Expert Insights from Program Leaders
August 02, 2021
Season 1: Episode 5: Creighton University - Stephane VanderMeulen, MA, MPAS, PA-C

Stephane VanderMeulen, MA, MPAS, PA-C is not only a national and state leader in PA education, but she is joining our team with this podcast. Ms. VanderMeulen is the Chair of the Department of Health Professions and Program Director of the PA program at ...

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Stephane VanderMeulen, MA, MPAS, PA-C is not only a national and state leader in PA education, but she is joining our team with this podcast. Ms. VanderMeulen is the Chair of the Department of Health Professions and Program Director of the PA program at the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska.  Ms. VanderMeulen is a 1994 graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center PA program and she also holds a Master of Social Gerontology from the University of Nebraska Omaha.  Stephane practiced clinically in the fields of rural family medicine and orthopedics/sports medicine before beginning her career in PA education in 2005. She is an active advocate for PAs in education and practice and has served in professional organizations at both the state and national level.  Ms. VanderMeulen served on the board of directors of the Physician Assistant Education Association for seven years, with two terms as Director at Large before being elected President in 2015. She is dedicated to the professional development of PAs in education and remains active as a mentor for PA educators.

The purpose of this podcast is to provide news and information on the PA profession and is for informational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and guests and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of the University of Arizona.


Unknown Speaker  0:08  
Welcome to this episode of the PA path podcast. I'm your host, Kevin Lohenry. And we are glad you could join us as we seek to better understand the PA profession

Unknown Speaker  0:25  
if everyone could just give a little I think it would go a long ways towards continuing that Pay It Forward mentality.

Unknown Speaker  0:32  
Well hello and thank you for joining us today I am delighted to introduce you to a colleague and partner in this venture. Stephanie Vander Mulan. Steph is Chair of the Department of Health Professions and she is a program director of the PA program at the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha Nebraska. Steph is a 1994 graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center PA program. And she also holds a Master of Social Gerontology from the University of Nebraska Omaha. She practiced clinically in the fields of rural family medicine and orthopedics and sports medicine before beginning her career in PA education in 2005. She is an active advocate for PA in education and practice and has served in professional organizations at both the state and national level. Stephanie served on the Board of Directors of the physician assistant Education Association for seven years with two terms as director at large Before being elected president in 2015. She is dedicated to the professional development of PDAs in education and remains active as a mentor for PA educators, Steph and I had the privilege of working together on the board of directors. And that's when we first met and really hit it off. And we share a lot of ideals related to how the process for applicants is going in PA education. And we're very passionate about trying to simplify things for PA applicants and help them understand the information they need to be successful in their journey to becoming a PA. Well, Steph, thank you so much for joining us today. We are so excited to get you here. Because you and I were part of this conversation many months ago, when we were talking about the challenges related to applicants and kind of getting good advice from the various consultants that are out there. And we felt like there probably wasn't anybody better to give that advice than the people who actually make those decisions and sit in on the admissions meetings. And lo and behold, we ended up with a podcast that we're both both working on. So I bought that.

Unknown Speaker  2:26  
Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for inviting me to be on the podcast and inviting me to be a small part of this, I really appreciated some of the brainstorming that we've done around this and really thinking about how we can how we can really make information available to not only pre PA students, but also current PA students, Pa educators and and even PA is practicing in the field.

Unknown Speaker  2:47  
So what are the biggest concerns that you're seeing about the advice that has been given to applicants? And what are you hoping that this podcast will do to help level the playing field?

Unknown Speaker  2:55  
You know, I think there's just there's a need for better transparency. For pre PA students, I think we have a huge group of individuals who are aspiring to become PDAs. And they need more information about the profession. They need a better understanding of the process of PA admissions, and there's a hunger for information. And and I think that the people who are best suited to provide that information, as you said in your introduction are the people who are actually in the trenches doing this work of PA admissions. And I think it behooves us as pa educators and those of us who are running admissions processes, to have some transparency around our process, and so that it's not a mystery so that pre PA students understand what the expectations are and what we're looking for and what is expected of them as they navigate this process. And so I think some of the things that I think we can accomplish with with a podcast like this is not only to make information available for those pre PA students to kind of demystify the process, but also challenge our fellow gay educators in programs across the country to do the same and to be better communicators and and help pre PA students know what they can do to be better prepared for the process.

