GAPA Summer 2018 Conference

Live from The Rockies: GAPA’s 2018 Keynote speaker, Brad Nieder, MD, “The Healthy Humorist®”


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We invite you to join us July 15-19, 2018 in beautiful Sandestin, Florida for the 2018 Summer Conference! Check back often for event updates.



Or learn more about our Summer Conference:

Download the Conference Brochure »

Hotel & Area Info »

Summer Conference Schedule »

Sessions Descriptions »

Meet the Speakers »


If GAPA’s 2017 conference was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, our stock would have skyrocketed. Why? Because the satisfaction of our conference attendees has reached an all-time-high! The positive changes to our conferences, implemented last year, resulted in the following stats:

98% = conference met my goals/expectations
95% = presentations will help me in my practice
96% = variety of presentations were satisfactory

For our 2018 nationally attended event, you’re in for another HUGE treat. Here’s why:

Education. Our attendees LOVE our new format of “dive-deep tracks” — we’ll be continuing this winning approach. Our presenters are the crème de la crème — truly the best in their respective fields. We asked them for their full-throttle creativity, and trust me, they’ve risen to the challenge. We promise you’ll be engaged and entertained at the same time. And, of course our hands-on workshops sell out each year, so be sure to secure your spot early.

Destination. One of the country’s most premier summer beach destinations, the world-class Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort can’t be beat. I don’t know if it’s the seven miles of sugar-white sand beach, four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 113-slip marina, water sports, or fishing. Or, it could be the children’s programs, spas, shopping, and casual and fine dining restaurants. Whatever the reason, your peers and colleagues from all 50 states are flocking to this amazing Gulf of Mexico destination. As for me, I love it all!.

Relaxation. Rejuvenation. Recreation. Most of us work too many hours, are too stressed out, don’t have enough time for family, and don’t have enough chill time. Sound familiar? I challenge you to sign up right now (you’ll get the best price). Book your hotel and get the best room. Let’s laugh together during our keynote speaker. Let’s enjoy the finest CME available anywhere. Let’s chill on the beach with our family and friends.

What’s more, whether you’re a first time conference attendee or you’re “coming home” like hundreds who join us year after year, you’ll be treated like family. Hear that? The beach is calling…

Tim Dare, PA-C, 
President, Savannah, Georgia


Host Hotel: Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort
9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy W
Sandestin, FL 32550

To make your reservations, call 1.800.320.8115 or click here.

The Baytowne Conference Center in the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort will host GAPA’s 2018 Annual Summer conference & Exhibition.

GAPA has arranged for a discounted group rate at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort for its 2018 Summer CME Conference.  If you have not made your hotel reservations, we strongly encourage you to do so.  You can make your reservations by clicking here, by calling 1.800.320.8115 or by downloading this form and faxing it to: 850.267.8221. The room rates start at $213* per night, and to receive the discounted rate, you must contact the resort directly (discounted rates are not guaranteed through internet services or travel agencies).  GAPA´s Group Code is 22X6I3. GAPA’s discounted rate ends June 15, 2018.

Special rates apply before and after the conference – enjoy some extra leisure time!

*Please note that Skin, Bones, Hearts & Private Parts guests will receive a discounted resort fee of $10.00 plus 9% tax, per room, per night.  This discounted fee will be applied at check-in. Please be advised that your e-mail confirmations will still show the $25.00 fee as that is standard for all guests. Resort fee includes: complimentary resort transportation; two bicycles per unit for up to four hours of usage daily; fitness center usage; one hour per day of tennis court time (based on availability); one hour per day usage on either a canoe, kayak, or boogie board.


2018 Summer Conference Schedule

Pharmacology Credit denoted by Rx
*= Non-CME Session

Sunday, July 15

Sunday Workshop Registration (7:30 a.m.)
Early Bird On-Site Registration (10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Board Review (8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.; meals are on your own) (John Bielinski, PA-C) (Rx=2hr)
8:00 – 10:30 a.m. Workshop: Slit Lamp (Gordon)
8:00 – 11:00 a.m. Workshop: MSK Ultrasound (McGuigan)
11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Workshop: Crash Course in Clinical Skills (Gordon)
12:00 – 5:00 p.m. Workshop: ACLS (Fullard)
2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Workshop: Joint Injections (Vacala) (Rx=0.5hr)
2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Workshop: Chest X-rays (Wilson)
3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Workshop: Suturing & Wound Techniques (Gordon)
8:00 – 11:00 a.m. Poster Presentation Set-up

Monday, July 16 — Day One

The Essence of Medicine: From Fast Track to Critical Care Thinking
John Bielinski, MS, PA-C

6:00 a.m. Registration
7:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Urgent Care: Secrets of ID, Wound Care and Orthopedics (Rx=2hr)
9:45 a.m. Welcome from the President / Opening Ceremony
10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Effectiveness in Medicine: Patient Satisfaction/Medical Error Reduction & Influence
11:45 a.m. Break
12:00 p.m. Lunch & Learn
1:00 p.m. State of the Academy & Awards Ceremony
1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Advanced Case Studies in Medicine (Rx=2 hr)

Monday Student Activities:

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Student Track (breakfast provided; lunch is on your own)
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Student Challenge Bowl
6:00 p.m. Volleyball Tournament on the Beach (followed by Student Social)

Tuesday, July 17 — Day Two

Snap, Crackle, or Pop?  Hands, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
Scott Frischknecht, PA-C, DFAAPA
Mary Vacala,
Sheila Sander Fulcher, RN, MSN, ANP-BC

Managing Metabolic Mayhem
Christine Kessler, MN, CNS, ANP, BC-ADM, CDTC, FAANP

6:30 a.m. Registration
7:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Snap, Crackle, or Pop? Hands, Shoulders, Knees & Toes: What in the Shoulder is Going on in There? (Frischknecht)
NEW! Managing Metabolic Mayhem: Diabetes Medication Update (Rx=1hr)
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Annual Blood Drive
9:00 a.m. Snap, Crackle, or Pop? Hands, Shoulders, Knees & Toes: What We Need to Know About Knees (Frischknecht)
NEW! Managing Metabolic Mayhem: The Pocket Endocrinology: When to “Play” and When to “Punt” (Rx=.3hr)
10:00 a.m. Dr. Brad’s Keynote: “Laughter is the Best Medicine”
11:00 a.m. Exclusive Exhibit Hall Break
12:00 p.m. Lunch & Learn
1:00 p.m. Snap, Crackle, or Pop? Hands, Shoulders, Knees & Toes: You Can’t Shrug Off This Exam  – (Hands-On) Examination of the Shoulder Made Simple (Vacala) (Rx=.5hr)
NEW! Managing Metabolic Mayhem: Untangling Thyroid Conundrums (Rx=.8hr)
2:00 p.m. Snap, Crackle, or Pop? Hands, Shoulders, Knees & Toes: You’ll Get a Kick out of This Exam  – (Hands-On) Examination of the Knee (Vacala) (Rx=.5hr)
NEW! Managing Metabolic Mayhem: Weighing in on Obesity Management (Rx=.4hr)
3:00 p.m.  Snap, Crackle, or Pop? Hands, Shoulders, Knees & Toes: All Hands on Deck…Hands Down  – (Hands-on) Evaluation of the Hand and Wrist (Fulcher)
NEW! Managing Metabolic Mayhem: The Entero-endocrine System and Chronic Health (Rx=.4hr)

Wednesday, July 18 — Day Three

50 Shades of Grey: The Grey Areas of Cardiology and How Not to Get “Tied Up”in Them
Jennifer Carlquist, PA-C

Derm 2018: Making Dermatology Great Again
Jason Cheyney, MPAS, PA-C

6:30 a.m. Registration
7:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:00 a.m. 50 Shades of Grey: The Grey Areas of Cardiology and How Not to Get “Tied Up” in Them: 12 Lead EKG Demystified
Derm 2018: Making Dermatology Great Again: So, You Want To Be A Derm Rock Star?! (Rx=.25hr)
9:00 a.m. 50 Shades of Grey: The Grey Areas of Cardiology and How Not to Get “Tied Up” in Them: Young People Don’t Have Heart Disease – Or Do They?
Derm 2018: Making Dermatology Great Again: Pimple Popping Made Easy (Rx=.5hr)
10:00 a.m. 50 Shades of Grey: The Grey Areas of Cardiology and How Not to Get “Tied Up” in Them: The PA’s Guide To Cardiac Bartending (Rx=1hr)
Derm 2018: Making Dermatology Great Again: Hey Doc, What’s Up With My Scaly Red Scalp? Part 1 (Rx=.25hr)
11:00 a.m. Exclusive Exhibit Hall Break / Poster Presentation
12:00 p.m. Lunch & Learn
1:00 p.m. Annual Golf Tournament
1:00 p.m. 50 Shades of Grey: The Grey Areas of Cardiology and How Not to Get “Tied Up” in Them: How Much Should I Worry About this EKG?
Derm 2018: Making Dermatology Great Again: Hey Doc, What’s Up With My Scaly Red Scalp? Part 2 (Rx=.25hr)
2:00 p.m. 50 Shades of Grey: The Grey Areas of Cardiology and How Not to Get “Tied Up” in Them: Hot Topic: How To Really Prevent Cardiac Disease – The hidden risk factors and how to spot them
Derm 2018: Making Dermatology Great Again: I Love The Sun Part 1 (Rx=.75hr)
 3:00 p.m. Derm 2018: Making Dermatology Great Again: I Love The Sun Part 2 (Rx=.75hr)

Thursday, July 19 — Day Four

Knocking Your Noggin: What’s in Your Toolbox
Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA

6:30 a.m. 5k Fun Run/Walk
6:30 a.m. Registration
7:00 a.m. Breakfast
7:45 a.m. Annual Board of Directors Meeting
8:00 a.m. Sickle Cell & Thalassemia Management
9:00 a.m. Best Medical Apps for Your Smartphone
10:00 a.m. How to Give Bad News the Good Way
11:00 a.m. A Mnemonic Approach to the Medical History
12:00 p.m. Conference Adjourns


2018 Summer Conference Session Descriptions


Keynote Speaker: Brad Nieder, MD, “The Healthy Humorist®”

“LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE” Dr. Brad Nieder’s signature keynote —“Laughter is the Best Medicine”— is funny! The healthcare humor will tickle your funny bone and have you laughing. “The Healthy Humorist” has been known to skewer such topics as healthcare lingo, diet plans, pharmaceutical ads, medical marijuana and scrubs. He’s even been known to break into song!

Not just your standard comedy show, though, the program is uplifting, too. You may find yourself committing to lightening up and laughing more. Or to adopting a new healthy habit.

It’s also educational… but not in a boring way. You’ll laugh as you learn why laughter really is good medicine… for combating stress, feeling better and living longer. And Dr. Brad always dispenses some wellness advice, too, in an entertaining manner unlike any other doctor you’ve encountered.

So that’s it in a nutshell: a funny doctor who delivers healthcare comedy, an inspiring message and valuable information. You’ll be feeling better in no time!


Day 1 — The Essence of Medicine: From Fast Track to Critical Care Thinking
John Bielinski, MS, PA-C

Urgent Care — Secrets of ID, Wound Care and Orthopedics This program involves the delivery of immediate medical care for the treatment of acute illness and injury. This course will focus on timely and practical issues involving urgent care medicine. This session will provide best practices for use in an outpatient clinical setting. We will cover infectious disease, wound care, orthopedics, and more.

Effectiveness in Medicine: Patient Satisfaction/Medical Error Reduction & Influence Understanding how we think prevents errors. When the patients like you, everything is better. Learn secrets of error reduction and extraordinary bedside manner. We are in a service industry, like it or not. Extraordinary bedside manner is essential to patient rapport and, therefore, overall medical care. This lecture will explore how to optimize the patient experience. Also, thinking is critical in how we go into a room. We need to understand our biases to limit exposure to medical errors. In a case study based curriculum, we will explore the common cognitive biases that lead to medical errors.

Advanced Case Studies in Medicine Critical thinking is key to caring for complicated patients. Critical thinking comes from intuition. Intuition not only comes from experience, but mindful education. This program is a case-based program utilizing audience response units. You will be broken into groups of two or three to answer questions that are then projected for evaluation. This is a way to learn intuition within an academic lecture.


Day 2 — Snap, Crackle, or Pop? Hands, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
Scott Frischknecht, PA-C, DFAAPA
Sheila Sander Fulcher, FN, MSN, ANP-BC

What in the Shoulder is Going on in There? Shoulder disorders continue to be a common complaint of patients presenting to health care providers. These can be due to overuse, acute injuries, or chronic pain. An understanding of shoulder anatomy is paramount in making correct diagnoses. This presentation reviews the anatomy in a simple and straightforward way. Appropriate initial history questions are reviewed, and shoulder physical examination techniques are demonstrated. Fractures and other bony abnormalities are demonstrated with radiographs. Current treatments are explained and reviewed for each diagnosis. Indications for referral to an orthopedist are also described. Practitioners will be more confident in their ability to correctly diagnose and treat shoulder disorders.

