Kathy Pedersen Grant

           Be the change you want to see            in your community



Kathy J. Pedersen Grant to Promote Equitable Care:

2022 Funding Cycle is Closed. The next cycle will open in 2023.


Kathy Pedersen, MPAS, PA-C, has dedicated her career to promoting equitable health care for all. This annual, competitive grant equips PAs with up to $5,000 for projects that strive to follow in those footsteps.

The grant supports innovative, actionable strategies that directly and sustainably impact public health needs. Grant applicants are challenged to design programs that bridge system gaps, foster cultural humility, advocate for the underserved, or creatively develop resources for those in need.

Certified PAs, PA organizations (accredited educational programs and constituent organizations), and PA students may apply. 

View the 2022 Grant Guidelines.

Have questions about applying?   Check out our virtual Grant Overview and Q&A session for answers and inspiration. 

The Kathy J. Pedersen Grant to Promote Equitable Care is administered and supported by the nccPA Health Foundation through a generous donation from Don and Kathy Pedersen.


The Albany Medical Center Department of Emergency Medicine EMmersion Boot Camp Experience: Encouraging URiM Students to Pursue a Career in Medicine

2021 Grant Recipient 

Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the PA and health professions is crucial for equitable health care.  Grant recipients Pamela Y. Young, PA-C, Sara DeSanctis, MHS, PA-C, and Jennifer Pelesz, PA-C are striving to bridge the gap between the population served in the medical center and the demographic makeup of its providers.  Through Albany Medical Center’s Department of Emergency Medicine, Young will lead a multidisciplinary team to encourage urban high school students who have been historically underrepresented in medicine (URiM) to explore health profession careers.  The project will include an intensive, onsite three-day boot camp, allowing students to shadow providers in two trauma centers, participate in workshops, learn basic first aid skills, and participate in a career fair.  After this pilot, students will be invited to return in subsequent years for a more immersive experience, and longitudinal tracking will assess the project’s impact as a model for the future.  The Health Foundation is glad to support this PA-led, multidisciplinary project and its efforts to promote the PA profession and health careers to historically underrepresented youth.

Hands of Esperanza Clinic Fund

2021 Grant Recipient 

Providing for underserved communities in developing countries is vital to reducing health disparities and improving population health.  Grantee Daniel Hendricks, PA-C, and Hands of Esperanza will use funding to help establish a permanent, multidisciplinary clinic that will provide sustainable, year-round care for patients of all ages.  The new clinic will partner with local organizations, including AVIS/Living to Serve, to provide part of the clinic’s staff.  The clinic will focus on primary and gynecological care as well as provide a surgical suite that will offer general surgery services.  Hands of Esperanza’s goal is to serve 5,000 patients annually in the clinic.  The clinic’s infrastructure will also foster continuity of care, provide space for patient education, support implementation of public health strategies, and provide a base for additional volunteer groups to make an impact in the region.  The Health Foundation is glad to support this PA-led nonprofit and its inspiring efforts to improve health for an underserved population. 

Overcoming Therapeutic Inertia Using an Intensive Interprofessional Approach to Improve Glycemic Control Among Rural Patients with Diabetes‚Äč 

2021 Grant Recipient 

Removing barriers for diabetes is essential to achieve glycemic control goals.  Grant recipient Patricia Stevenson, PA-C, and Hudson Headwaters Health Network (HHHN) are striving to change the paradigm of diabetes care with a team-based care model.  Stevenson will lead an interprofessional team that includes a clinical pharmacist, care manager, diabetes educator, dietician, and a member from HHHN’s population health team.  The PA-led project will leverage education on overcoming therapeutic inertia as a springboard for developing intensive, personalized, and educational programs for high-risk patients with uncontrolled diabetes at a rural health center in New York.  The project aims to remove transportation barriers through telehealth, pharmacy and medication barriers through enrollment in assistance programs, and food insecurity barriers through education and group classes on how to make the best choices.  Data will be collected regarding glycemic control, patient’s diabetes distress, and provider confidence related to diabetes care.  Ultimately, the goal is for this pilot program to establish a model for diabetes control that can be replicated at other health centers.  The Health Foundation is glad to support this PA-led, interprofessional project as well as its efforts to positively impact health for those with diabetes.  

Columbia Valley Community Health Promotes Equitable Electronic Communication 

2020 Grant Recipient 

Barriers to health care can negatively impact individual and population health, and the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented barriers to equitable care.  Grant recipient Sarah Bowman, PA-C, Michelle Navarro, PMP, and Columbia Valley Community Health (CVCH) in Washington State strived to make virtual services available to all CVCH patients. Center data found CVCH’s Hispanic population relied on in-person care even though they were among the hardest hit by COVID-19.  Thus, the Center sought to improve access by promoting their bilingual patient portal and telehealth services and by removing barriers for their Hispanic patients. 

