Physician Assistant Erin Hunt has been named the 2023 PA of the Year for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion by the New York State Society of Physician Assistants this week.
“This is a well-earned honor. Since joining Northwell Health-GoHealth in 2016, Erin has been an advocate for patients and team members,” said Dr. Neal Shipley, medical director, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care, which has several locations in New York City, including three in Brooklyn.
“She is both visionary and practical in her efforts to improve the health and wellness of our New York communities,” Shipley said.
Hunt is the advanced practitioner lead for 18 Northwell Health-GoHealth locations, overseeing approximately 90 advanced care practitioners and numerous special projects. Through her projects, Hunt has advocated for equitable and inclusive care for LGBTQ+ patients and their families and has initiated a grant-supported program to help expand access to care for individuals at high risk for contracting HIV.
Hunt and her team have focused on improving patient care for all by increasing team member education around LGBTQ+ care, including strengthening and disseminating non-discrimination policies and encouraging proper use of pronouns and intake questions during patient visits.
When the COVID-19 pandemic decreased patients’ access to HIV screening, Hunt worked to bring free rapid HIV screening to 14 Northwell Health-GoHealth centers in New York City neighborhoods where HIV prevalence is high. Through this pilot program, her team hopes to petition New York State Legislation to include urgent care providers in the state’s HIV screening mandate. If successful, this would increase access to care for millions of patients state-wide.
Hunt is also a leader in improving clinical quality. She led Northwell Health-GoHealth providers in her region to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing practices to record lows of less than 3% (as compared to 30% in outpatient settings nationwide).
“Improving our antibiotic stewardship requires careful consideration of each patient’s needs and if antibiotic treatment is right for them. Then, we need to determine the right drug, dose and duration for treatment,” said Hunt. “The downstream benefits of antibiotic stewardship include improved patient outcomes, fewer drug reactions and side effects, a lower chance of creating new superbugs, and lower costs at the pharmacy for patients.”
NYSSPA’s annual membership awards are presented to exemplary physician assistants and physician advocates who are dedicated to advancing the PA profession. Award winners will be recognized on Nov. 11, 2023, at a ceremony during the organization’s annual conference.