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PA Studies is FOR EVERYONE

Paula Davis HeadshotSHRS' Inclusion Initiatives play an important role in the University of Pittsburgh's efforts to promote diversity and inclusion campus-wide. It is an effective means of reaching diverse students to let them know that their decision to pursue their studies in one of our health care options is a fantastic way of providing high quality, comprehensive care to others and that the door is open for everyone.

It is our pleasure to partner with SHRS programs in recruiting, welcoming, retaining and graduating talented diverse health care professionals for the good of our country's health.

—Paula Davis, associate vice chancellor, Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

What is it?

"PA Studies is FOR EVERYONE" aims to continually foster the efforts of the Department of Physician Assistant (PA) Studies and the PA profession to embrace and represent all people and their wide ranges of experiences, backgrounds and perspectives.

We want our Department to continue to reflect the inherent and equal value of all people, and we embrace our role of preparing the next generation of PAs to be comprised of and ready to care for people of all abilities/disabilities, religions, marital statuses, familial statuses, sexes, ages, sexual orientations, veteran statuses, national origins, ancestries, races, colors, genetic information, gender identities and expressions, and socioeconomic statuses. 

We hope this initiative will have many positive impacts, especially providing care for disadvantaged and vulnerable populations while supporting any members of those populations who pursue the goal of practicing as PAs.

This initiative aligns with:

The Plan:

1. Communicate our strengths. 2. Strengthen our partnerships. 3. Advance our efforts.

This three-part plan allows us to share what we are doing and how we plan to continue to disrupt the barriers to:

  • Diversifying the identities among practicing PAs
  • Maintaining and advancing the climate of inclusivity among the students, staff and faculty of our Department
  • Preparing PAs to be ready for and embrace the opportunity to care for patients of all identities, experiences, backgrounds and perspectives.

1. Communicate Our Strengths

Pitt PA Who R U Helps students explore and understand their various identities.

  • The annual “Pitt PA: Who R U?” cohort-building exercise (led by the OHSD) helps our students explore and understand their various identities and how those inform their work and their relationships.

Faculty training equips full-time and adjunct faculty with skills to build inclusive environments and improve hiring.

  • Faculty received a mini-grant from our University's Office of Diversity and Inclusion to implement training of our adjunct faculty on diverse identities and how to establish and maintain an inclusive learning environment.
  • Recent enhancements to the PA Studies curriculum strengthen cultural competence training and emphasize high-quality instruction regarding gender health.
  • 100% of our full-time faculty completed Allies Network training.
  • Our faculty search committee members have completed briefing sessions with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to guide our efforts and limit biases in recruiting, retaining and recognizing an excellent and diverse faculty.
  • We're connecting interested applicants and our enrolled PA students, staff and faculty with University resources.

Student organizations Support diversity initiatives and foster growth inclusive mindsets.

  • ​Department faculty have worked closely with recent alumni as they developed and launched the National Society of Black Physician Assistants, which seeks to support, connect and foster the growth of the population of Black PAs.
  • Students of the PA Studies Program recently launched and are continuing to develop the "PA Students Promoting Diversity and Inclusion" group as a means of supporting all of our current students, connecting current students with University and community resources and events, and fostering inclusive mindsets of PA students as they prepare to care for all patients.

2. Strengthen Our Partnerships

Enhance engagement with university offices and initiatives to connect with students, faculty, and staff.

  • We're enhancing our engagement with the OHSD in order to support its efforts and to better connect it to our students, staff and faculty in regular and meaningful ways.

Identify resources with university offices and initiatives to connect with students, faculty, and staff.

  • We're implementing University and OHSD resources to support efforts and events aimed at advancing diversity and inclusion within our Department.

3. Advance Our Efforts

Spread the initiatives To leverage PA's efforts to grow, expand, and unify the focus across all of SHRS.

  • Our goal is to spread this initiative across SHRS and beyond.

Renovate systems with a greater focus on diversity and inclusion in recruiting, admissions, and hiring.

  • We are analyzing and refining our admissions process to minimize biases and continue to ensure equal opportunities for all applicants.

Seek opportunities To engage with local communities and encourage interest & understanding of PAS.

  • We're teaming with community organizations in Pittsburgh to foster interest in and understanding of the PA profession, especially among disadvantaged children and adolescents.
  • We're seeking new ways to further the “PA Studies is FOR EVERYONE” initiative and continually reinforce the inclusive environment of our Department.
  • We acknowledge and want to broaden the diversity of abilities/disabilities, religions, marital statuses, familial statuses, sexes, ages, sexual orientations, veteran statuses, national origins, ancestries, races, colors, genetic information, gender identities and expressions, and socioeconomic statuses among PA students and practicing PAs.