The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) will present a check for more than $30,000 to the Suicide Prevention Center, part of the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center in Culver City, California. The presentation will occur during the AAPA House of Delegates awards ceremony at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, part of the AAPA Annual Physician Assistant Conference, which will convene May 26-31 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Each year, AAPA members support a philanthropic project in the host city of AAPA's annual conference. The purpose of the Host City Prevention Campaign is to show support for the host city and to encourage philanthropy among the PA profession. The focus of the AAPA 2001 Host City Prevention Campaign is adolescent and teen mental health and suicide prevention.

The Suicide Prevention Center has been in existence for 42 years and was the first 24-hour suicide prevention crisis line in the United States. The center provides suicide prevention programs and services to the local community, the state of California, and the nation. The center has developed a suicide prevention curriculum for junior high and high school classrooms that is distributed free of charge to schools across the country and also has established the Trevor Hotline, the only nationally available toll-free suicide prevention service for gay and lesbian teens.

Additionally, AAPA, in conjunction with the Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross, will sponsor a blood donation drive located outside Exhibit Hall E of the Anaheim Convention Center on Tuesday, May 29, and Wednesday, May 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The blood drive is part of AAPA's Project 2000, a nationwide drive to donate blood in the name of the PA profession. Advances in surgical procedures, increased organ transplants, sophisticated cancer therapies, and other medical advances have skyrocketed the need for blood and blood product reserves.

Physician assistants are licensed health professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physicians. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in rural and urban settings. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and prescribe medications.

There are approximately 40,000 PAs in the United States and the federal services, and AAPA is the only national organization to represent physician assistants in all medical and surgical specialties. Founded in 1968, the Academy works to promote quality, cost-effective health care, and the professional and personal growth of PAs. For more information about the Academy and the PA profession, visit the AAPA's Web site.