What We Need to Know About Knees Who has not fallen and skinned their knees? Knees are easily and frequently injured. Complaints of knee pain are routinely seen in every health care setting. Important medical history questions, examination techniques, and review of radiographs, will be extensively covered. Knee anatomy is displayed and described in a simple and plain fashion. A reproducible and systematic approach to knee disorders allows providers to make correct diagnoses and institute timely treatment. Differences between intra and extraarticular problems, patellofemoral alignment issues, and acute injures are addressed and displayed. Providers will be better able to diagnose and effectively treat patients with knee complaints.

You Can’t Shrug Off This Exam  – (Hands-On) Examination of the Shoulder Made Simple Most problems in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Athletes are especially susceptible to shoulder problems. In athletes, shoulder problems can develop slowly through repetitive, intensive training routines. Blue-collar workers are susceptible to shoulder injuries similar to injuries that athletes sustain. Shoulder pain is one of the most common complaints that present to the clinic. Narrowing the differential diagnosis for the shoulder joint is a complex yet simple task. This lecture is designed to familiarize participants with evidence based physical exam techniques for the shoulder.

You’ll Get a Kick out of This Exam  – (Hands-On) Examination of the Knee Knee complaints continue to fill the clinics and emergency rooms. Clinicians must be able to formulate a differential diagnosis efficiently and effectively in order to expedite treatment options. At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to demonstrate the techniques and components of a thorough Orthopaedic history and physical evaluation.

All Hands on Deck…Hands Down  – (Hands-On) Evaluation of the Hand and Wrist Many mid level practitioners have never been taught basic joint injection and aspiration techniques. Although basic musculoskeletal anatomy has been taught, hands on application of the anatomy in aspirating and injecting joints has been limited with few opportunities to demonstrate hands on skills. At the conclusion, participants will feel confident with their skills in aspiration and joint injections.


Day 2 — Managing Metabolic Mayhem
Christine Kessler, MN, CNS, ANP, BC-ADM, CDTC, FAANP

Diabetes Medication Update New diabetes drugs have hit the market at a dizzying pace with new drug classes, new variants within class, new drug combinations along with conflicting MACE data and guidelines. Then there is cost. Managing diabetes can be a bit of a “head-slapper” for providers. This lively session aims to clear the treatment fog and provide attendees with a reality-based guide through the diabetes medication maze. Interactive patient cases will be utilized to highlight the use of new oral and injectable diabetes medications along with tandem use of older diabetes drugs to more safely and effectively help patients achieve desired glycemic goals. An added bonus will be a look at why cardiologists and nephrologists have become “endocrine groupies!”

The Pocket Endocrinology: When to “Play” and When to “Punt” The calcium looks high, the testosterone too low, and the prolactin is up and down. This patient has sudden hair loss, another is hirsute, and what is with that adrenal incidentaloma? What should you do with these findings and these patients? Should you refer to endocrinology in hopes the patient gets seen in 3 months? This session is your gift from those among the rare species of specialists—endocrinology. Attendees will receive specialist tips on the initial work up and intervention for commonly referred metabolic complaints and conditions (selected by endocrinologists) that may cause needless (or delayed) endocrinology consultations. It will also help you know when to treat and when to punt!

Untangling Thyroid Conundrums Thyroid disorders are one of the most frequently encountered endocrinopathies in outpatient clinical practice and often the most confusing. Conflicting thyroid management guidelines from endocrine associations and government agencies add to challenges already inherent in treating these patients. Controversies related to screening, treatment of elderly or pregnant patients, and the use of “natural” desiccated thyroid hormone are among these challenges, as well as puzzling thyroid laboratory data. Drawing upon personal decades of thyroid management practice, this lively session will use an interactive case study approach to address these challenges and help hone clinician skills treating hyper- and hypothyroid conditions, thyroiditis, and thyroid nodules. Reality-based tips from an endocrinology expert will provide attendees with highly useful “need to know” pearls to help manage and effectively treat these intriguing patients.

