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Advocacy in Action

Physician Associates for Latino Health sends their thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the recent senseless act at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

We support the initiative of bringing awareness to change that was recently posted by the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter.

PALH strongly urges you to contact your legislators to enact H.R. 7961 bill or the SAVE Act as law. The Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act (H.R. 7961) provides federal protections for health care workers who experience violence and intimidation in their workplace settings. The SAVE Act would provide protections similar to those in the federal statute that criminalizes the assault and intimidation of aircraft and airport workers.

On October 22, 2022, at 11:00 AM Dallas police responded to reports of an active shooting. The shooting took place in the “mother/baby” unit of the hospital, the health system said.

“The Methodist Health System Family is heartbroken at the loss of two of our beloved team members,” said a statement from the medical system’s executive leadership. “Our entire organization is grieving this unimaginable tragedy.”

Nestor Hernandez, 30, was in the building to attend the birth of his child, authorities said. After accusing his girlfriend of cheating, Hernandez began searching the closet and bathroom for somebody else who may have been in the room, the warrant states. The suspect produced a weapon from his pants and struck his girlfriend multiple times in the head, according to the warrant. Hernandez then sat on a couch and allegedly told his girlfriend that “we are both going to die today” and “whoever comes in this room is going to die with us,” the warrant states. Moments later, a hospital employee entered the room to provide services to the suspect’s girlfriend and the suspect stood up and fatally shot the employee. Another hospital employee and a Methodist Hospital System Police officer were in a hallway and heard the gunshot. The staff member looked inside the room and saw the first victim on the floor, according to the warrant. After entering the room, the second employee was also allegedly shot and killed by Hernandez.

Recent studies reported an increase in physical violence and verbal abuse against healthcare workers over the last two years.

Contact Your Legislators

These experiences impact the individual caregiver, who may suffer from both physical and psychological trauma, and they can also disrupt care when providers fear for their personal safety, are distracted by disruptive patients or family members, or are traumatized from prior violent interactions.

PAs for Latino Health believes healthcare workers and health systems should have the same legal protections.

The SAVE Act would ensure offenders are appropriately punished and continue to provide a safe environment in which we all deliver patient care.

Preferably, contact your state legislator through a direct call or email.

You can look up your state legislators via this Link

Our founder and current DEI/Strategic Alliances DAL Robert S. Smith, MS, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA (left) was able to connect with  Frank Ambriz (middle) and Elias Villarreal, Jr., DMSc, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA (right) at the PAEA conference after their talk “Admitting, Supporting and Graduating DACAmented PAs”. We look forward to supporting their mission and we would love to continue to engage and support other PA schools that are supporting our future Latinx PAs!

PALH at the AAPA Legislative and Advocacy Summit.

Legislative and Advocacy for all, let’s diminish healthcare inequity and improve access to all patients, especially underserved and minority communities. Our PALH Member Jennifer Mayer, DMSc, MPAS, PA-C (left), our PALH President Elect Paola Gonzalez, MPAS PA-C (middle) and our Executive Director Kent Prickett, MBA, CAE (right).


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About PALH

For nearly 30 years, Physician Associates For Latino Health (PALH) has been an officially recognized caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (Associates) (AAPA). The purpose of PALH is to render loyal and honest service to the medical profession and the public, to develop continuing medical or medically related education programs, and to promote the physician associate profession through the education of medical professionals and the general population. Furthermore, PALH strives to support the mission of the AAPA by increasing the diversity of the Academy. 

PALH is transitioning to use “physician associate” when possible, to reflect the 2021 AAPA House of Delegates resolution. PAs should continue to use “physician assistant” or “PA” as their official legal title in a professional capacity, particularly in clinical settings and with patients. For more information, please visit AAPA’s Title Change FAQs.

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