IMPACT Grant Recipients

2016 Recipients

IMPACT Grant Recipients, Round 2 (Mental Health Focus) – Awarded December 2016

michelle-dibaise-at-still-university_photoA.T. Still University (submitted by Michelle DiBaise, PA-C)
Grant Amount: $4,781
Project Name: Meeting at the Crossroads to Improve Care Coordination Competency and Readiness for Transition to Integrated Practice
Project Description: Care coordination teams comprised of PA and other health professions students, under the supervision of licensed healthcare clinician faculty, will coordinate screening and referral of Crossroads residents to the AICBEP-funded weekly multi-specialty clinics, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or other on-site providers as needed. Further, PA students will both observe and participate in the evaluation and management of referred patients in conjunction with on-site healthcare providers. Finally, supervised PA students will continue to provide intake health assessments, screen for mental and other illness, identify the need for counseling, vocational or educational services, and create referrals to the care coordination team as appropriate. IMPACT Grant support will allow PA students to additionally provide smoking cessation medications and education at intake, followed by recurring student-led support meetings on-site. These efforts will provide no-cost, integrated, holistic support for mental and physical health on-site to patients with substance abuse disorder, reducing the flight risk associated with off-site referrals and ensuring continuity of care.

jennifer-forbes-idaho-state-university_photo2Idaho State University (submitted by Jennifer Forbes, PA-C)
Co-investigators: Jared Papa and Talia Sierra

Grant Amount: $1,528.14
Project Name: Improving Mental Health in Idaho Through Community Based Screenings and Patient Education
Project Description: PA faculty and students at Idaho State University participate in multiple interdisciplinary community health screenings in the Boise, ID, area. These screenings provide great services to individuals in the community, but could be enhanced by expanding the mental health component of the screenings. Through funding from the IMPACT Grant, the mental health component of these community-based screenings will be enhanced by adding new screening tools for depression and alcohol use as well as implementing a mental health curriculum that will be used to educate patients on mental health disorders and provide local resources for assessment and treatment of mental health disorders. The goals of integrating mental health education into these patient-focused events are to improve patient outcomes by educating individuals on mental health principles. By having a better understanding of mental health, the stigma associated with mental health disorders should be reduced.

lisa-stephens-weber-morganWeber-Morgan Health Department (submitted by Lisa Stephens, PA-C)
Grant Amount: $3,690
Project Name: One Good Thing
Project Description: “One Good Thing” will be implemented in one PA’s practice to address depression and self image in adolescents. It is a series of visits aimed at increasing self-esteem, confidence, and therefore self efficacy through a multifaceted approach.

IMPACT Grant Recipients, Round 1 – Awarded May 2016

Jackson Free Clinic Students_2Jackson Free Clinic (submitted by Meagan McKinnon, PA-S, Shauna Nguyen, PA-S, and Joseph Kotnour, PA-S)

Grant Amount:  $4,847
Project Name:  Improving Mississippi through Physician Assistant Community Teaching (IMPACT)
Project Description:  Students from Mississippi College’s Physician Assistant Program have been given the opportunity to join the medical teams at Jackson Free Clinic in Jackson, Mississippi in the treatment and evaluation of patients. The Jackson Free Clinic is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide quality care to the underserved, indigent and homeless populations in the Jackson Metro Area.  Due to a lack of structured programming and adequate funding, Jackson Free Clinic is seeking to improve in the area of patient education and will be using physician assistant students to achieve this aim. PA students will assume the patient education leadership role at Jackson Free Clinic by engaging with patients at the clinic and educating them in the areas of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity through interactive educational modules. Through the use of technology and tangible health models, the PA students seek to maximize the patient’s time in clinic and provide them with relevant, useful tools for making lifestyle modifications that could improve their overall health outcomes.

