IAPAE is 7 years old!!
It is somewhat unbelievable that IAPAE has reached its 7th anniversary this year. Looking back to 8 years ago in Tucson, Arizona, where a group of friends met in the hotel bar at Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) annual meeting and talked about how can we develop an academy that would bridge the gap of oceans and borders to develop the family of the physician assistant/ associate and all of the other titles globally that defines this wonderful profession.
In 2008, the International Forum for Physician Assistants Educators (IFPAE) was launched, by the founders; Professor Dana Sayre Stanhope, Professor David Fahringer, Professor Nick Ross and Dr Phil Begg. Inspired by our conversations the previous year, we held our inaugural meeting in Savannah Georgia USA; the meeting was small yet representative of over 20 nations, all enthusiastic about the development of our academy. The format set the way in which our annual conference would develop year on year, that being stimulating keynote speakers, followed by round table discussions and also the opportunity for short papers to enable everyone who wanted to participate, to do so.
2009 saw the conference move to the beautiful country of Ghana, where we were greeted by the Regional Health Minister in his official residence and were entertained with traditional Ghanaian dancing into the night. The conference itself heralded important changes, not least of all the name of the organisation changed to reflect a more inclusive ethos, and so IFPAE became the International Academy for Physician Associate Educators or IAPAE. The aims and objectives of the academy were set and an agreed concordat of what we wanted to achieve and most centrally to this was IAPAE becoming a repository for global information, education and research. IAPAE had also formally developed the articles of by laws, by which the organisation would be led and managed; these would be developed and presented for agreement at the following business meeting at the next annual conference. Again, the format ensured discussion and stimulation, we were also pleased to have students from the local college’s join us and we also attended the colourful graduation of the students from the Kintampo Rural Health College in Kintampo, which is to be found at the centre of the universe.
2010, Brought the conference to the picturesque location of Mar Hall in Renfrewshire Glasgow Scotland, set at the edge of the river Clyde and close to the historic second city of Scotland, we were greeted by the Lord Provost of Renfrewshire and entertained by the sound of bagpipes on a beautiful late summers evening by the Clyde and in the luxury setting of the ancestral home of the Earl of Mar. The conference was launched by excellent key note speakers that help the formation of a discussion around the development of work streams and nominated leads to help facilitate these. Professor Bill Stanhope set out the challenges of the future set within the context of learning from the past both in successes and failures, a challenge that remains for the development globally of the role. The business meeting announced the formation of the Executive Board Structure, after much debate, and the timeline for implementation by the next annual conference in Montreal Canada. The By-laws and management arrangements were also agreed by the membership and adopted formally into the IAPAE constitution.
In 2011, the conference moved to the vibrant city of Montreal Canada, where we were once again inspired by some excellent keynote speakers and the challenge of how we embark on developing reusable learning objects, to shape the development of global standards in healthcare quality, through sound educational learning of our students. Canada, did a wonderful job, in welcoming delegates from many countries and ensured the debate and learning continued to grow. For IAPAE, Canada was a significant turning point; the first elected Executive board was announced under the Presidency of Dr Emanuel Teye Adjase (Ghana). The Executive board consists of Vice-president Daphne Cohen (Netherlands), Mike Dryer, Treasurer (USA), Nadia Miniclier Secretary (USA) and Karen Mulitalo Director at Large (USA). The Board is supported and challenged by the Founding Board of Trustees, who have the role of ensuring the values, vision and objectives of IAPAE are maintained. The Board of Trustees are Professor Dana Sayre Stanhope, Chair (USA), Professor Philip A Begg, Vice Chair (UK), Professor Nick Ross (UK) and Professor David Fahringer (USA). This was a very exciting meeting and the organisation had now moved towards a new chapter in its history and new governance arrangements, with a Board and responsibility and accountability to the membership.
So, on to 2012 and Johannesburg South Africa. The conference was hosted at the University of Witwatersrand and had extraordinary representation from many sub-Saharan African countries and an unprecedented number of short papers submissions. The perspective of the conference crossed borders and continents; there were the challenges of the rural healthcare needs of Africa, the contribution to achieving the millennium goals set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the development of a specialist PA Midwife role in the Netherlands. The presentations were extraordinary, the conversation inspiring and the commitment to work together greater. South Africa did IAPAE proud; we also have to extend a huge thank you to the American International Health Alliance (AIHA), who supported this conference with travel help and organisational skills. There were exciting opportunities to visit some of the local healthcare providers, local traditional villages, the delights of Johannesburg’s Mandela Square and its wonderful restaurants and the opportunity for Safari.
Another significant change in 2012 was the announcement that Professor Nick Ross, would be standing down as a Founding Trustee to take on a new role, in fulltime ministry in the Church of England. Nick has been a wonderful leader, friend and colleague who has made a huge contribution to the organisation from the very beginning. The entire board and membership will miss his wise judgement and council, his sense of humour and of course we will always remember the dancing in Sunyani, Ghana. We will, have an opportunity to formally honour Nick as he makes a keynote speech at the 6th annual conference. Nick is a scholar and a gentleman and we will miss him sincerely, but know he will be fulfilling another calling in his life.
So this year will celebrate 5 years of a wonderful journey, in Birmingham England at one of Europe’s largest hospitals. It has been the most extraordinary journey, with equally extraordinary people from all over the world making a huge contribution of time and effort to develop the goal set out in the desert of Arizona in 2007. IAPAE has gone a long way towards the development of a truly international family, with shared values and vision, shared belief that the role of the non-physician medical provider makes a significant difference to people at their most venerable in cities, towns, and villages; urban or rural, all over the globe. We hope this year, you will be able to join us in England to celebrate our 5th anniversary and help us to make a difference as we stride on to the next 5 years.
Professor Philip A Begg on behalf of the Board.