Unknown Speaker  4:04  
As we both know, all too well as program directors and seasoned people going through accreditation, we're required by accreditation to post all of our application requirements clearly on our website. But I guess what I'm hearing you saying and probably I would agree as well is there is kind of the process on the website in terms of the step by step things that are required to be a competitive applicant. And then there's the new ones. Yeah, absolutely.

Unknown Speaker  4:26  
I think, you know, what we're required to publish through the accreditation process is kind of the skeleton, it's kind of the bare minimum of what what they would expect transparency to be but you know, there there are websites that are entire forums with dedicated forums for each individual PA program. In when you peruse those, you see that there's this mystery around our processes and people are saying, Have you heard anything? Have you heard anything? Do you know what do you know and what should we expect? And I think that does applicants a real disservice to be that closed door about what it is we're doing And what they should expect.

Unknown Speaker  5:00  
Yeah, it's been a long time since I was in their seat. But I still remember like it was yesterday in terms of that anxiety waiting for a decision, something some communication.

Unknown Speaker  5:11  
Yeah, it's it's nerve racking. And I think no matter what the process is going to be long, and there's always going to be some mystery and waiting is always difficult. But I think that there are definitely things that we can do to communicate better and make it less of a just a waiting game and, and a mystery. It shouldn't be a mystery novel.

Unknown Speaker  5:29  
Yeah, yeah. So you've been a long term educator, you've spent a lot of years in PA education, from coming out of your clinical roles. And you decided to start a new program. So tell us a little bit about Creighton University's PA program and you know, kind of what sets your program apart from others and some of the key highlights that you want applicants to know about?

Unknown Speaker  5:49  
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it was a real, it was a real honor to get to start a program from the ground up. And then and I feel like I've been blessed to have all of the best pieces of the recipe to start a program that I think was really set up for success. From the beginning, I was able to join a university that you know, has over 150 years of experience with a medical school, we also have other health professions programs is nursing, pharmacy, PT, OT, EMS, you know, this, this university does health professions, and it does it well. And it's done so for over a century. And so the, you know, the resources were already in place at Creighton to support a really incredible PA program. And then added to that, I think we were very fortunate to be located in the School of Medicine. And I think having the resources available through a School of Medicine has really set us up for success and has put us in a position of strength with regards to the the quality of teaching and other resources that are available to our students. And then that was also fortunate to be able to recruit a tremendously experienced faculty here at creating, you know, while the PA program is new to this university, okay, education is certainly not new to the team that leads this program and teachers in this program. And so we have, you know, our six faculty we have all like 150 years of PA education experienced among us. And so you know, what, again, while the program is near, we certainly are We are no strangers to PA education. So I think that was really to come into a well resourced institution paired with a school of medicine and an experience team really allowed us to really start and think about, not only draw upon the, the experience of what we knew from institutions that we had been with before, and time tested curricula that we knew worked, but build upon those and thinking about how that applies to today's learners. Because I think, you know, today's learners are very different. They've they've been steeped in digital learning from from the beginning of their education, and they think differently, they learned differently. And so we were able to really think about how we play our time tested knowledge of what works in PA educational pedagogy, and apply that to today's learners and really think about not only educating PDAs, for how medicine is practiced today, but really trying to kind of see down the road and whereas medicine headed and how can we best prepare our students to to practice not only today but for the direction that that medicine is headed. The other thing that I think sets Creighton apart is you know, it's it's a Korean university is a Jesuit institution, if you know anything about the the Jesuit values, Jesuit values include service to others and care of the whole person care personality. And so I think those Jesuit values marry very well with what it means to be a health care provider. Because I think, you know, good health care providers are very dedicated to service to humanity and service to our community, and caring for people not just as a disease state, but as a whole person.

