The American Academy of Physician Assistants celebrated the role of physician assistants in transforming health care delivery at its 38th Annual Physician Assistant Conference in Atlanta yesterday with its presentation of the 2010 PAragon Awards.
"As the face of health care changes in this country, PAs continue to play a critical role in ensuring that every patient has access to the quality care we need to be healthy," said Stephen Hanson, MPA, PA-C, AAPA President. "Each of the PAs whom AAPA honored with a PAragon Award this year has gone far beyond the what is required to bring that quality care to the patients who need it most, whether those patients live in rural Southeast Asian villages, are serving our country at war and at home, or are suffering from life-altering disease. Their commitment to their profession, their patients and their communities is unmatched."
The PAragon Awards, which recognize exemplary PA service, include: Outstanding PA of the Year, Humanitarian PA of the Year, Federal Service PA of the Year, PA Service to the Underserved Award, Physician-PA Partnership Award and the PAragon Publishing Awards.
The Outstanding PA of the Year Award—presented to a PA who has demonstrated exemplary service to the PA profession and the community, and has furthered the public image of PAs—was presented to Donald M. Pedersen, PhD, PA-C, of Salt Lake City, Utah. Pedersen was recognized for more than three decades of work to shape and advance PA education at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
The Humanitarian PA of the Year Award, presented for outstanding commitment to human rights and exemplifying the PA profession's philosophy of providing accessible and quality health care in geographic locations inside and outside of the United States, was awarded to Phoumy Bobby Bounkeau, PhD, PA-C, of Seattle, Wash. Bounkeau, was honored for his work with the CME training project, a program that provides funding for rural Lao health workers to participate in continuing medical education.
The Federal Service PA of the Year Award, presented for exemplary service in the federal service sector of the PA profession, was awarded to Col. John W. Bullock, PA-C, DFAAPA, of Falls Church, Va. He was recognized for his groundbreaking work on behalf of PAs. His decisions on policy, clinical research and acquisition have helped enable the medical workforce at home and overseas to provide quality, effective and accessible care in all kinds of environments.
The PA Service to the Underserved Award, presented to a PA who has provided accessible, quality health care to the underserved in a rural community or an inner-city setting of the United States, was awarded to Hal Joseph, PA-C, CDE, of Orofino, Idaho. Joseph was recognized for dedicating his career to helping those suffering from diabetes in rural areas to better manage their illness and prevent debilitating complications.
The Physician-PA Partnership Award was presented to Dana Gray, PA-C, and Jonathan Hill, MD, of Portland, Ore. Together, they exemplify the unique relationship of trust, collegiality and mutual respect that is essential to the PA profession and allows for greater medical service to patients. Gray and Hill were honored for providing quality, broad-based trauma and cardiothoracic care to medically underserved populations in the Portland area for more than 15 years.
The PAragon Publishing Awards honor PAs who authored outstanding articles that were published in peer-reviewed journals during 2009. Kristine Himmerick, MS, MPAS, PA-C, of Sacramento, Calif., was awarded first place as the author and clinical expert for "H1N1 in perspective: The clinical impact of a novel influenza A virus," which was published in the December 2009 issue of The Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. JoAnn Deasy, PA-C, MPH, of San Francisco, Calif., placed second as the author of "Antibiotic Resistance: The Ongoing challenge for effective drug therapy," which was published in the March 2009 issue of The Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Third-place winner Ellen Mandel, DMH, MPA, PA-C, of Berkeley Heights, N.J., authored "Erythema Infectiosum: Recognizing the many faces of fifth disease," which was published in the June 2009 issue of The Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.