Washington DC Political Advocacy Trip

Over spring break, students are invited to attend the Annual Advocacy Trip to Washington, D.C. In an effort to promote leadership, students work with team members at the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) to learn how both organizations work to advance legislation on behalf of the profession and patient care.

As part of the experience students are introduced to the lobbying process, the issues that affect PAs and what is going on in Washington from top professionals who have their thumbs on the pulse of the city. Students are able to gain insight into the current state of affairs on the Hill that will affect their future, as well get inside input on how to present themselves with their own representatives. 


PAEA debriefs the students about which current legislation they want supported by Congress. These are the topics students will be discussing with their representatives in the following days. The students are encouraged to add in their own personal experiences and input while speaking with the representatives, making the topics that much more meaningful. 

Congresswoman Karen Bass is an alumni of the Primary Care Physician Assistant Program and now serves as the representative for the Westside of Los Angeles. She works with the students in attendance to provide access to the Hill and provide additional insight as a member of the House.


On the final day, students meet with their representatives and staffers to advocate on the legislation they have just learned all about. In taking on this leadership role, they are given a chance to have their voice heard and now share how they are impacted by legislation as a PA student.

The goal of the trip is to promote students to take a role leadership in the future, advocating for the PA profession. The PA profession is still young and needs to find its place in existing and new legislation. As future PAs, students gain a better understanding of what is needed to support the role of PAs on a national level and ensure PAs are provided with the appropriate legal rights. The trip is an opportunity for students to witness what goes on behind the scenes in our national organizations and discover what they can do to become leaders in the future. 


The trip is not all work for students, as the have plenty of time to sightsee around Washington, D.C. They have the opportunity to see the national monuments, museums, and discover the city with each other. 

Many students voiced a desire to continue political advocacy for PAs at the state level, as well as nationally. This trip is truly inspirational to students and expands their perspectives on what role they can play in the future. 

GE-NMF Primary Care Leadership Program

The GE-NMF Primary Care Leadership Program is a scholarship program that is held every summer. It is an opportunity for students to experience the rewards and challenges of primary care at community health centers nationwide. The program's scholars participate in healthcare services relevant to their host site and area of study as well as attend leadership training. A main component of the program is for each scholar to complete an indepedent project. 


Here we have included the projects of USC's three scholars of the 2015 program. Each project is accompanied by a short audio clip of the student explaining their project in their own words. 


Claudia Lam

Class of 2017

3 min

Cherryl Matias

Class of 2017

4 min

Jessica Winta

Class of 2017

2 min

Claudia Lam

Claudia Lam

Cherryl Matias

Cherryl Matias

Jessica Winta

Jessica Winta

Washington DC Summer Interships

PAEA Summer Internship

This summer I was given the opportunity to work as an intern for PAEA in the government relations (GR) department. Most PA students are unable to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in terms of PA student advocacy at our nation’s capital. As a summer intern, I was able to accompany GR staff to meetings on the Hill and witness how they advocate for us as students. The PA profession is smaller and relatively young in comparison to other professions, and therefore, faces an uphill battle when competing with them. Working with the GR staff, I learned that it takes incredible commitment and tireless effort to make change to legislation and that many different people are involved when making it happen. As a summer intern at PAEA, I was thrilled to advocate for quality PA programs like the one I am fortunate to be a part of. If possible, I hope to get involved in advocacy after I graduate, either at the state or federal level. And, in the meantime, I hope to stay more informed on current legislation facing PA students and the PA profession.


Written by Brooke Pearson (Class of 2017)


AAPA Summer Internship

I decided that I wanted to intern at AAPA after attending my school advocacy trip and learning more about the importance of advocacy, as well as how impactful it could be. I realized that advocacy efforts were crucial in ensuring that PAs can practice at the top of their capability and ultimately provide the best care possible to patients. For me, it was a chance to advance the PA profession as a whole and help others on a grander scale than on a patient to patient basis. My duties at AAPA consisted of working with both the federal and state advocacy teams on topic-specific or state-related projects. I helped compile research, write articles and draft comment letters about a variety of different advocacy topics. Some specific issues that I had the chance to work on were re-entry to clinical practice, barriers to practice for NICU PAs in California and upcoming PA-related federal legislation. My internship at AAPA was an incredible opportunity to contribute to the PA profession and overall an amazing learning experience.


