The American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) will focus on mental health challenges among clinicians and patients at AAPA 2022, starting with a discussion by gymnast Simone Biles and journalist Jane Pauley on their mental health journeys on Saturday, May 21. Pauley and Biles will discuss the stigmas associated with mental health and finding strength in vulnerability, self-reflection, courage, and determination. The AAPA also will launch a new National Health Priority initiative on mental health at AAPA 2022 to be held in person May 21 to 25 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Their decisions to publicly share their mental health challenges demonstrate tremendous leadership and pave a pathway to normalizing conversations about mental health,” AAPA President and Chair of the Board Jennifer M. Orozco, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA, said. Simone Biles prioritized her mental health during the 2021 Olympics. Jane Pauley described in her 2004 memoir that she’d experienced “low-grade depression” and been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 50 years.

“Simone and Jane plan to speak about some of their experiences with their own mental health and how they’re working to advocate for mental health care for everyone. The conversation between Pauley and Biles will not only help PAs navigate their own intense professional and personal pressures but will shed additional light on the patient experience of mental health. With Pauley and Biles as examples, PAs will be better equipped to serve their patients, with an increased appreciation for mental health as part of whole patient health,” Orozco said.


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The AAPA 2022 conference will include the following sessions and events focused on addressing patient and provider mental health:

  • An event with the Indianapolis Colts to explore lessons learned from the organization’s Kicking the Stigma initiative
  • symposium on implementing change to improve the well-being of clinicians and clinical students
  • mental health CME symposium covering several common mental health issues such as trauma-informed care, bipolar disorder, and alcohol use disorder, to provide tools and resources to clinicians
  • ePosters Special Session on well-being
  • A mindfulness lounge open daily offering an introduction to mindfulness, a sensory experience, and guided mediation

The conference will take place May 21 to 25 in Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information about AAPA 2022, go to aapa.org/conference.

This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor