Women Making a Difference and Paving the Way: Part 1 - Physician Associates/Assistants

Women Making a Difference and Paving the Way: Part 1 - Physician Associates/Assistants Posted By:
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In New York City, the 1-year anniversary of the garment workers' strike—where the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union led 15,000 women in a march through lower Manhattan—was first celebrated on February 28, 1909. In March 1978, it was expanded to Women's History Week. Finally, in March 1987, Congress passed legislature to designate March as Women's History Month. Each year follows a theme; for 2022, the theme is "Providing Healing, Promoting Hope"—honoring women as emotional and physical caregivers. This year's International Women's Day—celebrated annually on March 8—honored women as figures of justice, dignity, hope, and spirituality. Female advanced practice providers exemplify caregivers and supporters; here are a few who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to healing and hope. This post will focus on female PAs, while my second post will focus on female NPs.

Maryann Ferrara Ramos, MPH, PA-C Emeritus was very involved in legislation and a major influence in the recognition of PAs in Occupational Medicine. Her legacy is robust: she was the first secretary for the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) House of Delegates, the first PA to practice in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals in New Jersey and New York, and was instrumental in enabling PAs to practice and prescribe in New Jersey. Because of these efforts, she was awarded PA of the Year by the AAPA in 1980. Ten years later, she also helped change the Medical Practice Act in Connecticut to include prescriptive authority for PAs. Maryann worked for the Pentagon Clinic Washington DC for 20 years. During this time, she cared for patients affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the site, as well as those affected by the subsequent anthrax exposures in the Pentagon. Upon her retirement, she received the Civilian Superior Performance Medal for her tremendous work. In addition, Ms Ramos served as President of the PAs for Latino Health Caucus and received their Meritorious Service Award in 2010.

Tonia Poteat, PhD, MPH, PA-C has devoted her career to HIV research and care with transgender persons and is a certified HIV Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine. Her work has involved setting up HIV clinics all over the world and providing education regarding transgender patient care to providers. As a reflection of her contributions to LGBTQIA+ health, Dr Poteat was named to the National Academies of Science Consensus Panel on the Well-being of Sexual and Gender Minorities in 2019. In addition, she serves as an associate editor for LGBT Health and was a guest editor for the Journal of the International AIDS Society special issue on HIV among transgender populations. Most recently, her efforts are focused on preventing the spread of HIV within LGBTQIA+ communities.

Hayley Arceneaux, PA-C was the first PA, youngest American, and first person with a prosthetic body part to go into space on September 16, 2021 as the chief medical officer of the all-civilian space crew on Inspiration4. Hayley has a prosthetic thigh bone from her childhood battle with osteosarcoma and now practices at St Jude Hospital, the same hospital that she received her cancer care from. She has a book coming out in fall of 2022 called Wild Ride: A Memoir of IV Drips and Rocket Ships.

Susan Salahshor, PhD, PA-C was the first African American president of the Florida Academy of PAs (FAPA) and is currently the founding program director of the Ithaca College's School of Health Sciences and Human Performance PA program. During her tenure with FAPA she created the FAPA Leadership Academy and was a major supporter for healthcare students. Additionally, Dr Salahshor is a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor (MHFA) and has trained almost 4000 participants. Her impact doesn't stop there: she is currently on the PA Foundation Board of Trustees and is chair of the Foundation's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) subcommittee. In these roles, she helps promote the ALLYSHIP framework (Advocate, Lead, Learn, Yell, Support, Help, Invite, and Prepare), a collaborative initiative of the AAPA's DEI commission, PA Foundation, and PA Education Association to reduce health disparities among minority communities.

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Filed under: Miscellaneous , NPs & PAs

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