GAPA Summer 2016 Conference

July 10-14, 2016 • Sandestin, FL

Host Property: Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
9300 Emerald Coast Parkway W
Miramar Beach, FL 32550

The GAPA Summer Conference will be held at the Baytowne Conference Center in the Grand Complex. This location offers conference guests the opportunity to be located within steps from the activities of the Village of Baytowne Wharf where happenings abound with street performers, concerts, festivals, and family-friendly attractions.

GAPA’s special conference rate of $224 is guaranteed only until Thursday, June 9, 2016 and it is possible the property will sell out before then. To receive this discount, you can book online at Please enter code: 22E2N4 to receive GAPA’s special discounted rate, or call Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort at 866.668.1948 and mention that you are a GAPA conference guest while making your reservation. Make your reservations early, as a sell-out is expected.

* Discounted rates are not available through travel agents or Internet services.


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CME Credits

PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS: This program has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 87.00 AAPA Category 1 CME credits by the PA Review Panel. PAs should claim only those hours actually spent participating in the CME activity. (Max available per attendee: 34 Category 1 CME Credits for General Sessions, and an addition 8 Category 1 CME Credits for Sunday workshops)

aapa_Cat1_CME_logoThis program was planned in accordance with AAPA’s 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

ATHLETIC TRAINERS: GAPA will offer continuing education for Certified Athletic Trainers. This is a great opportunity to obtain your CEU/CME if you are dual certified. In addition, a separate CEU certificate will be available for athletic trainers to submit to their own licensing and/or certification board. Please visit for detail.

Download Athletic Trainers CEU information »


Updated: 6/8/2016
* denotes Category 2 (non-cme) session
+ denotes Athletic Trainer Credit
# denotes Pharmacology Credit

Sunday, July 10

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Early Bird Onsite Registration
Optional Workshops
Breakfast and Lunch on own
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Student Track
5:00 PM Volleyball Tournament – Beachside

Monday, July 11

6:00 AM Breakfast / Registration
7:00 AM Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs in Healthcare: MRSA, VRE, ESBLs, C.Diff – Sohl
8:00 AM Emergency Medicine: What You See is Not Always What You Get – Atallah
8:45 AM Welcome from the President / Opening Ceremony
9:00 AM Blood Dyscrasias: Too High, Too Low, No Go – Platt
10:00 AM Opiods, Non-Opiods, and Schedule II: What Are Your Choices? – Martinelli #
11:00 AM

End of Life Care:  Making Sure Your Patient’s Wishes are Honored– Wilson

11:45 AM Break
12:00 PM NP/PA – Starting With the Patient: A Treatment Option for Adults with T2DM* 
1:00 PM State of the Academy and Awards Ceremony
1:30 PM Travel Health vs. Travel Medicine as A Specialty Field – Stallings
2:30 PM Leprosy in Exam Room Two: Treating A World of Disease in Your Clinic – Mattingly
3:30 PM Oh My Aching Back – Stanton
4:30 PM The Overcrowded Hospital and How to Fix It – Atallah
5:30 PM Ice Cream Social
5:30 PM Annual Student Medical Challenge Bowl
7:30 PM 7:30 – 8:30 pm Student Social

Tuesday, July 12

6:30 AM Breakfast / Registration
7:00 AM Opiod Prescribing: Safe Practice, Changing Lives – Judd #
9:00 AM Best Workup of Common Shoulder Complaints – Before MRI  – DeCampos +
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM Annual GAPA Blood Drive
10:00 AM Pediatric Orthopaedic Sports Injuries – DeCampos +
11:00 AM 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Exclusive Exhibit Hall Break
12:00 PM New Fitness Craze=New Injuries – Vacala +
1:00 PM Rheuminations: Using Case Studies to Understand Common Rheumatic Conditions – Smith #
2:00 PM PA Practice Act in Georgia: Do You Follow the Law? – Panel Discussion
3:00 PM The B Side of Skin Infections (2 hours) – Cheyney
 4:00 PM  Poster Presentations

Wednesday, July 13

6:30 AM Breakfast / Registration
7:00 AM Plot Against the Clot: New Guidelines on DVT Treatments – Rebeck #
8:00 AM Blood Pressure Issues in the Emergency Vascular Patient – Becker
9:00 AM Eating Disorders: Female Athletes Triad Syndrome – Gunder-McClary +
10:00 AM Peripheral Arterial Disease in the Diabetic Patient – Becker + #
11:00 AM 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Exclusive Exhibit Hall Break
12:00 PM Diagnosis and Evaluation of Chronic Hepatitis C Infection – Gunder-McClary
1:00 PM The Atrial Fibrillation Patient – Baeten
1:00 PM Golf Tournament
2:00 PM MI Treatment and Management Guidelines – Greene
3:00 PM Heart Failure: The Art of the Pump from Primary Care to Inpatient Management – Lucas
 4:00 PM Update from NCCPA: PI-CME, PANRE, and More – Thomas

