ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Jan. 24, 2018)—Today the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) announced a collaboration with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) to develop an educational program that will award a Certificate in Primary Care Obesity Management to PAs and NPs. The program supports PAs and NPs who are interested in expanding care to patients affected by obesity.
“As medical providers who interact with patients across all specialties, PAs are uniquely positioned to serve as leaders in obesity medicine. Patients affected by obesity are already benefitting from the high-quality care that PAs provide,” said L. Gail Curtis, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA. “Giving clinicians the tools they need to help curb the obesity epidemic has been one of AAPA’s priorities for several years. Through this program, PAs will have even more opportunities to lead the way and provide treatment to more patients with obesity.”
The program, which will launch this spring, will require a cohort of PAs and NPs to participate in quarterly webinars and two practice-related projects supported by coaches. Participants will also be able to interact with other learners and subject matter experts through an online community portal.
“AANP is committed to providing educational activities and practice resources to support the clinical practice of NPs caring for patients battling with the chronic disease of obesity,” said AANP President Joyce Knestrick, PhD, CRNP, FAANP. “Today NPs are on the front lines of the obesity epidemic and with this additional education and training will have even more resources to partner with patients to reach their health care goals through assessing, diagnosing, educating, and counseling patients on effective strategies for prevention and management of obesity.”
Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly 40 percent of adults and 19 percent of youth are affected by obesity. Additionally, estimated national costs for conditions stemming from obesity range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion, and patients diagnosed with obesity contribute to 42 percent more in healthcare spending than those who are not affected by obesity.
“PAs and NPs are in a key position to care for patients with obesity and really make an impact,” said Wendy Scinta, MD, MS, FOMA, president of OMA. “This program will equip them with critical skills to implement evidence-based medical treatments in practice.”
Last year, AAPA developed Obesity Leadership Edge (OLE), an online curriculum that provides PAs with the skills they need to effectively communicate about weight with their patients. Participating PAs must have completed OLE and be in attendance at AAPA Conference 2018 to be eligible to participate in the new program. AAPA also supported the formation of a Special Interest Group (SIG) in Obesity Medicine, a resource for PAs who wish to connect with other PAs interested in obesity medicine.
PAs and NPs who complete the program can continue their obesity treatment education and further develop their skills through OMA’s educational offerings, which include two live conferences per year, the online Obesity Medicine Academy, and other on-demand learning options. Practitioners who fulfill certain educational credit requirements may also apply to earn OMA’s Certificate of Advanced Education in Obesity Medicine.
In December of 2017 AANP initiated an Obesity Specialty Practice Group (SPG) designed as a professional development resource for NPs treating patients with obesity. The online forum is an interactive platform for discussion, networking and collaboration for providers caring for patients with obesity. In March 2018, AANP will release Obesity Education for the Primary Care NP, an accredited online multi-module curriculum addressing the core concepts of obesity management and a pre-requisite for NPs attending the obesity management workshop at the AANP National Conference 2018.
“We are excited to partner with AAPA and AANP on this joint initiative and look forward to the launch of this exceptional program,” said Claudia Randall, MBA, executive director of OMA. “This will provide NPs and PAs in all three organizations with robust fundamental education on how to diagnose and treat obesity in a clinical setting.”
Funding for the program is made possible through an independent, educational grant from Novo Nordisk.