To better understand the barriers, they collected feedback from Hispanic patients on why Spanish-speaking patients may not utilize electronic communication.  Then, they launched an awareness campaign to educate patients about the patient portal and tele-health services, including four bilingual explanatory and how-to videos.  From January to March 2021, they saw a measurable increase in the number of new Hispanic patients registering on their portal as well as completing a telehealth visit.  The project not only impacted patients but also the PAs, providers, and staff at CVCH.  They learned more about the inequalities of telehealth based on a patient's language and how to break down barriers to care for marginalized populations.  Finally, the project uncovered new opportunities to leverage the Center’s EHR to encourage portal utilization and generated an increased awareness of the impact of patient literacy.  The Center plans to continue its efforts in expanding access to tele-health services among its Hispanic patient population.  The Health Foundation is pleased to support efforts that foster equitable care.

SAFE Follow-up Care and Testing Program

2020 Grant Recipient 

The sexual assault patient population is often underserved and overlooked.  Founded and led by Kimberly Hurst, PA-C, Avalon Healing Center is a Detroit-based nonprofit that provides free services and compassionate, trauma-informed care to survivors of sexual assault in Michigan.  Hurst’s project expanded the Center's programming to incorporate follow-up medical services, specifically STI testing, to improve a survivor’s mental and physical health in the chaotic and traumatic aftermath of sexual assault, reaching more than 150 patients and far surpassing her goal.  The Center serves primarily low income and uninsured patients; and services are inclusive of all ages and people, including men, women, transgendered/intersex, other identifying persons, and children.  In addition, the project increased awareness and accessibility for follow-up care and reduced stigma through community networking with 58 local partners and contacts.   The Center’s overarching goal remains to transform the landscape of social justice for sexual assault survivors and to develop new models of care that support all stages of healing for patients of sexual violence.  The Health Foundation is glad to support this PA-led nonprofit and its inspiring efforts to serve sexual assault victims. 

Roanoke 250: Training 250 Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aiders in Roanoke, VA

2019 Grant Recipient

Mental health is equally as important as physical health. Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare and Radford University Carilion PA student Hwal Lee (principal investigator, Certified PA as of 2020) were chosen to provide Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to community members in Roanoke, VA. MHFA is an eight-hour course that teaches individuals how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hwal modified the project half-way through to provide the MHFA trainings virtually.  They surpassed their goal providing MHFA training to 252 adult and youth community members. The training sessions included RUC’s incoming PA cohort, several for those working with adults and youths, and one for those living in rural areas. In addition, the project collected data about participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding the training, which will document its impact and enhance subsequent trainings. The Health Foundation is pleased to support efforts to improve mental health in the community as well as foster models where PA-led community education can positively impact health.

Group photos from MHFA trainings with the Radford University PA cohort (top left), nursing students (bottom left), two community trainings (middle), and two virtual trainings (right). 

Oral Health Treatment for the Children of Santiago

2018 Grant Recipient

Poor oral health can have a profound impact on general health and the quality of a person's life. Mayanza, Inc, is a PA-led non-profit organization devoted to caring for underserved Mayan populations in Guatemala. Since 2016, Mayanza has engaged PAs, students, a local community health educator, and others to provide oral health training and education to the community. With this grant, Mayanza’s efforts were expanded through interprofessional partnerships with local dentists. Together, Mayanza and its partners ensure a sustainable, culturally-competent, health initiative intended to improve overall health and quality of life in the community. 

Check out more about the impact of Mayanza's efforts in the video below.

Healing Health Literacy at Two Urban Low-Income Clinics

2017 Grant Recipient

Limited health literacy is a modifiable barrier to high quality care. Marquette University PA Program implemented and evaluated the health literacy curriculum “HEAL” at two urban clinics serving low-income adults in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. PA faculty provided instruction and counseling on how to communicate about symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment; how to interpret medical terminology and forms; and when to seek care at an emergency room. Forty course participants demonstrated gains in confidence of topic knowledge, although results were not statistically significant. However, all participants reported a high degree of satisfaction; and changes in health behaviors were observed. The project also impacted Marquette PA students and the medical staff at both clinics, more than 150 individuals, by increasing their awareness and providing training on how to address low health literacy among their patients. The grantees presented this initiative at the Wisconsin Academy of PAs conference, AAPA additional events, and in Metropolitan University Journal.

Texting for Mental Health: A Case Management Approach

2016 Grant Recipient

Cynthia Bunde, MPAS, PA-C, of the Pocatello Free Clinic received the inaugural grant. Her unique Cynthia Bunde Photopilot program used texting as the foundation for case management for uninsured patients with mental health diagnoses. The PA-led program also utilized interdisciplinary partnerships including PA, pharmacy, and social work students to deliver services in an underserved setting. Participants completed questionnaires regarding mood rating and perceived ability to manage their condition prior to and after completing a 12-week intervention. No-show rate was also evaluated. For all three indicators, participants showed a statistically significant improvement in factors related to mental health.

Read more about her efforts here.