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Augsburg PA Program Director Receives Honor From AAPA

Vanessa Bester EdD, PA-CVanessa Bester, EdD. PA-C has been recognized as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA). Dr. Bester is the program director for Augsburg University PA Program and has been a PA for 19 years. Vanessa earned this national recognition due to her outstanding contributions to patient care and the PA profession. 


After graduating from the University of Florida’s PA Program, Vanessa began her career as a National Health Service Corps scholar, working in HIV primary care and infectious diseases.  Her life and career have led her to practice in pulmonary, critical care, emergency medicine, cardiology, military medicine in Germany (as a civilian provider), and most recently, back to community health care in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Vanessa completed her doctorate in education in 2019 from Northeastern University. 


Vanessa advocates for Minnesota PAs as a Director-at-Large for the Minnesota Academy of PAs and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.  She is also actively involved at the national level with Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work serving on the PA Education Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Mission Advancement Commission, and has been awarded several research grants and a fellowship to further diversity in the PA profession. Above all, Vanessa is dedicated to furthering the mission of the Augsburg PA Program: to educate empathic, community-minded, and forward-thinking health care leaders to practice in primary care with a focus on underserved, underrepresented, and marginalized communities.


The Distinguished Fellow program was established by AAPA in 2007 to recognize the exceptional contributions of PAs to the profession through professional achievement, leadership, professional interaction, learning, and community service. After acceptance into the program, Distinguished Fellows continue to contribute to the work of AAPA and the PA profession. This distinction is earned by less than 2% of the entire AAPA membership.  


About AAPA


AAPA is the national membership organization for all PAs. PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. Learn more about the profession at and engage through FacebookLinkedInInstagram, and Twitter.