Weighing in on Obesity Management Over the past thirty years, America has become a “waistland.” With the increase in obesity comes a rise in over 200 associated complications, such as cancer, CV disease, diabetes, dementia and pain. Past interventions have failed. Why? For too long we have operated on the FALSE notion of obesity causation and pathology (adiposopathy)—that it just about and energy (intake & output) imbalance. Recent studies provide a new etiologic paradigm…the true nature of fat and the astonishing impact of the gut-brain-fat axis on appetite an energy metabolism. Understanding the bio-dynamic interactions between these organs is leading to more effective obesity prevention and intervention strategies. This intriguing session will explore the impact of altered gut-brain-fat interactions, gut flora and our DNA on appetite, energy metabolism, weight gain (loss & regain) and relate these to more effective weight loss strategies for IMMEDIATE use in clinical practice. Obesity is a disease and managing it is the future of health care.

The Entero-endocrine System and Chronic Health The past four decades has seen a staggering rise in obesity, autoimmune autism, food intolerances, psycho-social disorders. Why is this happening? Tantalizing new information about the entero-endocrine system, the gut-brain axis and the microbiome is refocusing prevention & intervention strategies for most metabolic disorders and shaping the new frontier in medicine. The fascinating session will explore the gut-brain-axis & the bioactivity of the microbiome related to immune, GI, metabolic, reproductive, psychological & cardiologic health through the life span. Attendees will learn reality-based strategies to promote a heathy microbiome & metabolic health and critically evaluate the effects of pro & prebiotics & selected diets for disease prevention & intervention.


Day 3 — 50 Shades of Grey: The Grey Areas of Cardiology and How Not to Get “Tied Up” in Them
Jennifer Carlquist, PA-C

12 Lead EKG Demystified In this course we will: review normal cardiac conduction, normal intervals and wave morphology, how to assess heart rate using the EKG and just a rhythm strip, limited basic rhythm interpretation, the PQRST model of EKG interpretation will be discussed, normal EKG review, trouble Shooting the EKG, to include artifact and 60 cycle interference.

Young People Don’t Have Heart Disease – Or Do They? Young people can have heart attacks. Case based review of ten patients that died or almost died and lived to tell about it. A retrospective review of these cases and how these near misses could have been prevented. Participants will walk through actual cases of cardiac arrest survivors, people who had near fatal myocardial infarctions with focus on how to prevent other patients from the same fate.

The PA’s Guide To Cardiac Bartending AF “cocktails” and treatment strategies, The Heart Failure “Martini” and how to adjust to taste, The “Cardiac Happy Meal” – post STEMI treatment regimen, common side effects of cardiac medications and how to spot them. We will also discuss strategies to combat AF and how to use the CHADS score to define risk.

How Much Should I Worry About this EKG? We are often faced with borderline EKG changes and faced to make decisions about what to do next. On symptomatic patients this is almost easier, but if they are not symptomatic, then the question becomes how much should we worry? Should send the patient to the ER, or refer them to cardiology. Participants will learn how non-specific T wave changes could be subtle ischemia that should be treated like a stemi. We will discuss how the T wave can be your biggest ally when sorting out ACS patients. Case-based discussions with real EKG and case follow through will be used to highlight various perils of non-specific changes.

Hot Topic: How To Really Prevent Cardiac Disease – The hidden risk factors and how to spot them Young people don’t have heart disease. That is what we were taught in school. So how do we explain 30 year olds having myocardial infarctions? Could there more to it than just bad luck? It turns out that there are several risk factors for heart disease and stroke that we can potentially identify early and reverse before they ever have their event – if we just know what to look for.

We know that “sitting is the new smoking” but we will discuss other risk factors like Polycystic ovarian syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis and lack of sleep. We will also review how stress and inflammation are the new “public enemies” for anyone of any age.

Day 3 — Derm 2018: Making Dermatology Great Again
Jason Cheyney, MPAS, PA-C

So, You Want To Be A Derm Rock Star?! This session is going to delve into the nuts and bolts of the more common dermatology diagnoses. Its focus is to refresh and reinforce what is going on in dermatology today and get you feeling much more confident about the skin problems you will see no matter your specialty. Not only will we discuss common diagnoses but also the treatments that will leave you looking like a superstar.

