PACARE Project Abstract Project Title: Physician Assistant Collaborative Advancement for Rural Education Organization name: Idaho State University (ISU) Dept. of Physician Assistant Studies (PAS) Address: 921 S. 8th Ave., Stop 8253, Pocatello, ID 83204 Project Director: Jared Papa, MPAS, PA-C Contact numbers: voice (208)373-1754, fax (208)373-1786 Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site address: www.isu/edu/pa Grant requested: Primary Care Training and Enhancement Funding (PCTE-PAR) Funding preference: High MUC placement rate Overview of project: The purpose of the proposed project entitled, Physician Assistant Collaborative Advancement for Rural Education (PACARE) is to 1) Increase the number of primary care PAs who choose to practice in rural areas after graduation, 2) Develop a primary care PA workforce that can address and meet the health care needs of rural communities, and 3) Increase the capacity of PAs to contribute to interprofessional health care teams, to proficiently use telehealth and to improve mental health access and care. Project activities establish a PA student Rural Health Track (RHT) for 12 students with 10-week longitudinal rotations in collaboration with rural health clinics in Kimberly, Rupert, Shoshone, and Twin Falls, Idaho; and in Ontario, Oregon. These primary care rotations will be incorporated into the existing eight required rotations of the clinical year. There are a total of 72 trainees per cohort and the twelve RHT students per year will complete a 10 week rotation in a rural underserved area. The RHT students will receive rural focused training through Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Interprofessional Scholars program to learn about inequities, disparities and social determinants of health. The RHT students will also complete course work in a 8-15 credit graduate certificate in one of the following areas: Geriatrics, Lifestyle Medicine for Primary Care, Rural Health, or Spanish for Health Professions
. Graduate students in Mental Health will also train at the same longitudinal sites and there will be grand rounds and community outreach projects conducted by the interprofessional student team. New curricula will be delivered to all matriculated PA students in Rural Health, Mental Health First Aid, and the effective use of Telehealth. A new Lifestyle Medicine for Primary Care graduate certificate will be developed and implemented. Needs: A rural state with a chronic primary care shortage, 88 percent of Idaho’s land area is classified as rural and 94% of the counties are classified as rural or frontier. All but 3 Idaho counties (97.7%) are designated as primary care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) and 100% of Idaho’s 44 counties are designated as mental health HPSAs. Ranking 45th in the nation for active primary care physicians and 49th for active physicians, a 2021 state needs assessment found that MUA and MUP designations cover approximately 70.72% of Idaho’s total land area (IDHW 2021). Measurable objectives: 1) Increase recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented populations, rural areas, HPSA/medically underserved areas or who are veterans so that they represent, on average, at least 50% of the student body, 2) Establish 6 RHT longitudinal clinical sites, training 12 students per year, 3) Provide PAs with the tools to improve mental health access and care by providing 4 innovative mental health training resources.