By MAJ Amelia M. Duran-Stanton, LTC Robert Heath and LTC Amy Jackson
In May, PAs in the uniformed services gathered in San Antonio for AAPA Conference 2016 to earn continuing medical education (CME) as well as network with fellow service members and PA colleagues. During the conference, we proudly joined forces to show our civilian PA colleagues and students the richness of military PA service. In addition, we rose to new challenges.
The Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) students competed in the National Medical Challenge Bowl for the first time (IPAP is the largest PA program in the U.S., graduating more than 200 students annually), more than 80 PA programs took part in the high-profile event. The military presence at AAPA 2016 was felt in other ways, such as the Veterans Caucus Memorial Ceremony, a moving event that was followed by a reception to raise funds for veterans who are PA students.
As always the conference featured continuing medical education (CME) opportunities to help attendees learn evidence-based medicine as practiced by military and civilian providers. Some of the Army PAs attended programs to prepare for the Physician Assistant National Recertification Exam (PANRE), while others focused on improving their current clinical and educational practices, or improving their business acumen.
A mentorship dinner at San Antonio’s Down on Grayson provided Army PAs with a relaxed outdoor atmosphere to build fellowship and learn about current challenges and opportunities. We shared insight on leadership as well as academic, research and clinical positions.
Overall, the AAPA Conference was a unique opportunity for PA fellowship, mentorship, and continuing education. It was a time to meet and be reacquainted with present and past PAs, while proudly representing our profession as military PAs. In addition to earning much needed CME hours, the conference provided information about AAPA’s constituent organizations (COs). The COs are comprised of state and federal chapters, specialty organizations, caucuses and special interest groups. Federal chapters like the Society of Army Physician Assistants (SAPA) and AAPA are critical to the profession. They work on our behalf to ensure our rights as clinical providers.
Recognition is due for several service members whose conference attendance exemplifies the military contributions to this year’s event.
- Maj. Karen Salyars, U.S. Air Force, PA-C, an IPAP faculty member, helped coach IPAP’s Challenge Bowl team;
- CPT Paul Mochmer, U.S. Army, PA-C, an Army/Baylor Doctor of Science in Emergency Medicine resident, was a member of the color guard for the Memorial Ceremony;
- CPT Robyn Chalupa, U.S. Army, PA-C, IPAP Phase 2 clinical coordinator, presented the ePoster, “Physician Assistants in Orthopaedic Surgery”;
- LTC Dawn Orta, U.S. Army, PA-C, and MAJ Randolph “Scott” Harrison, U.S. Army, PA-C, participated at the exhibit hall recruiting booth;
- MAJ Vivien Guevara, U.S. Army, PA-C, an IPAP cardiology instructor, attended cardiology lectures to improve her knowledge;
- LTC David Hamilton, U.S. Army, PA-C, and CPT(P) Scott Fisher, U.S. Army, PA-C, visited the 3-day AAPA House of Delegate meeting;
- And MAJ Amelia Duran-Stanton, U.S. Army, PA-C, who attended the AAPA Distinguished Fellow reception.
About the authors:
MAJ Amelia M. Duran-Stanton is the deputy chief of the Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division at the U.S. Army Institute of Environmental Medicine. LTC Robert Heath is the commander of the Public Health Command District- Fort Gordon, which provides veterinary and food protection/defense support to Department of Defense installations. LTC Amy Jackson is battalion commander of the Academy Battalion (Provisional), Academy Brigade, Army Medical Department Center and School Health Readiness Center of Excellence.
Disclaimer: The views presented are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Defense, the United States Army, or the United States Army Medical Command.