Jessica Vlaming - RushRush University (submitted by Jessica Vlaming, PA-C, Vic Speedwell, PA-S, and Juli Dziuban, PA-S)
Grant Amount:  $8,567.16
Project Name:  Incarceration Medicine Initiative
Project Description:  The Incarceration Medicine Initiative is an interprofessional volunteer organization thatVic Speedwell - Rush studentJuli Dziuban - Rush student
will provide a health education curriculum to male and female inmates at the Cook County Jail, by engaging inmates in weekly lecture and discussion of common health issues and topics.  The Cook County Jail is one of the largest correctional facilities in the United States, and the population of inmates disproportionately comes from low socioeconomic areas of Chicago that face a lack of quality education opportunities, lack of health care access, and for many, racial discrimination.

Touro CA studentsTouro University California (submitted by Joy Dugan, PA-C)
Grant Amount:  $1,000
Project Name:  Student Run Free Clinic (SRFC) Expansion Project
Project Description:  The SRFC provides free health screening and a variety of services to the residents of Vallejo.  PAs currently perform H&P, vitals, and screenings. What we would like to add to our clinic are smoking cessation, immunization training, and health awareness education. PAs would be trained in educating patients on management of a variety of chronic conditions and smoking cessation. They would also assist in managing the effectiveness and success of the patient’s smoking cessation. For immunizations, PAs would be trained earlier in the year to give immunizations at a more applicable time during flu season.

Lindsay Gietzen - Wayne StateWayne State University (submitted by Lindsay Gietzen, PA-C)
Grant Amount:  $4,450
Project Name:  Special Olympics Health Appraisals
Project Description:  The purpose of the PA Foundation IMPACT Grant for Special Olympics Health Appraisals is to increase availability and supplies for Special Olympics appraisals and to increase PA student exposure and involvement with intellectually impaired populations. One stipulation to Special Olympics participation is a health appraisal that must be completed by a medical provider.

2015 Recipients

IMPACT Grant Recipients, Round 3 – Awarded January 2016

K Bernard photoKari Bernard, PA-C, Alaska Health Fair Inc.
Grant Amount:  $2,500
Project Name:  Hosting a Health Fair for a Homeless Population in Alaska
Project Description:  The University of Washington PA students chosen to matriculate into the Anchorage class each have a strong connection to the state of Alaska, and most have plans to remain in state to practice. Built into the didactic curriculum is exposure to underserved Alaskan populations, most notably those without adequate housing who are at great risk for poor health outcomes. Every winter, the didactic class partners with Brother Francis Shelter and Alaska Health Fair Inc to host a health fair for the homeless. PA students provide education aimed at maintaining health on the streets. A hematology and chemistry lab panel is also drawn on fair participants and when the results are back, volunteers at the shelter-based clinic help patients interpret the results and assist with referral to providers as needed.

T Rick photoTara Rick, PA-C, Master of PA Studies Program at St. Catherine University
Grant Amount:  $3,700
Project Name:  “See and Treat” Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment in Tanzania
Project Description:  A great majority of cervical cancer deaths in the world occur in developing countries. Due to a lack of cost effective screening, women present with advanced stage disease with little chance of cure. The “See and Treat” cervical cancer screening and treatment of precancerous lesions using cryotherapy is effective in low-income countries. Selian Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania, serves a community of >700,000 and has no financial capability for cryotherapy. This project involves providing a local gynecologist with the sustainable cryotherapy system and sponsoring his participation in a U.S.-based cryotherapy training session in Tanzania in June 2016; the gynecologist would then train local healthcare providers (PA similar) to screen for cervical cancer. A PA and PA students from the U.S. would also participate in the training session. The project will provide Tanzanian women with immediate access to life saving treatment against the number one cancer killer in Tanzania.