Pimple Popping Made Easy The most sought after treatments in dermatology or related to skin and complexion. This can be a very difficult area to navigate with the number of cosmeceuticals and prescription meds available today. We will take a look at what is the pathogenesis of acne and how to logically prescribe meds and make OTC recommendations. This is a must for anyone in the general medicine field.

Hey Doc, What’s Up With My Scaly Red Scalp? Part 1 & 2 Over 750,000 people in the US are plagued with psoriasis and the number is steadily growing. This has also led to a explosion of new prescription meds available for therapy. Come along for this educational ride and learn the fundamentals of the disease and how to effectively diagnose and treat.

I Love The Sun Part 1 & 2 This is going to be a 2-hour tour of the understanding of skin cancers and the appropriate procedures to secure the diagnosis. Procedures are a large part of dermatology. This course will not only explain the complexity of skin cancer but how to biopsy and treat if necessary. Come along for this fun filled ride and there will be no unexpected shipwrecks along the way. Sorry, there will be no visits from Ginger or MaryAnn either.


Day 4 — Knocking Your Noggin: What’s in Your Toolbox
Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA

Sickle Cell & Thalassemia Management According to the WHO, sickle cell disease and thalassemia are the most common genetic causes of anemia worldwide. Pain is the most common manifestation of sickle cell disease in addition to organ infarction, increased infections, anemia and stroke. The epidemiology, pathophysiology, laboratory diagnosis, and management will be discussed. Both sickle cell and thalassemia cause complications from chronic anemia and decreased hemoglobin production. Transfusions, iron overload chelation, stem cell transplants and gene therapy are management options.

Best Medical Apps for Your Smartphone Medical Apps have the potential to reduce medical errors, save clinician time looking up medical information, and improve evidence based medical care. Smart phones are the equivalent convenient bedside computers for reference. Active learning modalities are the most effective teaching tool for adult learners. Each patient encounter is a learning opportunity for practicing PAs using evidence based, point of care reference tools to actively learn every day in clinical practice. Several excellent apps are available to allow 2-minute look-ups with every patient throughout the clinical workflow. A method of lifelong learning using short information lookups at the bedside will be introduced.

How to Give Bad News the Good Way Clinician’s must deliver bad news to patients and family members on a daily basis. The patient/family receiver determines what is bad news so the clinician must be sensitive to deliver news with planning, compassion and empathy. Doing this correctly can improve patient and family emotional response, improve rapport, and reduce distress. Several methods to deliver information the best way will be demonstrated.

A Mnemonic Approach to the Medical History A complete medical history can determine the patient diagnosis in 70 – 80% of cases. Documentation of a complete history also improves the encounter coding for improved billing. A simple mnemonic approach will be presented to assist providers in completing a thorough and systematic history. A mnemonic approach to formulating a differential diagnosis for common patient presentations will be reviewed.


Meet the 2018 General Session Speakers


John Bielinski, MS, PA-C (Presenting The Essence of Medicine: From Fast Track to Critical Care Thinking)
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.


Jennifer Carlquist, PA-C (Presenting 50 Shades of Grey: The Grey Areas of Cardiology and How Not to Get “Tied Up” in Them)
Jennifer works full time in an interventional cardiology practice doing inpatient rounding and clinic medicine. She also works part time in three emergency rooms. Jennifer was one of the first 250 PAs to get her ER CAQ. She lectures nationally on EKGs and cardiology related topics, and has been published in JAAPA three times. She is one of five PA members appointed to the California state physician assistant board by Governor Jerry Brown. She has been a guest lecturer at UC Davis and Ketchum University on cardiology related topics. Jennifer started her career as a 911 paramedic and worked on the streets for 13 years. In 2015, she received an Excellence In Teaching award by the Monterey County EMS Service. She is also an artist specializing in heart related art and has been featured in the Californian Newspaper in Salinas California in September 2016.


Jason Cheyney, MPAS, PA-C (Presenting Derm 2018: Making Dermatology Great Again)
Mr. Cheyney, is a certified physician assistant at Dermatologic Surgery Specialists, in Macon Georgia. He has been with his current practice for 13 years since leaving the United States Air Force in 2003. After receiving his MPAS in 1999 from the University of Nebraska, School of Medicine in Lincoln, he spent 4 years as a physician assistant at the Dermatology Clinic, Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base, MD. Mr. Cheyney, has focused on psoriasis and has been a clinical investigator in several phase III and phase IV trials, studying therapies in psoriasis, rosacea, and acne. He has lectured extensively on psoriasis and is a group leader for the Mid-Georgia Support Group of the National Psoriasis Foundation.



