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What We Learned: Feedback from the Annual Conference Survey


At the conclusion of the 2023 OAPA Annual Conference, OAPA volunteer leaders and the executive director held a series of debrief meetings. The group celebrated another year of offering high quality educational programming for PAs and a positive networking experience for attendees, presenters, and exhibitors, but agreed that a fresh and innovative approach to planning 2024 was in order.

To better understand the needs of the OAPA community, surveys were developed for both the 2023 attendees and the non-attendee audience. The surveys were distributed via email and responses were gathered at the end of October. Approximately 20% of 2023 Annual Conference attendees responded, while the response rate for non-attending members was much lower (as to be expected) at about 3%. Despite the small sample size, valuable perspectives were collected.

Key findings from the survey results include:

  • Survey respondents support the Friday-Saturday pattern of the meeting, with Thursday gaining more votes than Sunday if the event were to be extended by a day.
  • September and October received approximately the same support as the preferred month for holding a fall conference.
  • Those who have attended one or more OAPA Annual Conferences reported valuing the opportunity to learn new material while receiving refreshers on older content, to make new contacts and hear what great things PAs in Ohio are doing, and to earn CME credit from knowledgeable speakers.
  • Suggested improvements for the OAPA Annual Conference include freshening up the event marketing, offering more variety in speakers and topics, transitioning to digital session evaluations, and providing content for virtual learning for those who cannot attend in person.
  • A majority of attendees have all or most of their conference attendance expenses covered by their employers, although about a quarter of respondents have no employer financial support for attendance.
  • When asked how many CMEs the conference should provide to make it worthwhile, answers were highly variable, although a majority agreed with something in the 15-21 hour range.
  • There was clear support for the conference to be located in central Ohio, although there was some interest in holding the event in the southwest or northeast areas of the state.
  • Respondents provided a helpful list of topics they would like to see OAPA cover and potential speakers.

The demographics of the respondents included:

  • A large majority of respondents were from the Fellow membership category.
  • For respondents who had attended the 2023 Annual Conference, 41% had attended 15 or more OAPA conferences, while 18% reported this being their first one. For those who had not attended the 2023 event, 41% of respondents had never attended an OAPA Annual Conference.
  • For those who attended in 2023, about one third were educators, a handful were students, and the remaining majority was split relatively evenly between PAs working in hospitals, physician offices, urgent care, and other practice environments, demonstrating that the conference attracts PAs in work settings across the industry.
  • There was good representation in the responses from PAs at all stages of their career, although a majority of respondents to the survey sent to those who did not attend in 2023 were in the approximate age range of 30-40.
  • Approximately one third of respondents from both survey groups live in central Ohio.
  • The respondents predominantly identified as female, and nearly all respondents reported their race/ethnicity as white.

OAPA appreciates all who took the time to complete the survey, which will help to inform 2024 Annual Conference planning. Additional feedback is always welcome at A save-the-date and other details for next fall’s conference will be shared when available.

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