Thursday, July 14

6:30 AM Breakfast / Registration
6:30 AM

7:45 AM

Annual 5k Fun Run/Walk

Annual GAPA Board Meeting

7:00 AM Acute Coronary Syndrome – Rebeck
8:00 AM Treatment Guidelines Update: Respiratory Tract Complaints and Treatment Options – Bryson
9:00 AM Common Eye Disorders: An Ophthalmology Review – McLaughlin
10:00 AM Alzheimers Disease is Not Just for Old Timers – Gunder-McClary #
11:00 AM JNC-8: Is It Great? – Elam #
12:00 PM Conference Adjourns

Workshop Descriptions

Sunday, July 10

8:00 – 11:00 AM Eye Exams ($90)
12:00 – 2:00 PM Documentation & Coding: Basic ($75)
12:00 – 5:00 PM ACLS Recertification ($145) +
1:00 – 4:00 PM Crash Course in Quick Clinical Skills ($125*)
2:30 – 4:30 PM Documentation & Coding: Advanced ($75)

Monday, July 11

7:00 – 10:00 AM Joint Injections & Aspirations ($90)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Orthopedic Exam: Shoulder and Elbow ($75) +
10:00 am – 12:00 pm The Booger Factory: How to Manage Allergic Rhinitis in Your Patients ($75)
1:30 – 5:30 PM Pediatric Advanced Life Support ($145) +

Tuesday, July 12

8:00 – 11:00 AM Basic Dermatology Procedures & Management of Common Skin Lesions ($105)
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Chest X-rays ($90) #
2:00 – 4:00 PM Orthopedic Exam: Knee and Ankle ($75) +
3:30 – 5:30 PM Imaging of the Spine with X-ray and MRI ($75)

Wednesday, July 13

7:00 – 9:00 AM Casting/Splinting ($75) +
8:00 – 11:00 AM Suturing & Wound Techniques ($125)
9:00 – 11:00 AM Advanced Techniques for Orthopedic Patients ($125) +

Thursday, July 14

8:00 – 11:00 AM Basic EKG & EKG 12 Lead Interpretation ($95)

ACLS Recertification
This course is a review course for those with a current ACLS course card. This workshop will cover the skills and didactic information necessary to treat a cardiac arrest patient. Participants will review various clinical applications.

Advanced Techniques for Orthopedic Patients
Hands on skills will be emphasized during this comprehensive orthopedic workshop. Basic to advanced skills will be covered enabling practitioners an opportunity to learn and perfect their skills. Individual instruction will be provided as well as lecture demonstration. Skills covered include; casting, splinting, intra-compartmental pressure monitor system, X-ray evaluation, techniques in dislocation relocation, ACL risk evaluation, and other hot topics.

Basic Dermatology Procedures & Management of Common Skin Lesions
Provide a broader range of services to your patients by understanding and learning basic dermatology procedures! This hands-on workshop provides participants an opportunity to identify basic skin lesions and learn procedures and treatment options.

Basic EKG & EKG 12 Lead Interpretation
For those that are comfortable with ECGs, the focus turns to the interpretation of a 12-Lead ECG. At the conclusion of this session you will be able to recognize a properly performed 12-Lead ECG; determine the mean QRS axis and state the common causes of axis deviation (LAD, RAD, IAD); describe 12-Lead ECG features of ischemia, injury, infraction; chamber enlargement, bundle branch blocks, hemi blocks, pericarditis, electrolyte and drug effects; plus interpret 3 (three) 12-Lead EKGs and identify the pathological condition causing the abnormality.

The Booger Factory: How to Manage Allergic Rhinitis in Your Patients
This workshop will assess the clinical findings, symptoms, and risk factors associated with the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis; consider recommendation for skin testing in patients with allergic rhinitis; and develop an optimal pharmacotherapeutic treatment regimen for a patient with allergic

Casting and Splinting is a ‘hands-on’ case-based lecture workshop with ‘hands-on’ practice. This course concentrates on common orthopedic conditions warranting the application of a splint and or cast. At the conclusion of this course individuals will improve their assessment and management skills in Orthopedic splinting and casting; identify ‘red flag’ patients, and increases confidence with important splinting/casting procedures; and understand the basic indications for various types of splints and cats, and when to best use each.

Chest X-Rays
Everything you always wanted to know about a CXR, but were afraid to ask! This hands-on workshop will provide the tools necessary for interpreting CXRs in a primary care setting. Review radiographic images along with brief case studies while expanding your knowledge of CXRs and making the appropriate diagnosis.

