PA students Katie Lukovich and John Densmore were selected to attend the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) Leadership and Advocacy Summit as a member of the Michigan Academy of PAs (MAPA) contingent. The following is a reflection from Katie:
My experience at the 2019 Leadership and Advocacy summit was one to remember. The week began with a student reception held at the AAPA office in Washington, D.C. We had the opportunity to meet and network with 66 physician assistant students from across the country. The student academy president provided information about the logistics of the conference and an introduction to the two issues we would be discussing with legislatures the following day.
Thursday afternoon, 252 students and practicing PAs took to the hill to ask our district representatives and state senators to support two separate bills. The first bill was the Diabetic Shoes Act, which would allow physician assistants to write prescriptions for diabetic shoes. The second bill was regarding direct reimbursement from Medicare. It was an empowering experience to be able to bring a voice for the needs of the PA profession in the districts and state in which we live. Being able to bring real-life stories to these decision makers on these specific issues is very important because it makes our meetings memorable.
Throughout the meeting, I gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for the importance of advocacy within the profession. I’ve learned that this one visit is not nearly enough to make change and how important persistence and establishing relationships with these legislators and, more importantly, their staff is to passing legislation at the state and federal level. In fact, history shows that it takes five years for legislation to get passed in Michigan, but seven years on the federal level. I have also realized just how lucky we are to be living in a state where we have the widest scope of practice and are even able to be 99% owners in our own practices.
I would like to thank MAPA for selecting me for this opportunity to learn, grow and solidify my desire to become a leader within this profession. I look forward to presenting the information that I learned in D.C. with my classmates and will encourage them to join me in attending LAS 2020.