- Sharon's Anti-Racism Newsletter
- Building Our Own Table: Kimberly Sapre, DMSc, PA-C, CAQ-EM
Building Our Own Table: Kimberly Sapre, DMSc, PA-C, CAQ-EM
Meet the founder of Virginia Association of Minority PAs
I was excited to hear about this initiative from Kimberly Sapre to reduce - and eventually eliminate - medical racism. It seems like a great starting point - what do you think? Please check out Kimberly’s work…
Kimberly, tell me briefly about your background prior to founding Virginia Association of Minority PAs
I have been a PA (physician assistant/associate) for 12 years, and spent most of my career working in emergency medicine. I entered the medical field because of the racism and discrimination that I faced during my several years as a patient in & out of hospitals. I knew that people who looked like me needed someone to advocate on their behalf.
I returned to university to complete my doctoral degree, and my research project focused on the disparity in the treatment of pain in minority patients in the emergency department where I worked. I published the research, and presented it to my colleagues. This is when I stepped into the spotlight with my advocacy for patients, which grew even more after the "racial reckoning" in the USA in 2020.
Give me the elevator pitch for Virginia Association of Minority PAs
The Virginia Association of Minority PAs is an organization committed to increasing diversity within the Virginia PA profession.
And in more detail?
The Virginia Association of Minority PAs is a state organization committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Virginia Physician Associate (PA) workforce representing the diverse communities they serve to improve patient health care outcomes. Our purpose includes the following:
1. Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Virginia PA profession
2. Provide educational resources about health care disparities for PAs, PA students, Pre-PA students
3. Provide mentorship for underrepresented minority PAs, PA students, and Pre-PAs
What inequity were you trying to address, and why is this important?
The main goal is to increase diversity within the profession so that we can be more representative of our communities. University students may be interested in the profession, but they do not have the connections or resources to know which steps to make to get into a PA program. Furthermore, underrepresented students often require a support system to finish their degree, and become successful in their careers. Our organization is offering these services to students for free.
In addition to increasing diversity, we are also focused on providing education to practicing PAs to learn how to take better care of underrepresented patients.
How’s it going? What has the response been?
It is going well thus far. We are a new organization founded in February 2023. We are now a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and donors can make a tax-deductible donation. Also, our first cohort of the Mentorship Program began on April 18th and the mentors will work with their assigned mentees for at least one year. We have garnered some interest in the organization, and we are working to increase our membership. At this time, we have just over 50 people on our mailing list and 30 of those are members. We are working to increase our membership numbers. In July, we will have our first in-person social event during the Virginia Academy of PAs Summer Conference.
What’s next for Virginia Association of Minority PAs?
Our first goal is to work with students who are applying to PA programs. We began our first Mentorship Program Cohort on April 18th to coincide with the PA application cycle beginning at the end of April. Our hope is to have the students be successful in their applications, increasing the diversity in PA programs.
A second big initiative is to have the first DEI conference for PAs in Virginia.
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
Our vision is to eradicate racism. It is imperative to eliminate racism in medicine because it is killing patients.
Thanks for reading,
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