Unknown Speaker  8:39  
So how do you measure that in an applicant? What are you looking for specifically to help you understand their commitment and alignment to that value? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  8:49  
one of the things that we definitely look at and we evaluate in our applicants is some demonstrated record of service. And so we do look for people who have put time in and you know, and it doesn't necessarily have to be extensive, but if there's a, you know, there's a demonstrated commitment to a particular cause, you know, maybe you only have one hour a week to give. But if you've been giving that one hour a week, pretty consistently over a long period of time, to a particular cause or one or two causes, we really look at that as it's kind of a commitment to cause. And so we recognize that undergraduates are busy. And you know, there are a lot of things that are competing for their time. And so they may not have hundreds of hours to give, but you know, we do look for somebody that has some sort of demonstrated record of service. And then I think some of that, I think some of that comes in the interview process, too. You really are able to get a sense for someone who can, you know, sort of speak to commitment to service and I think just that there's an interpersonal piece of that that comes across in a live interview.

Unknown Speaker  9:44  
Do you look at it differently if somebody has done four or five different organizations versus kind of dedicated a lot of time to one cause or generally because of their busyness? You understand that sometimes they have to mix and match.

Unknown Speaker  9:57  
Yeah, I think it can be both I think you know someone who has given a bit of time over a long period of time, or people that have just, you know, always looked for ways to serve. And maybe that has been in different places and two different causes. I think those, I think those both tell a powerful story. But thank you just someone who has looked beyond themselves and looked for ways to serve others, a consistent pattern, a consistent pattern over a period of

Unknown Speaker  10:19  
time. Right, right. So how do how do applicants find out more information about your program how to apply to it?

Unknown Speaker  10:25  
Well, certainly the easy way is at our website, program. But one of the things that, I think because of some of the reasons we've already discussed, one of the things that we really pride ourselves on at our program, is that if you call our program, you can talk to a human being, you know, I think there are a lot of there are a lot of experiences that I've heard from pre PA students that have they really have a difficult time connecting with with someone at a program. And that's something that we feel really strongly about our admissions specialist, Jerry Horton is very accessible. And she's happy to make herself available via phone, via zoom via email, we really want applicants to be able to call our program or email our program and have a personalized conversation and not just get a auto response back or not hear anything back, we really do pride ourselves on interacting personally with with people who reach out to our program.

Unknown Speaker  11:20  
And as as applicants look at your program, it's a developing program that is in process for accreditation, for full accreditation. And can you maybe describe what that process is? And how great it is in that process?

Unknown Speaker  11:32  
Yeah, absolutely. So you know, every program that starts the accreditation agency keeps a fairly close eye on them for the first five to six years or so there's a process that every program goes through. And and I think it's it's a an important and unnecessary process. And so for the first five or so years, that a program starts there, they achieve what is called provisional accreditation. And that's a process of three site visits and three kind of checkpoints with the accreditation agency. Before before the accreditation agency, then if you successfully make make it through those three checkpoints, they say that you are good to go and you get continued accreditation. And and I think it's important for applicants to know that, you know, provisional accreditation is full accreditation. So if you if you enter an provisionally accredited program, you're eligible to sit for the pants exam. So students, I know, that's one thing that students are concerned about, sometimes whether or not that makes them eligible, and it does make you eligible for the pants exam. But I think it's a really important thing that the accreditation agency does, because I think it ensures that a program that is new, just because a program is new, doesn't necessarily mean that it's not a good one. I mean, I feel like I think my program is an exemplar of that we are incredibly well resourced. We have very experienced educators who really, I think know what it takes to educate great TAs. And so you know, we're just in the process of ensuring that we've got all of our I's dotted and our T's crossed. And that's important because we want to make sure that all programs that starts are doing what they say they they're doing, and that they're they're setting their standards high and setting a standard of excellence so that TAs who come to a new program can be assured that they are going to get a quality education and the bill graduate with the skills that they need to be a successful practitioner.

