Blog: MOCA educates healthcare providers

Blog: MOCA educates healthcare providers

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4.7.15 In March, the Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA) held its semi-annual, spring conference in St Louis Park with 200+ practicing physician assistants in attendance. MOCA’s Medical Education Program Manager, Kathy McGovern, hosted a MOCA exhibit to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and to introduce MOCA’s mission and services to the attendees.    

As Kathy would tell you, “It was a great opportunity to meet so many practicing PAs from across the state who were curious about MOCA: What is it? What does it provide? How can others contact you? All the conference attendees who stopped by the exhibit were happy to learn about the good work MOCA does and each left with several brochures and cards to pass on to their colleagues.”   

In this Teal Together blog post, Kathy gives us some insight on MOCA’s medical education program.

What is a PA?

A physician assistant (PA) is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional that practices on a healthcare team with physicians and other providers.  PAs take medical histories, conduct medical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, develop treatment plans, counsel on preventive care, assist in surgery, write prescriptions, and make rounds in hospitals.

Why is it important for MOCA to reach out to the PAs?

In 2011, the Minnesota Department of Health reported that that 1,512 licensed PAs work in Minnesota, and the number of physician assistants practicing in Minnesota increases every year. In 2011, approximately 54% practiced in clinics, so it is important that PAs are aware of ovarian cancer symptoms, and the importance of consulting a gynecologic oncologist if ovarian cancer is suspected.

It’s also important that the PAs caring for ovarian cancer patients in clinics and hospitals are familiar with MOCA’s wide variety of services for women, and their families and care providers.

Does MOCA offer education about ovarian cancer to PAs as part of their graduate programs?  

In 2011, 21% of the PAs practicing in MN were educated in state. For many years, Augsburg was the one institution of higher learning in Minnesota with a graduate program for PAs. In the last few years, both St. Kate’s and Bethel have added graduate programs, and in the next few years several more MN institutions will add PA graduate programs. As part of MOCA’s Survivors Teaching Students (STS) program, ovarian cancer survivors present their stories along with the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer to the graduate PA students at both Augsburg and St. Kate’s, and soon Bethel students will be offered the same education.