GAPA Summer 2018 Conference

Save the Date!

More information to come in the months ahead!

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 the GAPA 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 visiting or by calling 1.800.320.8115. 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.

*Resort fee to be added of 12% of the pre-tax amount. 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.

Meet the 2018 Conference Speakers

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.


Jennifer Carlquist, PA-C
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
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.


Juliet DeCampos, MD
Bio to come.


Tony Fullard, PhD
Bio to come.


Jim Gordon, PA
Bio to come.


Christine Kessler, MN, CNS, ANP, BC-ADM, CDTC, FAANP
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 “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 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.


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).


Christy Wilson, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA
Christy Wilson is the director of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine Advanced Practice Providers for Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta Georgia. She has been practicing pulmonary medicine for over 15 years. She earned an undergraduate degree in health sciences and a master’s degree from Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. She regularly guest lectures for several PA programs including Emory University, Mercer University and PCOM. She was elected to the GAPA board in 2016 and has been in charge of the Student Affairs Committee for GAPA. In 2017 Christy became a Distinguished Fellow for AAPA and has been asked to speak at AAPA national conference for several years.

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