Unknown Speaker  13:17  
Yeah, I would say from an outside perspective, you certainly have recruited quite a team that is you know, really well known in PA education it's kind of like the the George Steinbrenner approach to recruitment or grading so congratulations on that.

Unknown Speaker  13:29  
Yeah, it's it's a pretty all star team. I'm I'm pretty proud that everyone that sits on the faculty of Creighton PA program have served our profession at the state or the national level in some capacity. And it's just an honor and a privilege to get to get to work with these folks. Every day. I learned something from at least one if not every member of my team every single day.

Unknown Speaker  13:52  
Steph, so you've been in P education, as I said for 16 years now, what are some of the things you wished a typical applicant knew about the profession or about your program?

Unknown Speaker  14:01  
You know, when we think about the profession, one of the things that I think that when we see applicants in the interview process, oftentimes they understand the profession, at the basic level, they understand who PDAs are, how they practice, they've probably spent some time shadowing, maybe some folks from different specialties. And so they've seen how PDAs can practice in different areas. But one of the deficits that I see is maybe kind of that next step and kind of taking it to the next level of understanding the profession. And that is really looking at the landscape of kind of what's happening in the the practice environment and what some of the challenges are and kind of what some of the hot topics are that face our profession. And so, you know, when we think about things like proposed name change that APA has recently proposed or the potential move to a doctoral degree as a terminal degree. You know, OTP you know, these are all these are all issues. Shoes that that I think are really on the cutting edge of who we are. And they really will determine where this profession goes in the future. And I think that these are things that if you're thinking about entering this profession, I think you need to have some sort of understanding of, of really kind of the landscape of the profession, and some of the challenges that face us. And some of the opportunities, you know, I like to think of times of uncertainty is really times of opportunity. And I think there are a lot of opportunities for PhDs and for the PA profession right now. And so I think that's one thing that I would challenge pre PA students to do, and even current PA students, because I think there still remains some lack of understanding even even in our students, sometimes of really, some of the things that are happening on the on the landscape of the pa, pa profession right now. So I really encourage people to put their ear a little closer to the tracks and to kind of take that exploration of the profession one step further, and, you know, chat with key leaders and people who are active on the state and national level about, you know, about what's happening, and, you know, tune in to some of our professional organizations and really listen to some of the discussions that are happening on the state and national stage right now.

Unknown Speaker  16:06  
Is there a practical way that an applicant can kind of gain good access to the information that you recommend to other applicants?

Unknown Speaker  16:12  
You know, I think the professional organizations are really important sources of information. You know, I think any of our professional organizations, whether that be APA, APA, and CCPA, or CPA, you know, they do a great job on social media and on their websites of really trying to kind of publicize things that are happening in the world and in the in the world of healthcare, and, as they pertain to PA is, and I think, you know, if there are local leaders, I think if you're a PA student, or pre pa student, and you really want to get involved, I think getting involved in your state, or regional local chapters of the professional organizations, there's no better way to understand what's happening on the professional level than to get involved in some of those organizations. So if you're a PA student, you know, run for that see on your student government that allows you to go to you know, your that allows you to be the student representative to your state organization. And if you're a pre pa student, and reach out to the state organization and say, Hey, are there PAC, who are involved in the Texas Academy of PA is that, you know, might be willing to chat with me and really just kind of try to deepen that understanding.

Unknown Speaker  17:16  
Right. One of the things we chatted about early on in the creation of the podcast was some of the challenges we have been noticing in applicants statements and interviews that seemed to be kind of retreads of other applicants, the same kind of information kept coming out. And we talked about authenticity. So could you take a minute maybe to share, from your perspective, how applicants can stay authentic to who they are?

