Looking Back and to the Future
Posted by Jeffrey A. KatzComment

PAsConnect_KatzI suppose it’s natural for all AAPA presidents to reflect on their year of service as they leave office, and I’m no exception. But what’s odd for me, as I prepare to pass the baton tomorrow, is that the more I look back, the more I see the future.

It has been a tremendous honor to lead this organization during such a pivotal time in our history and in healthcare. This year, AAPA dared to challenge the status quo by thinking big and dreaming bigger.  The most notable reason I see this past year as a bellwether for our future success is the courage displayed by our leaders, volunteers, members and staff to take on tough issues like NCCPA recertification and PA full practice authority, and to leverage legal and regulatory changes to attain our goals.

We stepped out boldly to articulate the value-based care PAs deliver to patients and the increased access to care we provide when we are fully utilized members of a healthcare team. We’ve also created a paradigm shift in the way we do business: with all stakeholders actively engaged, with robust communication and with all cylinders firing. We have truly embraced the notion of “stronger together” and put the tools in place to propel us even further into a self-determined future.

The adoption of  AAPA’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, created this year with unprecedented collaboration from our members, will guide our decisions and priorities as we move forward. Designed to be directional but agile, it positions us to navigate any challenges and leverage the opportunities that lie ahead in an ever-changing healthcare system.

Together we continue to break down practice barriers, and the momentum we have built in legislative and regulatory advocacy shows no signs of letting up. We cannot rest on our laurels, however, as each success strengthens our work as a unified and determined team, and provides insights to inform our next steps.

We are engaging employers to create improved work environments, fully utilizing PAs to do what they are educated to do – practice medicine.  We continue to aggressively advance the PA identity, leveraging opportunities with major national media outlets like Modern Healthcare, Forbes and, most recently, POLITICO.  We are definitively telling the world we will no longer be held back.

Of course I want to thank the members of the Board, the House of Delegates, the more than 400 volunteers who served this year, and our staff for their hard work and leadership. But I want my last act as president to be to thank our entire membership – from the newest student to the most veteran retired member. Thank you for the work you do each day, with patients, in classrooms, in boardrooms and in legislative offices to tell our story and continue to make this profession great. Thank you for your feedback, contributions, encouragement – and even the occasional kick in the pants – to keep AAPA moving in the right direction.

If “what’s past is prologue” then this year certainly bodes well for what lies ahead. July 1 is a new era for AAPA and the profession and I don’t see us turning back. And I can’t think of a better person to lead the charge than incoming president Josanne Pagel! I look forward to working with Josanne and all of you as we take on what’s next.

Jeffrey A. Katz, PA-C, DFAAPA is AAPA’s immediate past president. He has served in a wide variety of leadership positions on the AAPA Board of Directors, the AAPA House of Delegates, the North Carolina Academy of PAs and on the AAPA Constituent Relations Committee. He is a PA in family medicine.

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