2018 Summer Conference 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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