news-category: Graduate programs

Gardner-Webb Department of PA Studies Attends PA Day at the N.C. Legislature

Sponsored by N.C. Academy of Physician Assistants, Event is Opportunity for Advocacy and Networking

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.— A record number of 150 physician assistants (PAs) and PA students, including a group from Gardner-Webb University, traveled to Raleigh, N.C., in May to participate in the 2024 PA Day at the Legislature. Sponsored by the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants (NCAPA), the event focused on recognizing and sharing information about PA Licensure Interstate Compact (HB 1056/SB 879).

The PAs and PA students also thanked the legislators for passing the optimal team practice enactment. Optimal Team Practice occurs when PAs, physicians, and other healthcare professionals work together to provide quality care without burdensome administrative constraints.

The GWU Department of PA Studies was represented by Interim Director of Didactic Education Allison Shamblin and PA students, James Ng, Baylee Short and Jazmyne Smith. They gathered outside the State Legislative Building to meet with NCAPA staff to begin the day networking as a large group. Then, veteran PA advocates led small groups of participants in a discussion of important talking points.

Shamblin noted, “This experience was invaluable to our program and our students. We were able to experience the importance of the legislature in our healthcare studies. We will certainly be back. We were able to speak with numerous senate and house members including Jake Johnson, Jay Adams, Tim Reeder, Jennifer Balkcom, Dean Proctor, Timothy Moffitt, and Tim Moore.”

Smith stated, “PA Day was an incredible experience for not only practicing PA-Cs but for PA students as well. Although I did not know what to expect, we got to experience firsthand the legislative process, and I was able to talk one-on-one with the representative of my district. I expressed the benefits of making licensure from state-to-state easier and in the end, the representative described the PA compact as ‘the logical next step.’ I felt like I really made a difference. The PA profession has an opportunity to bridge the gap of high-quality providers in areas with healthcare disparities. Advocating now will make it easier for me and other providers in the future.”

Ng agreed that the meeting was informative. “It felt fulfilling to represent our profession and shed some light on the issues it faces, all while meeting other great PAs/students along the way,” he shared.

Short also enjoyed networking with other PAs and PA students and meeting the legislators. “My experience overall was great, and I feel like I definitely made a difference in Raleigh. All of the senators and representatives that I spoke with were so kind and understanding of the bill that we were trying to get passed,” she affirmed. “They all took the time to listen and hear our story about why this compact means so much to us.”

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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