M Rota photoMichael Rota, PA-C, Wagner College PA Program
Grant Amount:  $9,200
Project Name:  Traditional Birthing Attendant (TBA) Training Campaign
Project Description:  The purpose of this project is to implement an educational program for traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and indigenous women led by a cohort of PA faculty and students volunteering for an upcoming medical mission trip to Guatemala. The group will visit remote mountain communities to offer interactive, culturally-sensitive, simulation-based educational programs to local indigenous women and ‘comadronas’ (traditionally-trained birth attendants) with the goal of improving birthing practices. With the help of models and manikins, PA faculty and students will demonstrate procedures and techniques that can improve maternal and infant outcomes. In addition to the educational sessions, participants with receive a birthing kit that includes educational materials along with items needed for a delivery under sterile conditions.

k Scarbalis photoKathleen Scarbalis, PA-C, Pediatric Specialists of Virginia
Grant Amount:  $900
Project Name:  Physical Activity Initiative in Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Patients
Project Description:  Families are overwhelmed when informed of a childhood cancer diagnosis. This project is focused on improving patient health outcomes and education for this patient population. The overall survival for childhood leukemia is approaching 95%, but the late effects from the treatment can be lingering. Families need encouragement to realize their leukemia child can maintain safe activities during chemotherapy treatments. A team of PAs working with a physical therapist over the past 7 years noted a decrease in activity level for patients on active treatment and the resulting issues, such as decreased stamina, obesity, and muscle weakness in leukemia survivors. This feasibility study will involve evaluating a physical activity program for active leukemia patients. Once there is sufficient data, the goal is to publish the information and make other pediatric cancer centers aware of the possibilities of early intervention for improved health outcomes with improved patient education.

IMPACT Grant Recipients, Round 2 Awarded October 2015

The following PAs and PA students were awarded the second round of IMPACT grants for community-based programs that foster innovation and improve health.

Keith Byrd photo

Keith Byrd, PA-S, University of California-Davis
Grant Amount:  $10,000
Project Name:  Project ADAPTS: Action on Diabetes Awareness and Periodontal Treatment in Sacramento
Project Description:  The main goal of project ADAPTS is to improve access to diabetes education and oral health services in these underserved communities through a network of student- run clinics. In this student/community partnership, we propose an innovative approach to health education that will be inter-professional, patient-centered, culturally sensitive and sustainable. This project is novel and feasible in this region and can be replicated in other student-run clinics in America.

Adriana Paredes photo

Adriana Paredes, PA-C, Good Shepherd Ministries of Oklahoma
Grant Amount:  $5,000
Project Name:  Newly Diagnosed A1c Medicine and Supplies
Project Description:  This grant’s target population is uninsured, newly diagnosed diabetic patients in the Oklahoma City metro area with limited, if any, personal funds to spend on supplies and medication to control their disease. Currently, Good Shepherd serves approximately 400 uninsured diabetic patients in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. The Physician Assistant Foundation’s IMPACT Grant will be used to pay for glucometers, testing supplies and oral hypoglycemic diabetic medication currently provided in-house for our patients. Presently, these supplies and medications are purchased by the Pharmacy Program Coordinator out of funds designated from a previous grant, which will deplete by the end of the calendar year 2016. Once depleted, Good Shepherd will no longer be able to provide these critical medications to its patients. These medications are not otherwise available to patients through a Drug Assistance Program.

Barbara Medina-Palacios photo

Barbara Medina-Palacios, PA-C, Stephens Memorial Hospital
Grant Amount:  $5,000
Project Name:  Stephens Memorial Hospital Diabetes Education Program
Project Description:  As diabetes becomes more prevalent in our society, the residents of rural communities feel the burden of not only a shortage of medical providers, but also access to medical care such as clinics, hospitals, etc., and access to educational programs, prevention services, and screening opportunities.  Therefore, Stephens Memorial Hospital’s Rural Health Clinic, Breckenridge Medical Center, has recently formed a diabetes education program that will serve the residents of Stephens County, population 9500. This program will be used to: 1. Provide education to the community on prevention; 2. Be a conduit for screening services; 3. Provide monthly educational programs and support to participants; 4. Provide medical oversight and management with MD and DO supervision of physician assistant; 5. Offer group activities such as cooking demonstrations, recipe “overhaul,” and exercise classes; and 6. Provide social and emotional support.

IMPACT Grant Recipients, Round 1Awarded AAPA Conference 2015

The following PAs and PA Student were awarded the first round of IMPACT Grants for community-based programs that foster innovation and improve health.


