As we head into 2020, our last I Am NCAPA member highlight of the year is on an individual that we feel certain will be leading the way to strengthening and growing the PA profession in North Carolina. Morgan Dailey is originally from Fayetteville, NC, and is currently a PA student at Campbell University. She will be graduating in July of 2020. Morgan has an incredible amount of enthusiasm regarding becoming a PA and the profession, and has provided her story for us to share.
by Morgan Dailey, PA-S
Prior to going to PA school at Campbell University, I would not have envisioned my journey to becoming a health care provider to be so intertwined with “advocacy.” In fact, it probably never crossed my mind! I chose Campbell University for my education because it is one of only a few universities that offer a dual MSPH/PA degree. During my first semester in the public health program, I had a class on health policy where I learned about the current infrastructure of the health policy-making process: its successes, its barriers, and its outlook. Later that year, I attended an event hosted by NCAPA and saw grassroots advocacy in action, and my story changed forever.
Each year, NCAPA hosts “PA Day at the NC Legislature,” when practicing PAs and PA students gather at the North Carolina General Assembly to advocate for PAs and the PA profession. Because I had not begun my PA studies yet, I was paired with Jeff Katz, who is a practicing PA from rural western NC (little did I know that I was paired with one of the greatest PA champions). I can recall my heart racing and taking a deep breath as we approached our first office. I was admittedly nervous. However, I quickly realized that there was nothing to fear; the legislator we met with was simply a person doing their job, trying to protect and advance North Carolinians. Our interests and intents were aligned, and our conversation was met with positivity and graciousness. I could see the power of voices. I realized that effecting change is possible, it just takes persistence and determination.
Campbell University PA Class of 2020 and faculty visited the North Carolina General Assembly in March 2019 to advocate for PAs and PA students in North Carolina.
This experience led me to work directly with NCAPA to start a student advocacy day during my first year as a PA student. With the help of NCAPA and the Campbell PA program, all 54 first-year Campbell PA students went to the General Assembly to advocate on behalf of PAs and PA students across North Carolina. During the event, I watched some of my classmates catch “the advocacy bug” as they glowed with enthusiasm as they recognized the power of advocacy. That same month, seven Campbell PA students and I attended AAPA’s Leadership and Advocacy Summit in Washington DC to advocate for PAs on national issues. Since then, I have had the honor of being named as a PAEA Student Health Policy and Advocacy Fellow, along with 13 other PA students across the country.
PAEA Student Health Policy Fellowship 2019-2020 cohort and staff. 14 PA students were selected from programs across the country.
The spirit of advocacy has also shaped and molded my clinical practice interests. Before PA school, I worked as a medical assistant in a pediatrics office, and I knew I wanted a career as a pediatric PA. I also have strong interests in pediatric quality improvement assessment. I want to help determine how we can make children and adolescents feel understood, valued, and prioritized. What once felt like separate silos, my clinical interest in pediatrics and public health interests in advocacy, have begun to collide. I recently began working as a member of the Society for Physician Assistants in Pediatrics (SPAP) Board of Directors, with the hopes of helping PA students interested in pediatrics become informed leaders and prepared clinicians. At the conclusion of my PA program, I hope to work in inpatient pediatrics, as well as promote positive and meaningful change for all children through advocacy, policy, and quality improvement projects.
Membership with NCAPA is crucial, because each NCAPA member is essentially a “vote” towards promoting our profession. We all know that there is strength in numbers! PAs offer high quality, affordable, and accessible health care. Therefore, by advocating for PAs in North Carolina, you are advocating for your patients too. One of the greatest benefits of NCAPA membership is that we are able to develop relationship with professionals who advocate for us on our behalf. NCAPA has a Government Affairs committee and two lobbyists to ensure that PAs in North Carolina are protected and the profession remans strong. I hope to one day give back to my profession by serving on the NCAPA Government Affairs committee.
Campbell University PA Class of 2020
To the Campbell University PA Class of 2020: Thank you to my class for encouraging, motivating me, and for embracing my ideas! I am so grateful to be alongside incredible future PAs and PA advocates. Each of you have impacted my life and made me a better future provider and better person.
One final note: my class’s most recent advocacy project has been promoting the PA profession through our program’s tradition of a musical parody video. If you want a quick laugh, check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pPXG5kyr0A