The American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) presented the 2023 Individual Excellence Awards to PAs and PA students who have distinguished themselves in service to their patients and their communities and are dedicated advocates for the PA profession at the annual meeting held May 20-24, in Nashville, TN.
Eugene A. Stead Jr, Lifetime Achievement Award
Josanne K. Pagel, MDiv, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, EBS, is the recipient of the Eugene A. Stead Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the first PAs to focus on administration, “Pagel has been a committed advocate for the profession and is well-known for advancing PA practice in her home state of Ohio,” according to the AAPA.
Pagel became interested in medicine at an early age when she met a student in a surgical PA program and was able to shadow him. From there, she said, she was hooked. Following graduation from her PA program, Pagel joined the Peace Corps as a health care volunteer and was stationed in the Philippines for 2 years, where she practiced rural medicine.
After returning to Ohio, Pagel helped to develop the Fairview Hospital surgical PA department. In addition to her focus on surgery, Pagel also practiced in women’s health, family medicine, and emergency medicine. She received a master’s degree in both psychiatry and addiction medicine.
Pagel served as the president of the Ohio Association of PAs (OAPA) and chair of Governmental Affairs committee. While in government, Pagel helped to generate “over 50 pieces of legislation to enhance PA practice in the state and continues to be an active advocate for Ohio PAs,” noted AAPA. “Legislative victories in which she played a part include achieving full scheduled prescriptive authority, filing of supervision requirements at the practice level, admitting authority, and the elimination of the restrictive drug formulary.”
Pagel served as Secretary-Treasurer on the AAPA Board of Directors and as AAPA President for the 2017-2018 leadership year. She retired from Cleveland Clinic in 2022 and is now an adjunct professor for the Butler University PA program, where she teaches a leadership course.
PA of the Year
Mary K. Banahan, MS, PA-C, was inspired to pursue a career in medicine by an unlikely source: the 1970s war comedy-drama television series M*A*S*H, according to AAPA. Banahan is a full-time faculty member and dual-degree coordinator for the Hofstra University PA Program, where she teaches the next generation of PAs while also preparing undergraduate students in Hofstra’s dual degree pre-PA program.
Outside of her role as an educator, Banahan is a dedicated volunteer for the Postpartum Resource Center of NY, Inc. (PPRCNY). The organization helps mothers and families in New York State going through a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD), spreads awareness about PMADs, and provides training about PMADs to health care providers in the community.
“I started volunteering 22 years ago after the PPRCNY helped me recover from postpartum depression after the birth of my second son,” Banahan told AAPA. When she learned that Indigenous women are at a higher risk of PMADs and postpartum suicide than other racial and ethnic groups, she was determined to help. With colleagues from Hofstra and PPRCNY, she applied for an NCCPA Health Foundation Be the Change Grant and started “Confronting Racial Inequalities in Maternal Mental Health in Indigenous Women.”
Her goal is to enhance access to maternal mental health screening, support, and education for women of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, a self-governing tribe in the state of New York, located on Long Island with over 1500 enrolled tribal members.
PA Student of the Year
Deepthi Krishna is the 2023 recipient of the PA Student of the Year Award. A PA student at Canisius College PA Program, in Buffalo, NY, Krishna is the student director for the New York State Society of PAs (NYSSPA) and is a passionate advocate for improving PA practice laws, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“Close encounters with emotional and financial burden of a challenging health care system as a kid encouraged me to pursue a career in health care,” she told AAPA. “Overcoming personal adversities and sharing in the responsibility as a primary caregiver for my family strengthened my resolve.”
Krishna also believes that students should be actively involved in lobbying efforts to bring positive changes to the PA profession. She hopes to continue her advocacy efforts for PA students and the PA profession after she graduates.
Military Service Award
Timothy J. Camasta, PA-C, DFAAPA, is the 2023 recipient of the Military Service Award. Camasta has served in both the US Coast Guard and the US Navy, and has been a PA for more than 30 years. For the last 16 years, he has worked directly with active duty and retired service members.
Daytheon Sturges, PhD, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, CHES, is the 2023 recipient of the Diversity Award. Dr Sturges has spent the last 8 years focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion within the PA profession, and is chair of the PA Education Association (PAEA) Diversity and Inclusion Mission Advancement Commission. He is also vice chair in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, where his purview is the departmental justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) initiative, and associate professor at MEDEX Northwest, serving as the associate program director of regional affairs and JEDI.
AAPA/PAEA Preceptor of the Year Award
Allie Thompson, PA-C, is the recipient of the Preceptor of the Year Award. Thompson is a PA in acute care/emergency general surgery who has precepted over 40 students since 2016. She assists annually with clinical skills prep courses for PA students.
AAPA announces 2023 individual excellence award recipients. News release. American Academy of Physician Associates. May 21, 2023. Accessed May 23, 2023. https://www.aapa.org/news-central/2023/05/aapa-announces-2023-individual-excellence-award-recipients/