Written by Lisa Ding (Class of 2017)


Class Officers

Student officers make up two committees - USC Class officers and USC Physician Assistant Student Society (USC PASS) officers. Every officer plays an integral role and contributes to organizing aspects of student life that separates USC from other PA programs around the country. Together this group of student leaders act to make every student's experience at USC memorable. 

Class President

The Class President acts as an advocate and representative of the class while mediateing between the faculty and students. As President, this student will act as Interdisciplinary liaison for other USC health programs and Co-Chair on the USC Student-Run Clinic Executive Board. Additional responsibilities also include assisting in class events such as the White Coat Ceremony and Commencement Ceremony. 


Class Vice President


USC PASS President


USC PASS Vice-President

AOR Representative

Alumni Liaison

CAPA Student Rep

Diversity Chair

GSG Representative


The student acts as the representative of California Academy of Physician Assistants (CAPA) who also serves as Constituent Chapter Student Representative (CCSR) for USC PA Student Society (USCPASS). He or she will attend the CAPA conference and organize for other students to attend. He or she will also act as a committee chairperson for CAPA Student Challenge Bowl. 

The Diversity Chair strives to incorporate diversity into the students' educational experience through various activities in collaboration with other healthcare programs at USC and in the community. 

This student will be the PA Program representative within the USC student government who will work with administration by discussing and voting on issues of campus life, policy, or other matters affecting graduate students. As a senator, this student will distribute information about graduate student events and other opportunities affecting our program. 

The Class Historian is in charge of capturing major class activities in photos and producing a slideshow to present during the White Coat Ceremony. 

Outreach Chair

The External Outreach Chair will serve as the liaison between USCPASS and the various other healthcare-associated programs and schools, and continue to foster development of inter-professional collaboration in USCPASS events and the other programs’ activities. He or she will also be responsible for maintaining the Trojan PA website. 


The secretary attends all officer meetings and is responsible for the meeting's minutes. The position requires a well organized person who is able to summarize the discussion effectively for later review. 

Social Chair


The purpose of the social chair position is to create a sense of unity and connectedness among all of the PA students, and even with those outside the program and school. This position’s goal is to make the PA school experience fun and memorable as well as planning and executing outreach events. 

The treasurer manages the class finances and plans a budget for class activities. He or she will also coordinate fundraising activities for the class. 

The Class Vice President will assist the Class President as a class representative and with major class events. However, the largest role for the Vice President is coordinating Student Run Clinic. He or she will act as Co-Chair of the USC Student-Run Clinic with the Class President, but hold the primary responsibility in managing PA involvement in the clinic, organizing and coordinating the volunteer process of Student Run Clinic, and appointing the Care Team Coordinators for the clinic. 

Shall preside over the monthly meetings, set the meeting agendas and submit to the secretary for copies and distribution; coordinate the activities of the society and keep the members informed of the activities. In addition the President is responsible for registering the society with both the University and SAAPA. Also serves as a Special Events Co-Chair for the SRC. The USC PASS President is also responsible for organizing Health Fairs throughout the year for the student body. 

Shall assist the president, preside in his/her absence and inform the members on various student issues and activities of the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (SAAAPA). Also serves as a Special Events Co-Chair for the SRC. Will also assist USC PASS President in arranging Health Fairs for the student body. 

The alumni liaison will reach out to multiple USC alumni throughout the year and compose the Alumni Spotlight for the website. The position aims to provide a resource for students to see what options are available for graduates and how former students have succeeded as physician assistants. 

The AOR Representative is to serves as the contact for the leaders of SAAAPA (Student Academy of American Academy of Physician Assistants) and responsible for distributing all information to other students. He or she will also attend the AOR meeting at AAPA annual conference.