Public Education Programs

The Tar Wars program is a fun and easy scripted one-hour tobacco education program operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians that you can volunteer to do at your local 4th or 5th grade class. It is best if the class size is no more than 30 for optimal interaction.


  1. Contact the school in which you want to present, speaking with a fourth or fifth-grade teacher (sometimes speaking with the school nurse or principal is also a way to get the ball rolling, especially if you know them). Ask the teacher to have students cut out advertisements about smoking prior to the presentation, and ask her to provide one drinking straw per student.
  2. Request a presentation from the state coordinator(s) at
  3. Review the material prior to the presentation.
  4. Have someone take photos for submission to the local newspaper and PSPA News. The local newspaper may be interested in covering the presentation or the optional poster contest in which the teacher can help coordinate.


Having a stroke screening is a nice service for your community especially during the month of May, stroke awareness month. It serves as a great way to educate the public on the profession through dialogue during the screening and through use of display tables, which can also outline the risk factors for stroke and warning signs of stroke. It also is a way to partner with your PA colleagues, in a time-efficient schedule.

The screening typically consists of a brief personal and family history, BP, and carotid artery auscultation. You can also arrange to have a pharmaceutical company fund a cholesterol screening at the same site.


  1. Decide where your event will take place and how many people you will potentially screen. If you are requesting space at a mall (it shouldn’t be too noisy for auscultation), you may screen twenty people an hour with 3-4 screeners, perhaps more people if at a busy health fair.
  2. Contact your local American Stroke Association office at 1-888-478-7653 or to obtain the screening forms you will use. They will be able to help publicize the event. These have several copies for the patient and for his or her provider. They will have easy to follow steps and distinct actions for levels of risk. You may want to have a reference list of local providers accepting new patients.
  3. Bring Up-Close brochures for adults and physician assistant coloring books (and crayons!) to occupy young children at a nearby table.
  4. Take pictures of your event and send to your newspaper and PSPA News.

Physician Assistant Week

Abby Jacobson, PA-C Former Chair of Public Education and Relations Chair
Most people know that October 6 is a special day for the PA profession. On this day in 1967, the first physician assistants graduated from Duke University. In commemoration of the beginning of the profession, many individual PAs host community activities and public information programs throughout the month of October. In 2004, the AAPA House of Delegates voted to change the traditional PA Day celebration to Physician Assistant Week, celebrated October 6-12. National Physician Assistant Week honors all PAs for the quality care they provide to millions of Americans.There’s no better way to honor the profession then to spread the word about PAs. We’ve all met doctors, nurses, patients, (even some of our own friends and family!) who don’t understand the PA concept. Consider organizing a public relations event in the month of October to help celebrate our profession. The AAPA and the PSPA have a plethora of projects and tools which can help you organize an event. All these tools are available on the PSPA website ( under public relations tools or the AAPA website ( under the members only section.

Consider organizing one of the following easy PR projects:

  • Set up a table at the hospital with information about PAs. The PSPA can provide brochures, posters, and articles. This can be set up in the main lobby, cafeteria, or physician lounge. PAs and or PA students may help you staff the table throughout the day.
  • Hang a poster or flyer about PAs in the physician lounge, patient waiting room, or elevators (posters and flyers also available through the PSPA).
  • Give a presentation about the physician-PA team during grand rounds. The PSPA has powerpoint presentations which you can use and will even send out a PA to help you when possible.
  • Contact your local newspaper or TV station to see if they’ll do a feature on PAs in your community.
  • Submit an article about PAs for the hospital newsletter. The PSPA and AAPA have shell articles that you can edit and then use.
  • Educate your friends and family about PAs by putting an article or blurb about PAs in your local community newsletter. Examples of this could be putting information in the next church newsletter or high school play program.
  • Organize a local blood drive. The AAPA has a step-by-step guide on how to do this. Always have materials available about PAs at any community service event possible.

There are literally hundreds of possible projects that you can do for PA day. The PSPA is here to support any project that you want to organize. Please contact the public relations and education committee chair.

If you do organize an event for PA week, please let us know! We would love to put your accomplishments in the PSPA newsletter.