The following article is part of The Clinical Advisor’s coverage from the 2018 American Academy of Physician Assistants’ annual meeting in New Orleans. Our staff will be reporting live on original research, case studies, and professional outreach and advocacy news from leading PAs in many specialty areas. Check back for ongoing updates from AAPA 2018. 

NEW ORLEANS—Health seminars for physician assistant (PA) students regarding naloxone training may help increase student confidence, which may facilitate patient treatments, especially in areas with more frequent opioid-linked overdoses, according to research presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) 2018 conference.

Tara Igneri, MS, PA-C, from Wagner College PA Program in Staten Island, NY, and colleagues worked with Community Health Action of Staten Island, a nonprofit organization, to generate a lecture to determine if PA students would benefit from a naloxone training program and if these lectures would translate into increased knowledge and behavior to save lives in local communities.

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A total of 185 knowledge tests and behavior surveys were distributed to pre-PA and PA students (average age, 20.5 years). Of the cohort, 25% of students were pre-PA freshmen, 17% pre-PA sophomores, 20% didactic PAs, 17% clinical PAs, and 21% graduate PAs.

The investigators reported increased knowledge scores for pre-PA freshman and sophomore students but not for didactic, clinical, or graduate PAs. Behavioral survey results indicated a significant increase in all student groups.

Questions 6 and 10 of the survey resulted in the most significant increases: “recognizing signs and symptoms of an opiate overdose” and “administering naloxone to a friend that has overdosed,” respectively.

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“Introducing health seminars specifically focused on educating PA students on lifesaving treatments is effective in increasing knowledge,” wrote the authors. “More importantly, these seminars increase students’ confidence and, therefore, make them more likely to intervene when confronted with an overdose in the community.”

AAPA 2018 continues through Wednesday, May 23. Visit for more information.


Igneri T, Rota M, Lowy N. Naloxone training: lifesaving education for PA students. Presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants 2018 conference; May 19-23, 2018; New Orleans. Poster 190.