Dalton resident Lori E. Swanchak, Ph.D., PA-C, the interim program director at Marywood University Physician Assistant Program, was awarded the Physician Assistant Education Association‚??s (PAEA) Article of the Year Award for ‚??The Effect of Early Geriatric Exposure upon Career Development and Subspecialty Selection Among Physician Assistant Students,‚?Ě published in the Journal of Physician Assistant Education (JPAE). The award, which was presented at PAEA‚??s recent Education Forum in Seattle, recognizes physician assistant (PA) educators who are publishing articles about the training and education of future generations of PAs. Criteria for the award include having an impact on the PA profession with implications for workforce and interdisciplinary training/education.
‚??The Effect of Early Geriatric Exposure upon Career Development and Subspecialty Selection Among Physician Assistant Students‚?Ě focuses on the need for geriatric care as the population of elderly patients grows. Swanchak‚??s article reflects the current climate of PA education, as there are not enough practitioners in geriatric medical care.
According to her research, students at five Pennsylvania PA programs expressed little interest in both geriatric coursework and clinical exposure. She concludes that the current exposure to elderly patients may be inadequate to influence PA students, and that a multifaceted approach may result in an increase of PA students in geriatric medicine.
In her letter of nomination, Swanchak explained that this article was important to the future direction of PA education. ‚??Following publication, this article generated much dialogue among PA educators, which resulted in discussions relating to how various PA programs are attempting to foster interest in primary care and geriatric medicine,‚?Ě said Swanchak. The article has identified an area that needs further study, assessment and attention.