs, and resources that facilitate access to healthcare.
As healthcare costs continue to increase and outpace our economic growth, one approach to meet the needs of patients is to improve the efficiency of the healthcare delivery system. Preventative care is one example of how the system can become more effective. The better the preventative care offered, the less cost the patients could incur for consequent care. Not only would the need for future visits to primary care providers be decreased, hospitalization costs could be minimized, and most importantly life-threatening disorders could be prevented.
While we look for opportunities to play a role in developing a more efficient healthcare delivery system, we should look for ways to help foster patient dignity. Regardless of which stance one takes on the debate of whether or not healthcare is a “right”, here are statistics we need to consider:
-          The US is estimated to have the highest rate in prostate and breast cancer survival rates
-          The US is possibly the only developed nation that does not guarantee health coverage for its citizens
The aforementioned issues are just two examples of the need to improve the US healthcare delivery system. To honor the mission of those who were instrumental in the birth of our profession, we should look for ways to improve patient access to healthcare. Culturally competent PAs should look for ways to heighten awareness of these disparities and integrate knowledge of cultural factors to patient education and instructions.
Please join the Health Disparities Committee and let us know about efforts to take to address healthcare disparities in your current practice. Contact Jane Arenas by email at if you would like to be contacted by the committee.


Click here for information and guidelines on the 2014 Thomas J. Lemley Award for Health Disparities Competition