Unknown Speaker  17:38  
Yeah, I think there's, you know, good or bad, there's a lot of advice out there to be had about, you know, what the perfect narrative looks like. And I think, you know, when you were heard one person's opinion about what a narrative should look like, you've heard one person's opinion about what the narrative should look like. And, you know, we do see, when you've read the hundreds of narratives that both you and I have read over the years, you know, we've read a lot of narratives and, and you do recognize that there's a lot of that sort of canned advice that that people get. And so applicants have, they have a lot of consternation over that narrative. And to me the narratives of work, it's, it's important because it gives context to the rest of your of your application, I think, you know, all of the other things that you put in your application are critically important. You know, it's important that you not only just put all of the health related things that you do, you know, if you are a barista at Starbucks, if you were a hostess at a restaurant, if you worked on a construction job, you know, if you work those things, those all those lined, well rounded as to candidates, those to me say that you've seen a little bit different part of the world and you have different experiences. And so put all of those things on your application. And that narrative, to me is really kind of the it's the mortar that allows you to bring all of those bricks of your application together and kind of help make sense of all the things that we see on the application. And so, and I don't think that there's any one right way to write a narrative, I think that the narrative really should be you kind of bring in all of the pieces of everything that you put in your cast application together. And that's your opportunity to tell the admissions committee your story.

Unknown Speaker  19:11  
And I don't know if you feel this way, but for me, a lot of times applicants have struggled in their undergrad. And there may be a reason why there may be some story that can be illuminated. But I think a lot of times they try to hide that yet, when we do holistic admissions review, like I believe both of our programs, do you see these challenges academically and you wonder what the story is behind that? So in my advice I give to applicants is that that narrative statement, or at least the one that's for the program, helps you illuminate from a place of authenticity, that not only the challenge, but also how you overcame the challenge to be where you're at today in terms of applying to schools. Do you see the same kind of challenges?

Unknown Speaker  19:48  
Absolutely. You know, I think people face challenges we're human and you know, very few people have a perfect straight path to really any point in their in their lives. And so, you know, There have been occasions where you've stumbled along the way. You know, to me, that's, that's a badge of honor. You know, you, you traverse that and you've successfully navigated it. And, you know, if if something happens, tell us about it and tell us what you learn from it and tell us how you grew from it that, you know, that to me is not a disqualifying thing. If somebody maybe had a rough first couple of years in college, or maybe they started down a different pathway, and they figured out it wasn't the right pathway for them, and then change things along the way. That's okay. That's life.

Unknown Speaker  20:28  
Yeah, but gets back to that kind of argument for grit. Grit comes from those rough and experiences that we all overcome. Absolutely. So there's a lot of advice about interviews, and there's a lot of people that offer to coach you on interviews, but there's actually a lot of free resources for interview coaching, too. And I know we had chatted a little bit about this, when we were setting this up, you want to share some of your thoughts on how applicants can gain some practical experience going through a process of sharing their story?

Unknown Speaker  20:56  
Yeah, I mean, I think you can, all you have to do is use your, your friendly search engine on the internet. I don't know for a lot these formal names, but you know, you can put into a search engine on the internet and easily find common interview questions. You know, I mean, I think that's easy enough to do. And I think the biggest advice I have about interviews is don't over prepare, don't overthink it, you know, of course, you should have a decent idea of maybe generally what some of your answers will be to some of the common interview questions. But largely, the whole point of the interview, at least at my program, the whole point of the interview, is for us to get to know you, we we know your academic record, because it's in your past application. We know you know, the experiences that you've done, because you share those with us. But what we don't know is you and so the whole point of that interview is for us to get to know you. And so really, the best thing that you can do is certainly have have some general ideas of some answers to common common interview questions. But even just if, if you're asked a question, just answer it, honestly, and be yourself. Because that's really how we get to know you. And that's really what the selection is going to be made on. It doesn't matter how much you practice it, I can spot a canned answer from 100 miles away. Oh, I mean, if you've got if you've got that kind of over rehearse canned answer. I've heard it trust me, I've probably heard it before. So, you know, I, what I really want you to do is to be able to and frankly, that's actually a skill that I'm looking forward to is for somebody that is posed a question that maybe they weren't quite prepared for. And they can kind of take that in stride and go, let me just think for a beat and come up with an answer that, you know, comes from the heart that comes from an experience that they've had or that they're able to relate that question or something about that query to experience that they've had or think about that through their own lens. And I'd like to hear from their perspective.

Unknown Speaker  22:48  
Yeah, Paul Lombardo last week was sharing how he that he loves to look into the critical thinking capacity of an applicant. And for many years, I use this question that I borrowed from a physician that was in an interview with me, which is unrelated to medicine, but it demonstrates critical thinking for anybody that has a driver's license and drives a car, which is pretty much most of the applicants who come so the first question is, do you drive a car? Yes or no? Yes. Okay, so let's, let's just process this, you go, you put the key in the car, you turn the ignition, nothing happens. Give me three to five things that come across your mind as to why it's not working. It is amazing to watch the sweat bead down the foreheads about this regular thing that we come across from time to time, it could be the battery, it could be the the engine quit, I maybe I forgot to fill it up with gas, maybe the gas gets siphoned out overnight. You know, maybe it's the wrong key or different car. Just anything, right? There's there's no wrong answer, really, it's just a matter of seeing you think on your feet.

Unknown Speaker  23:47  
I think that that's an excellent example of what I meant. Because I think that's the critical thinking ability is something that is a natural ability that I think it certainly can be taught and can be coached. But I think if it's something that you innately have, it puts you ahead of the game, it definitely gives you an advantage. Because if you think about every basically every patient interaction that you'll have as a PA, someone comes to you with a problem, and they're asking you to help them solve it. And so you have to take what are you know, nebulous facts and some, you know, limited information, and you have to use that to build upon that, gather more information, make sense of it, and try to come to some sort of conclusion and look for a solution for that. So you know, I think that critical thinking piece is a really important piece. So you know, maybe one way that that people could prepare. I am a firm believer that you don't need a paid service for for interview prep. Anyone can ask you questions, anyone? Your college roommate can ask you questions, your significant other can ask you questions, you know, just have them up questions that you off the top of their heads. And I think again, I think it's I think it's very possible I think the people that over prepare for interviews, probably fear the worst because I think you I think it's very easy to over prepare for an interview, I think you just have to be prepared to just go in there. Take what comes at you and an answer, honestly and authentically. And that I think that will do much more service than then trying to anticipate any possible question that may come at you, and have a prepared answer for all of those. Because there's no way there's a you know, there are hundreds of 277 PA programs as of a couple of weeks ago. And so that means there are 277 different approaches to admissions, you'll never anticipate every question that's going to come at you. So what you can do is just really kind of know who you are and know the profession and, and know some of the challenges that you might face and, and answer authentically.

Unknown Speaker  25:41  
I also like when somebody has something in their repertoire that really gives them passion that they're excited about. There is nothing better than an interview than seeing somebody light up with true authenticity about something that they're really excited to share with you. So, you know, I think it's, it's nice when a question revolves around that. Or if they give you a question at the end, like, tell us something that you were hoping we'd ask you about? That's a great opportunity to say, Well, I was kind of hoping you'd ask about this in my application, because I want to tell you why I have so much passion about this project.

Unknown Speaker  26:12  
Yeah, I think anything that helps us understand what makes you tick, and what drives you and how we might relate that to how that will make you a successful not only pa student, but you have to understand that we're not just selecting you, as a PA student, we're, of course, we're selecting you to come into our programs, and we're prepared to support you and give you the tools that you need. But ultimately, the end game of that is we're we're selecting you to become a healthcare provider. And so you know, we have to not only see what are the things that are going to make you strong as a student, but then playing that forward, we also want to know that that we're going to be proud to call you colleagues someday. One of the questions

Unknown Speaker  26:48  
we ask on this podcast of all of our guests that are TAS is to tell us about the path you took to become a PA. So do you mind sharing with us a little bit about why you chose the profession and the path that you took?