Tameem H. Sabry, PA Student, Touro University Nevada
Grant Amount:  $10,000
Project:  Touro Nevada Mobile Healthcare Clinic Program
Project Description:  Touro University Nevada began a service-learning course in 2010. The goal of the course is to develop civic responsibility among the physician assistant students. During the service-learning course, a cohort of students is assigned to a community partner over a four month period.  Through communication and negotiation skills, the students identify a problem the community partner may have and develop a solution that would be meaningful to both the partner and students. The solution must be viable after the students leave.

An outcome of this course is the Touro Mobile Healthcare Clinic. The students realized that many homeless were not getting urgent medical care because of their fears and reluctance in leaving the patch of ground they have called “theirs.” To address this, the Touro Mobile Healthcare Clinic was conceived and after four years of hard work and negotiations, put into action.

However, it was discovered that the types of patients the clinic was caring for was not anticipated. While the clinic is equipped to handle simple urgent problems, there are a number of patients that present with more chronic and complex needs. In order to address this, different equipment and supplies are needed; an expense that the clinic has not anticipated in its budget.


Ruth G. Dotson, PA-C, High Country Community Health
Grant Amount:  $5,000
Project:  High Country Community Health Hepatitis C Clinic
Project Description:  The purpose of this application is to seek funds to identify and promote treatment of underserved patients in our community with chronic hepatitis C. We seek funding for screening, associated lab costs, and hepatitis A and B immunization. Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the leading cause of liver transplantation and liver cancer in the US and the second leading cause of cirrhosis.  It is estimated that over 150,000 North Carolinians are infected with HCV, with prevalence of approximately 2%. There are approximately 1500 people infected with the virus in rural northwest North Carolina (also known as the High Country). In the past treatment of HCV has involved minimally 24-48 weeks of therapy with significant side-effects and clearance rates of only approximately 50-60%. New therapies offer exceptional promise with treatment of only 8-24 weeks and cure rates approaching 98% with minimal side-effects. However, many patients with HCV are low-income and uninsured, limiting access to treatment and immunization against hepatitis A and B. Also, approximately half of patients with HCV are unaware they have the disease.

High Country Community Health (HCCH) is a Federally Qualified Health Center with clinics in Watauga and Avery Counties, NC. Established in 2012, HCCH offers comprehensive and culturally sensitive services to medically underserved populations in the surrounding rural communities. There is great need for identification and treatment of those with HCV in our community, and with your help all persons with HCV in the High Country can have a chance for a cure.


Wilton C. Kennedy, DHSc, PA-C, Jefferson College of Health Sciences
Grant Amount:  $5,000
Project:  Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy Through Motivational Interviewing
Project Description:  The project seeks to motivate unvaccinated patients and caregivers with personal misconceptions and false beliefs to increase their intent to receive needed immunizations by training PAs in Motivational Interviewing (MI).  Many well-meaning providers, public health advocates and educators mistake vaccine refusal or hesitancy with a lack of vaccine knowledge.  However, many vaccine refusers are well educated and familiar with indications for vaccines yet decline vaccines for other reasons. Instead of approaching these patients with a litany of knowledge-based facts for receiving vaccines, we will demonstrate an approach utilizing MI to change behavior among patients and providers.

The project will produce a series of videos utilizing standardized patients with 6 different scenarios seen in clinical encounters with vaccine refusers. Each video will consist of the current standard approach to persuading a patient and then an approach utilizing evidence-based Motivational Interviewing techniques. The peer reviewed, scripted, professional videos will be incorporated into online modules to allow for easy access for practicing PAs and PA students.

In addition to the videotaped encounter, each module will include detailed information regarding the current literature and best practices for the unique scenarios, such as background, typical cohorts of patient examples, and bullet points for easy recall. Modules will be uploaded to our in-house Cornerstone on Demand e-learning server and later linked to the AAPA website. Pre and post-tests and a self-evaluation of the provider’s current practice will be incorporated for VCME consideration and as a part of ongoing performance improvement and self-evaluation.


Interested in IMPACT Grants? Learn More.