Physician Assistants Join Forces with White House, Industry Groups to Serve Military Families

WASHINGTON, DC -The American Academy of Physician Assistants today announced its  support and involvement in a White House initiative to improve the health and well-being of America's military and their families.

Joining Forces aims to educate, challenge and spark action from all industries and communities to ensure that military families have the support they need and have earned. Veterans and enlisted military personnel and their families often face unique health care challenges, and physician assistants continue to be ready to provide those services.

AAPA President Patrick Killeen and other leaders from health care, business, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations as well as faith-based organizations attended the initiative's launch on April 12.

"Physician assistants work with armed forces personnel throughout their military health care experience," said AAPA President Patrick Killeen. "PAs serve on the front lines, providing care to hundreds of warriors at a time, working with them in triage and in the VA upon their return, and caring for them when they return to their communities as veterans."

This partnership with the White House through Joining Forces, solidifies PAs' commitment to working with the government and other health care providers to ensure that active and veteran military personnel and their families receive high quality medical and behavioral care throughout all phases lives  .

"PAs are the only health care providers educated with a primary care focus regardless of the specialty in which we choose to work," he said. "Because of our generalist medical education and ability to manage behavioral health issues, PAs are uniquely suited to support the health and well-being of military members and their families in a team-based care model."

With nearly 2,000 PAs on staff, the VA system has been a major employer of PAs since the late 1960s and is currently the single largest employer of PAs. Through the Joining Forces initiative, AAPA will seek ways to partner with the chief PAs of each branch of the Armed Services as well as the VA Director of PA Services, to shape and formalize a competent and sensitive approach among PAs as they are caring for military families.

Recognizing the absence of training and education most providers have when it comes to veterans care as it pertains to physical and behavioral health, AAPA will also examine ways to increase military-focused education opportunities for all physician assistants.

"We are committed to improving the well-being of military families and are eager to forge partnerships with other health care and behavioral health organizations," Killeen said. "We look forward to a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with the Joining Forces campaign."

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About the American Academy of Physician Assistants
Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of over 75,000 clinically practicing PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories, and within the armed forces and federal services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. AAPA works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants. It also works to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered health care.

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