Scott C. Frischknecht, PA-C, DFAAPA (Presenting Snap, Crackle, or Pop?  Hands, Shoulders, Knees & Toes)
Scott Frischknecht has been a full time practicing physician assistant for 34 years.  He was an honor graduate of the United States Army Physician Assistant Program in 1983.  Having worked in Orthopedics for the past 30 years, he has considerable experience in injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system.  Scott lectures every year at numerous continuing medical education conferences around the entire country. This includes the annual American Academy of Physician Assistants meeting for the past 25 years.  His popularity as a speaker is well known to anyone who has heard him speak.  He is known for his plain and practical approach.  Scott consistently provides simple and common sense “pearls” that can be readily incorporated into every day practice.  In addition to his full time job, Scott was a clinical instructor at the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program for 25 years, where he was named “Outstanding Instructor of the Year” no less than twelve times.  Appointed by the governor of the State of Utah, Scott served on the Utah Physician Assistant Licensing Board for 10 years; the final two as the Board Chair.  He is an Army Veteran having served 24 years of active and reserve time. This included the first gulf war. He volunteered for and served in several positions for the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Among his many awards include the “Lifetime Service Award” from the Utah Academy of Physician Assistants.


Christine Kessler, MN, CNS, ANP, BC-ADM, CDTC, FAANP (Presenting Managing Metabolic Mayhem)
Christine Kessler is an award-winning nurse practitioner, national/international speaker, author, and consultant specializing in Endocrinology and Metabolic Medicine. During her 44 years of nursing (37 years in advanced practice) she has held diverse roles in management, research, academia, and clinical practice; the latter as a critical care clinical specialist, ACNP and adult nurse practitioner. After 15 years as senior NP in a large, hospital-based endocrinology and metabolic clinic, Christine now focuses on providing diabetes and weight loss management, as well as general endocrine services to an underserved population in rural Virginia. Christine has received many clinical practice awards, among them the prestigious Outstanding Civilian Service Award, and the Coin of Excellent personally awarded by the Surgeon General for having the highest patient satisfaction rating of all health care providers in the Army WORLDWIDE. Christine co-chairs the popular Metabolic & Endocrine Disease Summit and is a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.


Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA (Presenting Knocking Your Noggin: What is in Your Toolbox)
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 it’s fourth edition in 2016. He is the editor of the monthly sickle cell e-newsletter that reaches over 5,000 people worldwide.

He is co-author of Overcoming Pain from Hilton Publishing published in September 2006 – second edition in 2017, and author of Evidence Based Medicine for PDAs: A Guide for Practice Published by Bartlett and Jones March 2008. In 2002 Allan received the, Paragon Teacher of the Year Award from the AAPA, and the SAAPA Presidents award in May 2007. Dean’s Teaching Award – Emory University School of Medicine and the GAPA – Circle of Honor Award in 2015. He is currently didactic faculty and director of admissions at the Emory University School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program. He teaches first year PA students how do the medical history, hematology, pain management and business issues.


Sheila Sanders Fulcher, RN MSN ANP-BC (Presenting Snap, Crackle, or Pop?  Hands, Shoulders, Knees & Toes)
Sheila practices as a nurse practitioner at Chatham Orthopedic Associates in Savannah, GA, where she has been for nearly 8 years, specializing in orthopedic hand surgery. She completed her Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) as an adult nurse practitioner at Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2010. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1995 and an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) from Armstrong State College in 1991. She had close to 20 years of nursing experience, working in many facets of nursing in a variety of clinical areas, including L&D, Neonatal ICU, Surgery, and adult ICU, as well as management, before completing her nurse practitioner program. Through her vast nursing experience she found a love for orthopedic surgery, which brought her to the Chatham Orthopedic Associates team.

Sheila is active in her professional organizations. She is a member of the national leadership honour society, Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the honour society of nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP), as well as the APRN Council of Coastal Georgia.

Sheila’s most important roles are wife and mother. She has been married to Michael Anthony Fulcher for over 26 years. Together they have 2 children Colin Seth and Christina Teresa.



maryvacalalrMary Vacala, PA-C, ATC, MSPAS, DFAAPA(Presenting Snap, Crackle, or Pop?  Hands, Shoulders, Knees & Toes)
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).


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