The AAPA held its first Town Hall Meeting of 2019 on April 9th live from the Spring Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Members were able to call in via GoToWebinar. Francesca Daher and BOT Member Ryan Schniederjan were the moderators. They were joined by Forensic Task Force Members Courtney Hyland, Monica Kendall, Veralucia “Lou” Mendes-Kramer, Erica Price, and BOT Chair John Eckman. The meeting was organized by Ryan Schniederjan, Technical Support, and Connie Thorpe, Director of Professional Development. The topic was The Utilization of Pathologists’ Assistants in the Forensic Setting.
John began by explaining how and why the Forensic Task Force was formed, who are the members, and what is the mission of the task force. Lou discussed why PAs are underrepresented in this field, and Monica followed up with an explanation of forensic organizations with which we should be familiar. These included The National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), The American Academy of Forensic Science (AAFS), and The International Association of Coroner & Medical Examiners (IACME). Courtney then discussed what would be the realistic expectations of integrating PAs into forensics, including a reasonable timeframe and what additional training may be required. Francesca, Lou, and Erica talked about the current staffing shortage in forensics, and what our members can do to advocate for PAs in this field.
A new feature for this Town Hall was a live poll, arranged by Ryan, to determine how many attendees currently participate in forensics. Lou mentioned that there is a staffing shortage in other countries as well. Hagen Schmitt, who was an attendee at the meeting, spoke about his experience in Germany and how PAs are utilized in Europe in forensics.
Then it was time for questions. Many of the questions focused on how to get into the forensics field, with some of the panelists sharing their own experiences.
We would love to hear from you on this subject! Please use this link to view the Town Hall replay, and continue the conversation on the new Forensics forum on our website. Your input is very important to the AAPA.