Unknown Speaker  27:00  
I wish I could tell you that my my path and the PA profession was very thoughtful, and that it involves careful investigation. And you know, that it was well thought out. But you know, I have to admit I first of all, was a lot of years ago, I think it was sometime around about the time the earth cool. When I started thinking about PA school, um, you know, I was a first generation college student. And so, you know, I did not have the guidance of parents who had gone to college who could kind of help me navigate the path of figuring out, okay, you're in college now, like, what does that mean, after you finish school? And what do you want to do with your life. And so I knew I had some interest in medicine. It's an early interest in veterinary medicine. But you know, it was always kind of a science geek. So I think I always knew that I wanted to go into something in medical in nature, but I just really wasn't sure what that was going to be. And ultimately, what it came down to was my health care provider growing up was actually one of the one of the very early PDAs, she was a 1978 graduate from PA school. And so she was really on the Early Edge of our profession, and she had been my healthcare provider through through my whole life and my small town where I grew up. And, you know, she really kind of stepped in and mentored me. And and I think that's important. I think that as a practicing PA, she recognized that I was somebody that had some potential and had interests. And she, she really mentored that in me and she, you know, she fostered the interest and she gave me opportunities to come and shadow her and to talk to her about the profession and what it means to be a PA. And I think that mentorship from someone was was really important. And that is something that, you know, not only did she kind of mentor me into this profession, but that mentorship, the importance of mentorship really stuck with me, and and it's something that I've carried forward in really all of the roles that I've had professionally is the the importance of mentoring those who are interested in our profession. And I think that's one of the reasons that I feel so passionately about making information available to pre PA is because I think this is we have to foster this in in those who aspire to join our profession.

Unknown Speaker  29:03  
Yeah. And it's about giving back right, we both have benefited from the mentorship of TAs that went before us. And so it really is an ethical obligation to continue to pay it for.

Unknown Speaker  29:15  
Absolutely, I think if everyone could just give a little I think it would go a long ways towards continuing that Pay It Forward mentality. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  29:25  
Well, I really appreciate your time today. I can't say how excited I am to have you involved in this podcast. And we are actually looking forward to having Steph sit in on some interviews with some of our mutual friends in the near future and definitely excited to order in this venture with you. So thank you for taking the time to do that and also to share your thoughts about grading today. Thank you. I want to thank our guests and our partners Steph VanderMeulen for sharing her insights about Creighton University's PA program and her reflections about how prepaids can strengthen their applications. Tune in next week as we meet with Mr. Terry Scott Who's program director Ken section head of the MedX Northwest PA program at the University of Washington in Seattle. We'll talk about their program, their multiple satellites, and Terry's unique perspectives with his lifelong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and the impact he has made on our profession and his communities. Until next time, and wish you success with whatever path you are walking in life. And thank you for joining us.

Unknown Speaker  30:33  
This podcast is to provide news and information on the PA profession and is for informational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and guests and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of the University of Southern California.


Stephane VanderMeulen, MA, MPAS, PA-CProfile Photo

Stephane VanderMeulen, MA, MPAS, PA-C

Department Chair and Director

Stephane VanderMeulen MA, MPAS, PA-C is Chair of the Department of Health Professions and Program Director of the PA program at the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. Ms. VanderMeulen is a 1994 graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center PA program and she also holds a Master of Social Gerontology from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Stephane practiced clinically in the fields of rural family medicine and orthopedics/sports medicine before beginning her career in PA education in 2005. She is an active advocate for PAs in education and practice and has served in professional organizations at both the state and national level. Ms. VanderMeulen served on the board of directors of the Physician Assistant Education Association for seven years, with two terms as Director at Large before being elected President in 2015. She is dedicated to the professional development of PAs in education and remains active as a mentor for PA educators.