I’m starting to get a little rummy from the campaign action in my run for the American Academy of Physician Assistant Board Secretary-Treasurer position. The voting starts April 1, and it‘s getting down to crunch time.

One of the ways I can tell that I am stressed is when I get emotional about things that wouldn’t normally prompt an emotional response. My wife and I recently walked around a beautiful part of the University of Washington campus where cherry trees are in blossom.

At one point, I reached up and patted a tree with its massive mossy branch and started to tear up, noting how moving it was to see a beast like this. My wife and I both immediately identified the over-emotive behavior. We quickly nodded and moved on when she said, “Campaign.”

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It has been an emotional journey to be sure. I think this is mostly due to the pride I take in my profession, and also feeling worried about how the organization is moving away from our member-driven traditions.

But there have also been so many great things about running for office. I’ve met some sparkling candidates, people who represent the very best of our profession.

 For example, Vicki Chan-Padgett, PA-C, is running for AAPA President and having a chance to meet her and talk has left me blown away with how great she is. What a wonderful combination of warmth, modesty, humor and leadership experience!

I have heard of Vicki and her important work for years and know of her reputation for service, but to meet her and chat with her was very special.

Our profession will be extremely lucky to have an experienced leader with a strong military background lead us into the future. You can read more about Vicki’s election platform and get more information about her campaign on the AAPA website.

I also had a chance to meet Lauren Dobbs, PA-C, another amazing individual, who is running for the AAPA Director-at-Large. A 2007 graduate of the Wake Forest program, Lauren represents the best that new PAs can offer with her youthful high energy, sharp clinical orientation, and recent leadership tenure as the President of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants.

This is what I love about our profession. Vicki, with her amazing background of military service, international focus and academic leadership, and Lauren with her youthful acumen and fearless willingness to take on high-level leadership work early in her career, together bookend the promise of AAPA leadership.

These two individuals bring together a balance of experience, energy, wisdom, insight and willingness to serve the profession. With people like this willing to put themselves on the line to run for AAPA office, the future looks very bright for the academy and the PA profession.

Jim Anderson, MPAS, PA-C, ATC, DFAAPA, is chair of the American Academy of Physician Assistants Health Disparities Work Group, founder of Physician Assistants for Health Equity and faculty of the Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.