Keli Jackson, MEDEX Kona Class 3 student and recipient of the 2023-24 PAEA Student Health Policy Fellowship

You may have heard the news from the PA Education Association (PAEA), but it bears repeating because this news is extra special this year. We are very happy to announce that, for a third  consecutive year, a MEDEX student—Keli Jackson of Kona Class 3—has been selected for the PAEA 2023-24 Student Health Policy Fellowship. Keli follows in the path of two previous MEDEX students: Ted Parker (Seattle Class 55) in 2021 and Marisa Stirgus (Tacoma Class 10) in 2022. 

 From the PAEA website: “The PAEA Student Health Policy Fellowship is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the political process and health policy. The ultimate goal is to inspire and prepare fellows for lifelong grassroots advocacy that promotes the PA profession as an integral part of the health care system.” 

Keli will complete a three-day intensive workshop culminating in meeting with her local congressional representatives to advocate for legislation. And by September of 2024, she will also complete an advocacy project demonstrating “a positive impact on the PA profession, local or state community, or PA programs.” 

Her intention is clear: “I am ready to actively engage in reshaping health policy for the benefit of patients and the community as a whole,” particularly for patients who are further marginalized by new health policies than they already were before certain legislation was passed. “As a female and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I understand personally how health policy, equity, access, and provider education have a significant and lasting impact on patient well-being.”

In addition to witnessing firsthand the detrimental effects of the toppling of Roe v. Wade when she worked in a clinic treating a flood of pregnant patients from out of state, she writes that, “One of my key goals in improving PA education is to advocate for a more gender-neutral language and gender-inclusive training for all healthcare-related topics.” 

This fellowship is built to develop skills in advocacy, leadership, and the advancement of PA education and practice goals within communities, and Keli’s path is well-aligned with this mission.

“I have learned that most providers and students want to know more about how to adequately and respectfully care for trans and gender-diverse people but have not had the opportunity to learn. I am committed to being a leader to help bridge this knowledge at many levels, including advocating for inclusive gender representation in medical research, comprehensive gender training in PA education, and inclusive health policy. My vision of leadership is not to dictate but to enable continuous learning, fostering an environment where we can all strive to be the best providers for our diverse patient population.” 

Congratulations, Keli—you’ve earned this, you deserve it, and MEDEX, the healthcare community, and all your future patients are so fortunate to have you here with us. 

Full announcement: 

More information about the fellowship: