GAPA Summer 2017 Conference

July 10 – 14, 2017

We invite you to join us July 10-14 in beautiful Hilton Head Island, SC for the 2017 Summer Conference! Check back often for event updates.



Download the Attendee Brochure »

Conference Schedule »

Meet the Speakers »

Track Descriptions »

Hotel & Area Info »

CME Information:
This program has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 69.00 AAPA Category 1 CME credits by the AAPA Review Panel. PAs should claim only those credits actually spent participating in the CME activity. This program was planned in accordance with AAPA CME Standards for Live Programs and for Commercial Support of Live Programs.

NURSE PRACTITIONERS: According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center, you are now permitted to earn and file CE credits for programs accredited by the AAPA. For more information, please visit


2017 Summer Conference Schedule

 * = non-CME session 

Monday, July 10

Early Bird On-Site Registration (10am – 4pm)
Optional workshops only today
Breakfast and lunch are on your own.

8:00 AM – 5:30 PM WORKSHOP: Board Review (Bielinski)
8:00 AM – 10:30 AM WORKSHOP: Slit Lamp (Gordon)
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Student Track (Lunch on your own)
11:30 AM – 2:30 PM WORKSHOP: Crash Course in Clinical Skills (Gordon)
This workshop has reached max capacity.  Please sign up for the additional session on Wednesday, 3 – 6 PM
12:00 – 5:00 PM WORKSHOP: ACLS (Fullard)
1:00 PM Student Challenge Bowl
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM WORKSHOP: Joint Injections (Vacala)
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM WORKSHOP: Suturing & Wound Techniques (Gordon)
This workshop has reached max capacity.
6:00 PM Volleyball Tournament (followed by Student Social on pool deck)
Poster Presentation Set-up

Tuesday, July 11

Emergency Medicine Track – presented by John Bielinski, MS, PA-C

6:00 AM Registration
7:00 AM Opioid- Induced Constipation: The Science, Patient Burden, and a Prescription Treatment Approach (Sponsored by AstraZeneca)*
8:00 AM Emergency Medicine Track: Laboratory Medicine & Clinical Application – Part 1
9:00 AM Emergency Medicine Track: Laboratory Medicine & Clinical Application – Part 2
9:45 AM Welcome from the President / Opening Ceremony
10:00 AM Emergency Medicine Track: Pulmonary Medicine & CXR Interpretation – Part 1 Exhibits Set-up
11:00 AM Emergency Medicine Track: Pulmonary Medicine & CXR Interpretation – Part 2
11:45 AM Break
12:00 PM Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management of Overactive Bladder (Sponsored by Astellas)*
1:00 PM State of the Academy & Awards Ceremony (President John Filson and Special Guest)
1:30 PM Emergency Medicine Track: Chest Pain & EKG / ECG Interpretation – Part 1
2:30 PM Emergency Medicine Track: Common Emergency Medicine Complaints – Part 1
3:30 PM Emergency Medicine Track: Common Emergency Medicine Complaints – Part 2  5:30 pm Sandcastle Building Contest

Wednesday, July 12

Orthopedics/Sports Medicine Track – presented by Mary Vacala, ATC, PA-C, MSPAS, DFAAPA


Dermatology Track– presented by Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C

6:30 AM Registration
7:00 AM A Patient-Centered Approach to Help Awaken a Transformation for Adults With T2DM (Sponsored by Janssen)*
8:00 AM Ortho/Sports Med Track: Sprains & Strains…Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Punt Them – Mary Vacala, ATC, PA-C, MSPAS, DFAAPA Dermatology Track: Derm101: Recognizing Common Skin Conditions – Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C
9:00 AM Ortho/Sports Med Track: Salter Harris Fractures: Do These Lil’ Guys Sprain Or Break? Mary Vacala, ATC, PA-C, MSPAS, DFAAPA Dermatology Track: Derm Potpourri: Don’t Miss This Spot; Psoriasis – More Than Just a Skin Disease; Acne – Recognizing Antibiotic Failure; Rosacea – New Treatment Options – Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Annual  Blood Drive
10:00 AM Ortho/Sports Med Track: Do I Evaluate The Shoulder Or Neck? – Mary Vacala, ATC, PA-C, MSPAS, DFAAPA Dermatology Track: Pediatric Dermatology: Atopic Dermatitis & More – Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C
11:00 AM Exclusive Exhibit Hall Break
12:00 PM Clinical Insights on Taltz® ( Sponsored by Lilly)*
1:00 PM Ortho/Sports Med Track: MSK Ultrasound Guided Procedure Practice Injection Workshop- Mary Vacala, ATC, PA-C, MSPAS, DFAAPA Dermatology Track: Derm Procedures 101 – Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C
2:00 PM Ortho/Sports Med Track: Lower Extremity Evaluation Workshop – Mary Vacala, ATC, PA-C, MSPAS, DFAAPA Dermatology Track: What’s Hot in Aesthetics: Microneedling, PRP, Kybella, Dermal Fillers & Neuromodulators – Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C
3:00 PM Ortho/Sports Med Track: Emerging Techniques in Orthopedics (Stem Cell and PRP) – Mary Vacala, ATC, PA-C, MSPAS, DFAAPA Dermatology Track: Grow Hair Again: Non-surgical Hair Restoration with PRP – Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM 3:00 – 5:00 pm Poster Presentation Viewing

3:00 – 6:00 pm WORKSHOP: Crash Course in Clinical Skills (Gordon)

4:00 – 6:00 pm WORKSHOP: Procedure & Practice Injection Workshop*  (Vacala and Calvin Arbor, PA-C)


Thursday, July 13

Women’s Health Track – presented by Mimi Secor, DNP, FNP-BC, NCMP, FAANP


Cardiology Track – presented by Kevin Rebeck, PA-C

6:30 AM Registration/Breakfast
7:00 AM Community-Acquired Bacterial Pneumonia: Is There Anything New? Steve Vacalis, DO
8:00 AM Cardiovascular Track: JNC-8 Hypertension Guidelines: Are You Protecting Your Patient Population from Stroke, MI & CHF Exacerbations? Kevin Rebeck, PA-C Women’s Health Track: Women’s Health Guidelines Update: Breast Cancer, Osteoporosis, Gyn Exams & Much More . . . Everything You’re Itching to Know! Mimi Secor, DNP, FNP-BC, NCMP, FAANP
9:00 AM Cardiovascular Track: Deep Venous Thrombosis & Pulmonary Embolus: Plot Against the Clot! Kevin Rebeck, PA-C Women’s Health Track: STI Update: New CDC Guidelines Focus on the Female: Record High Rates -Mimi Secor, DNP, FNP-BC, NCMP, FAANP
10:00 AM Cardiovascular Track: Acute Vascular Disease & Women: A Time for a Change – Kevin Rebeck, PA-C Women’s Health Track: Contraceptive Update: New CDC 2017 Guidelines Save Lives – Mimi Secor, DNP, FNP-BC, NCMP, FAANP
11:00 AM Exclusive Exhibit Hall Break
12:00 PM Optimizing Treatment to Improve Outcomes: Implementing the New Guideline for Managing Heart Failure With Reduced Injection Fraction (Systolic HF) (Sponsored by Novartis)*
1:00 PM Cardiovascular Track: Basic ECG Interpretation – Part 1 – Kevin Rebeck, PA-C Women’s Health Track: Gyn Exam Update: The Elusive Cervix & Beyond – Mimi Secor, DNP, FNP-BC, NCMP, FAANP Golf Tournament
2:00 PM Cardiovascular Track: Basic ECG Interpretation – Part 2 – Kevin Rebeck, PA-C Women’s Health Track: GYN Speculum Exam: Managing Challenges & Abnormal Findings – Demonstration – Mimi Secor, DNP, FNP-BC, NCMP, FAANP
3:00 PM Cardiovascular Track: Vascular Imaging: How to Choose What & When – Kevin Rebeck, PA-C Women’s Health Track: GYN Bimanual Exam: Fibroids, Ovarian Cysts, Ectopic Pregnancy & More -Mimi Secor, DNP, FNP-BC, NCMP, FAANP
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM WORKSHOP: Suturing & Wound Techniques (Gordon)

Friday, July 14

It’s All in the Blood Track – presented by Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA

6:30 AM Registration/Breakfast  5k Fun Run
7:00 AM “It’ s All in the Blood” Track: Anemia: Too Low, No Go – Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA 7:45 am Annual Board Meeting
8:00 AM “It’ s All in the Blood” Track: Coagulation Conundrums – Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA
9:00 AM “It’ s All in the Blood” Track: Lab Enigmas: Case Reviews – Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA
10:00 AM “It’ s All in the Blood” Track: Take the Pain out of Pain Management – Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA
11:00 AM Closing Session – Update from NCCPA: It’s Not Just About the PANRE – Greg Thomas, MPH
12:00 PM Conference Adjourns


Meet the 2017 Conference Speakers


rishabellomolrRisha Bellomo, PA-C, MPAS (Presenting Dermatology Track)
Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C has over 20 years of healthcare experience. She graduated with High Honors from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Chemistry and received her Master’s Degree through the University of Florida’s College of Medicine in Physician Assistants Studies.  Risha has developed multiple speaker programs and educational slide presentations, including psoriasis, rosacea, acne, patient educational seminars, cosmetic training seminars, photodynamic therapy workshops, and regional educational dinners for dermatology Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners.  She is a national speaker and enjoys her time traveling around the United States educating her peers, company employees, and the consumer. She has been published numerous times in Skin & Aging, The Journal of Dermatology Physician Assistants, The Dermatologist, Physician Assistant Clinics, and Advanced for NPs and PAs.  Risha was named Woman of the Year 2010/2011 by the National Association of Professional Women.


jbielinskilrJohn Bielinski, MS, PA-C (Presenting ER Track)
John is hailed as one of the greatest presenters in the country. With his unique active style and easy to follow presentation, attendees have reported learning more in one day from him than an entire year in the classroom!  He earned a master’s degree in family and emergency medicine and is a national lecturer on emergency medicine and extraordinary patient care. His experience not only includes years of hospitalist/intensive care coverage, but he has also run a rural emergency department for nine years autonomously, having cared for hundreds of cardiac arrest and critically ill patients. John has lectured for over 10 years teaching PA students at two PA schools in Buffalo, NY, as well as instruction of paramedics/ nurses on advanced cardiac life support.


Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA (Presenting “It’ s All in the Blood” Track)
Allan is a 1979 graduate of the Emory PA program. He was Program Coordinator, and Physician Assistant at the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Grady Health System. Allan has co-authored a patient guide book on sickle cell disease and trait for the general public titled Hope and Destiny, a Patient and Parents guide to Sickle Cell Disease distributed by Hilton Publishing in its fourth edition in 2016. He’s the editor of the monthly sickle cell e-newsletter that reaches over 5,000 people worldwide, is co-author of Overcoming Pain from Hilton Publishing, published in September 2006, and author of Evidence Based Medicine for PDAs: A Guide for Practice; published by Bartlett and Jones March 2008.  Allan received the Paragon Teacher of the Year Award from the AAPA, the SAAPA Presidents award, the Dean’s Teaching Award – Emory University School of Medicine, and the GAPA Circle of Honor Award.  He is currently didactic faculty and director of admissions at the Emory University School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program.


kevinrebecklrKevin Rebeck, PA-C (Presenting Cardiovascular Track)
Following graduation from the University of California, Kevin completed his two-year Cardiology fellowship. He is currently practicing in Norfolk, Virginia with the vascular transplant surgery team. Kevin has extensive experience in both basic and clinical research with applications in Cardiology, Interventional Radiology, and Vascular surgery. He has been on the AAPA Diversity Committee, the National High Blood Pressure Education Program, as well as the AAPA Liaison to the National Institute of Health and the co-author of the JNC-7 Hypertension Guidelines. He has 18 years of experience in mentoring students from numerous PA programs instilling the importance of the scientific method, as well as continuing a strong, hands-on philosophical view on patient care & education.


mimisecorlrMimi Secor, MS, Med, FNP, FAANP (Presenting Women’s Health Track)
Mimi is a nurse practitioner, national speaker and consultant. She has worked for 36 years as a Nurse Practitioner specializing in women’s health and is currently working at Newton Wellesley ObGyn in Newton, Massachusetts.  Mimi is a visiting scholar at Boston College Graduate School of Nursing and guest lecturer at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. She has published extensively, including her 2010 co-authored textbook, Advanced Health Assessment of Women; Skills and Procedures, and her newly released 2012 co-authored textbook, Fast Facts About the Gynecologic Exam for Nurse Practitioners: Conducting the GYN Exam in a Nutshell.

Mimi has years of media experience including radio host on ReachMD and she has also been a guest on Good Morning America, interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and many others. She has received several awards, including the 2011 Inspiration in Women’s Health Award- Honorable Mention, from the Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, and most recently, the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (MCNP).


maryvacalalrMary Vacala, PA-C, ATC, MSPAS, DFAAPA (Presenting Orthopedics/Sport Medicine Track)
Practicing as a Physician Assistant in orthopedics sports medicine for 28 years, Mary Vacala resides in Savannah GA. She served as one of 3 medical coordinators and an athletic trainer in the Atlanta Olympic games in 1996. Mary has worked with the USA Olympic Committee since 1993. She was selected to the USA medical Team in 2000 and 2004 where she covered the Paralympic games in Sydney Australia and Athens Greece. In 2012, Mary was selected to work with the USA Men’s wheelchair basketball team. She has been a member of their gold medal Americas cup team, their Silver Medal World Championship team, and the 2016 Paralympics in Rio Brazil.  Mary has coordinated and designed several athletic training and sports medicine programs, and continues to serve as a mentor for several curriculum programs. She designed and served as department chair/program director of a Physician assistant program and continues to mentor student interns and shadowing students. Mary has a passion for the physically challenged patient and has co-authored a chapter on the Care of the Physically Challenged Patient in the book “Physician Assistant: A Guide to Clinical Practice”. She has numerous honors and her most recent includes The Hu. C and Avanelle Myers Award (awarded annually to an Alderson Broaddus College graduate).


Track and Session Descriptions

Emergency Medicine – John Bielinski, MS, PA-C

Laboratory Medicine & Clinical Application
This course will cover the one critical question you have to answer about anemia, the biggest error in the evaluation of hyponatremia, the single best predictor that your patient is going to die during your shift, the secrets of acidosis taught in medical school, the nine causes of sinus tachycardia you must learn – and the one that will BURN you!  Master the five players of liver function tests and how to decode blood clotting, platelets and clotting cascade.

Pulmonary Medicine & CXR Interpretation
Topics to be covered include general management of pulmonary patients, how to diagnosis the patient in respiratory acidosis, how to ID the decompensating pulmonary patient, understanding hypoxia verses hypercarbia, the four critical secrets to the pulmonary patient, the best system to evaluate a chest XRAY in medicine, congestive heart failure, handling an airway obstruction with “T.L.C.,” asthma and life-saving treatments, understanding the three radiographic presentations of pneumonia and fending off the grim reaper – mastering the pulmonary embolism.

Chest Pain & EKG/ECG Interpretation
Earn your black belt in “Medical-legal Jujitsu.” Learn the four secrets to sharpen your EKG skills, the 10 questions to a perfect medical history, and a deadly disorder that presents EXACTLY like bronchitis. Master the five deadly causes of chest pain and the “two safety nets” of EKG interpretation. Gain the respect of cardiologists by understanding the BEST way to identify ST segment elevation and the four tricks to recalling ST segment depression.

Common Emergency Medicine Complaints
Learn how to practice medicine like a Jedi Master. Topics include three key findings on the plain film abdominal XRAY; assessing an abdominal pain patient like a surgeon, diagnosing and understanding headaches, stroke symptoms, wound care and fevers. When is a stroke not a stroke? Differentiate between Otitis media and meningitis, identify the six most commonly missed fractures, master the New “PEA Pyramid” when playing “Resuscitation Idol” and cardiac pharmacology, from anti-hypertensives to ACLS meds.


Dermatology – Risha Bellomo, PA-C, MPAS

Does a rash look like every other rash and a bump look like every other bump? During this lecture you will learn to differentiate between common skin disorders and establish a treatment plan for these conditions.

Don’t miss – this spot will teach you how to recognize potentially life-threatening lesions.Did you realize that Psoriasis is more than a skin condition; it is a systemic inflammatory disease.  This lecture will take you on a journey through the life of a patient who suffers from Psoriasis.The specialty of dermatology prescribes more antibiotics than any other specialty practice and a large majority of these prescriptions comes from treating acne.  Learn how to recognize antibiotic failure, utilize topical medications appropriately, increase compliance, and when to refer for isotretinoin therapy.More than 16 million Americans have rosacea and current data has this genetic condition linked to an increase in gliomas and Parkinson’s disease.  This lecture will give you insight into the pathophysiology of rosacea and new drug development.

The ‘itch that rashes’; stubborn warts, molluscum contagiosum, and other common skin conditions and infections will be covered in this one-hour lecture.  Learn how to navigate through the atopic dermatitis patient and what’s on the horizon for treatment.  Set expectations on outcomes and treatments.  Learn how to make the pediatric patient comfortable and less fearful.

In this one-hour track you will get insight into the tools, equipment and procedures that are used daily in a dermatology practice.  Get inside tips and pearls on how to treat common conditions, do a shave and punch biopsy, and when to choose to not treat may be a better solution.

Interested in Cosmetic Dermatology?  Learn new techniques in dermal fillers and neuromodulators. Learn how to evaluate the cosmetic patient and set realistic expectations.  Double chin?  Well no more with Kybella.  Make your skin stronger, healthier, brighter and more tone with microneedling and PRP.

Are your patients concerned about genetic hair loss, but do not want surgery?  PRP is a natural way to restore hair growth by utilizing platelet rich plasma in high concentrations to induce the anagen phase of hair growth and revascularize the hair follicle.  Learn the science, protocol, and technique to a regaining a full head of hair.


Orthopedics / Sports Medicine – Mary Vacala, PA-C, ATC, MSPAS, DFAAPA

Sprains & Strains…Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Punt Them
When a joint has been forced past its normal range of movement, or a muscle tendon or ligament has been stressed or torn, a sprain, strain, or dislocation are often the end result. Participants will gain a basic knowledge in the mechanism of injury, epidemiology, recognition and treatment options for common sprains, strains and dislocations.

Salter Harris Fractures: Do These Lil’ Guys Sprain or Break?
Approximately 25-30% of all childhood injuries are growth plate fractures. This type of fracture requires prompt attention because of the growth plate’s importance in determining the future length and shape of the bone. If not treated properly, it could result in a limb that is crooked or unequal in length when compared to it’s opposite limb.

Do I Evaluate the Shoulder or Neck?
Pain felt in the shoulder area is often radicular symptoms coming from the neck. The nerves and muscles that arise from the cervical spine pass through the shoulder on their way down the arm. The nerves from the c-spine (Nerve Roots) also travel down the arm (via the Brachial Plexus).  Participants will gain a basic knowledge in understanding how to evaluate the cervical spine and the shoulder and will develop techniques in diagnosing shoulder and c-spine injuries.

Procedure & Practice Injection Workshop: A Hands-on Learning Experience
This workshop will discuss the anatomy of the knee and pathophysiology of osteoarthritis. The role of changing patient demographics and co-morbidities in osteoarthritis will be discussed in detail and the options for treatment will also be presented. The properties of hyaluronic acid will be discussed and the rationale for EUFLEXXA will be introduced. The hands-on EUFLEXXA Intra-Articular Knee Injection workshop will enable participants the opportunity to understand the techniques of injection.

Lower Extremity Evaluation Workshop
The ankle is the most commonly sprained joint in the body!  Ankle injuries are often thought of as sports injuries, but you don’t have to be an athlete or a “weekend warrior” to injure your ankle.  Ankle injuries are indiscriminate of age or occurrence.  Simple walking on an uneven surface or going down a curb can cause a painful debilitating sprain. The knee is the largest joint in the body, and one of the most easily injured. The knee is a complex joint with many structures, making it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. This workshop will help clinicians develop skills in evaluating the knee and ankle.

Emerging Techniques in Orthopedics
This lecture will discuss the new emerging research and basic science in the enhancement of the healing process of biologically compromised tissues.  PRP and stem cell bioactive factors will be discussed in detail. Participants will understand why growth factor concentration has been positioned as a potential benefit of PRP.  Various PRP preparation techniques and stem cell preparations will be presented and discussed during this lecture.


Women’s Health – Mimi Secor, MS, Med, FNP, FAANP

Women’s Health Guidelines Update: Breast Cancer, Osteoporosis, Gyn Exams & Much More . . . Everything You’re Itching to Know!
During this session, attendees will learn about the most current evidence based women’s health guidelines for clinical practice related to; cervical cancer screening, performing gynecologic exams, contraceptive prescribing, STI diagnosis and management, menopause management, and breast cancer and bone density screening. Relevant statistics, risk factors, screening guidelines, optimal diagnostic tool selection (what to do when) will be explained. Implementing the guidelines within primary care settings will be the focus of this session. Controversies and clinical conundrums will be explored and patient education will be emphasized throughout this session.

STI Update: New CDC Guidelines Focus on the Female: Record High Rates!
Explain the NEW 2015 CDC STI Treatment guidelines including current statistics, diagnostic screening recommendations (the specific test and indications for testing), best practice treatment guidelines including patient education and follow-up guidelines. Discuss the most important changes in the New Guidelines and the rationale for these changes. Selected STIs will be described (Herpes, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, PID, Sexual Assault, HPV, HIV) focusing on the female.

Contraceptive Update: New CDC 2016 Guidelines Save Lives!
Describe the New, HOT OFF THE PRESS, 2016 CDC Medical Eligibility Contraceptive (MEC) Guidelines including the most significant changes, numerical categories and definitions, and the CDC online and App resources. Explain key aspects of the handheld App.  Discuss examples of the New MEC Guidelines including MEC and SPR pertaining to various medical conditions and contraceptive methods to familiarize attendees with the clinical usefulness of these guidelines.

Gyn Exam Update: The Elusive Cervix and Beyond!
During this 3-hour session, attendees will learn about and be able to describe the current recommended guidelines for how often to perform gynecologic exams including specific components of the exam (when to do what) such as cervical cancer screening intervals. In addition, attendees will learn how to perform a routine exam step by step and how to manage a challenging exam (addressing common problems such as obesity, inability to locate the cervix, pain during the exam, menopause, etc) including strategies to manage these challenges. Suggested documentation will also be discussed.  Common normal and abnormal findings will also be described.

GYN Speculum Exam: Managing Challenges & Abnormal Findings – Demonstration
During this interactive session with a women’s health expert, the attendees will learn the “ins and outs” of the speculum insertion portion of the Gyn exam. This presentation will include a discussion of how to select a speculum including selecting the correct size and type of speculum.  Clinical pearls will be presented on how to insert and remove the speculum most efficiently and comfortably (for the patient). In addition, the optimal step by step technique for collecting a Pap smear and also vaginal/cervical STI tests will be discussed.

GYN Bimanual Exam: Fibroids, Ovarian Cysts, Ectopic Pregnancy & More
During this session you will learn how to refine your gyn exam bimanual exam skills. The optimal step by step procedure will be discussed including examination of the uterus, ovarias and rectovaginal portion of the exam. Clinical pearls will be reviewed and ways to manage challenges will also be discussed. Abnormalities such as uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy and other abnormalities will be reviewed including management and referral guidelines.


Cardiology – Kevin Rebeck, PA-C

JNC-8 Hypertension Guidelines: Are You Protecting Your Patient Population from Stroke, MI & CHF Exacerbations?
Hypertension is one of the biggest challenges in all of medicine. Our objectives will cover the evolution of hypertension up to present day JNC-8 guidelines.  They will be compared to other international recommendations in order to give a holistic viewpoint on how to make the safest decisions for your patient populations. We will also review secondary etiologies for uncontrolled hypertension, as well as non-pharmacologic treatments.

Deep Venous Thrombosis & Pulmonary Embolus: Plot Against the Clot!
VTE-Venous Thrombo Embolism is one of the leading causes of readmission to our hospitals in our healthcare system.  We’ll cover prevention as well as treatment of the simplest presentations of DVT to the most complex patients in the most life threatening presentation.  Also, we’ll review all current guidelines on anticoagulation, TPA, and catheter directed thrombolysis.  When completed, you’ll be plotting against the clot.

Acute Vascular Disease & Women: A Time for a Change
Open your eyes to the under-treated vascular population of women. Learn that there are gender differences in presentation, anatomy, interventions, and research in this poorly studied population. Help prepare yourself for the 21st Century to understand this underdiagnosed population so you are best prepared to make better decisions for more effective short and long term outcomes in your patient population.

Basic ECG Interpretation
Feel more comfortable looking at that rhythm strip or 12 Lead ECG the moment you pick one up!  Identify rate and rhythm in seconds, triage that MI or life threatening rhythm disturbance, and make that new diagnosis of Atrial Fib.  Review multiple case histories of different presentations and associated ECGs.  Don’t feel threatened by a simple ECG again!

Vascular Imaging: How to Choose What & When
Review multiple case presentations to identify when history and exam don’t give you enough information, and to make good decisions on how best to take care of your patient population.  Review costs and risks associated with current vascular imaging modalities.


It’s All in the Blood – Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA

Anemia: Too Low, No Go
Anemia is a common finding in primary care, as an estimated 3.5 million people in the United States have some form of the disease. Thus, it is important for clinicians to understand normal red blood cell and hemoglobin biochemistry, genetics, physiology and pathology. The universally available complete blood count and the reticulocyte count provide an efficient, cost-effective diagnostic tool. Along with conducting a thorough history, physical examination and common laboratory testing, primary care providers can identify the cause of anemia in most cases. Patients with unclear results or genetic causes require referral to a hematologist or further investigation and management.

Coagulation Conundrums
Increased bleeding and bruising are common complaints in primary care. Preoperative assessment of the clotting system is a very common task for primary care providers. A working knowledge of the clotting system is necessary for diagnostic work-up, laboratory interpretation, and treatment of common bleeding disorders. Hypercoagulable states can lead to MIs, DVTs, PEs and Thrombotic strokes. AFib is one of the most common reasons for anti-coagulation therapy. PAs need to know the common presentations, diagnostics and therapy for clotting issues.

Lab Enigmas – Case Reviews
The complete blood count (CBC) Complete Metabolic profile (CMP) and Urinalysis (UA) are the most common laboratory evaluations in primary care.  Primary care provider should recognize laboratory patterns that suggest the underlying diagnosis. Participants will be given case based lab results to interpret and each case will be discussed.

Take the Pain out of Pain Management
Acute and chronic pain is one of the most common reasons patients seek medical care. Opioid overdose is a major cause of death in the US and there is lack of evidence that they are effective in chronic pain syndromes.  Providers must have an approach to diagnose the cause of the pain and provide safe disease specific treatment options. Pain should be approached with a multimodal therapy plan that uses pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment options. Chronic pain management needs a multidisciplinary team approach to treat the whole patient.


Your Perfect Hilton Head Island Getaway is Waiting for You.

Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is known as the most family-friendly destination in the world. Offering an assortment of outdoor excursions and also named as one of the top ten family beaches in the country, the Island is the perfect selection for GAPA’s Summer 2017 Conference & Exhibition. There’s something marvelously different about the relaxed, warm island attitude found at Hilton Head Island. Just a few of the activities that are waiting for you are listed here. The Georgia Association of Physician Assistants welcomes you and your family to our 2017 Summer CME Convention & Exhibition. While you’re in Hilton Head with us, you’ll not only attain a superior education, but you’ll be able to have a little fun as well. Mark your calendars for the following social events, proudly hosted by GAPA.

Monday, July 10 • 1:00 PM
Come cheer on PA students from Augusta University, Emory University, Mercer University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (Georgia Campus),  and South University as they compete for the coveted trophy!

Tuesday, July 11 • 5:30 PM
Cost: FREE event
Showcase your skills – your sandcastle building skills – at GAPA’s newest family fun event. Hit the beach equipped with tools of the trade…plastic pails and shovels, plus lots of imagination. GAPA’s panel of “expert” judges will award some cool treats for your efforts.

Wednesday, July 12 • 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Take some time to help others during this annual event.

Thursday, July 13 • 1:00 PM
Cost: $100 per player
Don’t miss our annual Golf Tournament, this year at Robber’s Row. The entry fee for the four-person scramble is $100 per player, and includes green fees and cart. If players wish to select their own team, notify the tournament chair on-site. Spouses and guests are encouraged to participate.

Friday, July 14 • 6:30 AM
Cost: $25 per participant
Experience the beauty of sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean along this 3.1-mile beach course while helping raise funds for GAPA’s Political Action Committee. The entry fee includes a commemorative T-shirt. Please invite friends and family members to take part in this fun event.

Hotels, Local Attractions, City & Resort Activities

On a pristine stretch of sugar-white sand along the Atlantic Ocean lies the newly renovated Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa. Nourish your soul on the coast as you feel the warm ocean breezes, satisfy your shopping with unique boutiques and retailers nearby, or get on a bike and breathe in the area’s rich history and natural surroundings. And for the little ones, fun and friends await at Westin Kids Club®. The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa is the perfect place for your next family getaway.

Rooms for GAPA conference attendees begin at $255 a night. A $13 resort charge, 10% tax and a $1 tourism fee per night is not included in the rate. Call the Westin toll free at 800-937-8461 and mention that you will be attending the GAPA Summer 2017 Conference to receive special rates. Or, you may make your reservation online at  Make your reservation early as a sell-out is expected.

Reservation deadline is June 15, 2017 5:00 pm (EST)

Resort charge includes:

  • Shuttle to Port Royal Golf, Tennis and Shelter Cove Mall & Marina
  • 24 hour Access Westin Workout
  • Overnight Self-Parking
  • Wireless Internet in Lobby and Guest Rooms
  • Access and use of Westin Business Center

Summer will be here before you know it, so make plans now to spend time with your family enjoying Hilton Head Island this July. This area is synonymous with world-class golf and pristine beaches, and boasts some of the Southeast’s finest saltwater fishing, kayaking, birding, biking, hiking and sailing. Here’s a taste of what Hilton Head Island has to offer:

GOLF Home to 24 courses with fairways well suited to any level of player.

TENNIS Five major tennis centers boast more than 100 courts, for both public and resort use.

BIKING & TRAILS Nearly 80 miles of pathways and nature trails which pedestrians and cyclists may enjoy plus 12 miles of the world’s finest beach.

BOATING & WATER ACTIVITIES Popular tours include kayaking, dolphin watching, fishing charters, crabbing, dinner cruises, eco-tours and day trips to Savannah, Georgia.

KIDS’ ACTIVITIES Inspire your children’s creativity with shells and sandcastles as they frolic on the wide shores of Hilton Head Island beaches. Visit the newly remodeled Coastal Discovery Museum, which offers a butterfly pavilion, nature tours and cruises, as well as Island history and ecological programs. Make a trip to the picturesque Harbour Town Yacht Basin, climb the famous candy-striped lighthouse and savor a delicious ice cream cone.

NIGHTLIFE The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina offers Broadway musicals and classical performances, art exhibits and festivals year-round. The Jazz Corner specializes in jazz and blues, with a variety of artists performing weekly.

DINING More than 250 restaurants offer a little taste of everything from international cuisine to all-American fare like barbecue, steaks and home-style southern specialties.

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