Crash Course in Quick Clinical Skills
Learn new clinical skills with an explanation demonstration workshop. Literally from head to toe, this workshop will cover a multitude of skills necessary for treating conditions encountered in the acute care setting. Skills such as fish hook removal, ring removal; body piercing jewelry removal, abscess/felon/paronychia drainage, central line placement, chest tube placement, lumbar puncture, and various nerve blocks will be covered in lecture. Equipment will be available to have hands-on practice of other skills (should time allow) but emphasis will be given to the skills most often requested in the past. Individual instruction will be provided and everyone will have the opportunity to practice on life-like models. Pearls and techniques of various clinical skills will be discussed.

Documentation & Coding: Advanced
This advanced workshop will enable participants an opportunity to learn the skills to identify elements required in documentation for coding and correctly document various levels of patient examination in the medical chart. This will be an interactive open discussion presentation.

Documentation & Coding: Basic
Learn basic skills that will help you identify key elements required in documentation for coding and correctly document various levels of patient examination in the medical chart.

Eye Exams
Sharpen your skills and master that mysterious slit lamp exam. This lecture workshop on the examination of the eye will instruct you in the correct examination of the eye utilizing the ophthalmoscope and slit lamp. Hands-on practice with the slit lamp will be provided. The all-important basic eye exam and eye pathology will be covered. What should you see with the Wood’s lamp? How do you flip an eyelid? Is it an abrasion or an ulcer? What constitutes an ophthalmic emergency? Attend this workshop to better understand these and many more eye-related topics.

Imaging of the Spine with X-Ray and MRI
This hands-on workshop will cover basic spine imaging and will provide you with the tools necessary for interpreting spine x-rays and MRI. By learning how to review radiographic and spine MRI images and brief case studies, you will be able expand your knowledge in making the appropriate differential diagnosis.

Orthopedic Exam: Knee and Ankle
Knee and Ankle 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.

Orthopedic Exam: Shoulder and Elbow
Shoulder and elbow pain are 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 and elbow.

Pediatric Advanced Life Support
This is a refresher course for those with a current PALS course card. The workshop covers the infant/child in respiratory failure, shock, or arrest. At the conclusion, participants will be proficient in their ability to recognize the infant or child at risk of cardiopulmonary arrest; resuscitate and stabilize infant/child in respiratory failure, shock, or arrest.

Suturing & Wound Techniques
All Participants will take home a new suture kit and material! Update your knowledge and practice suture skills. This workshop will cover various suture skills which include; simple interrupted, corner stitch, vertical/horizontal and running suture.

When Joint Injections are Appropriate & Beneficial
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.


2016 Conference Speakers

Dipti Anand, MD
Dr. Anand grew up in New Delhi, India and attended a British school.  She immigrated to the United Sates in 2001 to complete a residency in pathology at the University of Pennsylvania.  She also completed the dermatopathology fellowship at the University of Texas, Southwestern.  She joined SkinPath Solutions in 2011.  She is an expert in the diagnosis of diseases of the skin, hair, and nails.  In accordance with SkinPath’s efforts to give back to the community that has blessed us so much, she has been teaching dermatology residents and PA’s from all over the country since 2012.  Many PA’s have heard her lectures and attended her training courses and have given nothing but rave reviews.  She is married to Girish Anand, M.D. (Gastroenterology) and they have two children, Rohan and Rishab.

Hany Atallah, MD
Hany Y. Atallah, MD, is the Chief and Medical Director for Emergency Medicine of the Grady Health System. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.  His primary responsibility is for clinical service performance in the ED at Grady — inclusive of clinical outcomes, physician performance and professionalism.

James Becker, PA-C, MS, HsA
Jim Becker PA-C graduated from the Stony Brook University PA program in 1981 and entered the field of vascular and general  surgery in 1982.  He has lectured in the past at the PA programs for both Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia and has precepted students from every PA program in Georgia and several others from around the country.  He formally served as a Committee Chairperson and Board of Director for GAPA and also spoke about the expanding role of the Physician Assistant in vascular surgery at the annual conference for the Society of Vascular Surgery.  He enjoys the sport of fencing and says that there is no better cardiac workout than having someone trying to stab you with a sword.  When not in surgery or dodging a thrust from a saber he and his wife enjoy camping at state parks throughout the region. 

Davina Braselton, PA-C, MS
bio coming soon

Bill Bryson, PA-C
William (Bill) Bryson graduated from The Emory University Physician Assistant Program in 2003.  After graduation, he completed a six-month PA faculty development program and has taught at Emory since that time, lecturing on various topics, directing courses, and leading the PA Learning Society case-based curriculum.  He has practiced clinically in Family Medicine and General Internal Medicine for Emory Healthcare since 2004.  His clinical interests are patient-centered chronic disease management and counseling related to behavioral change.

Tim Dare, PA-C
Tim Dare has been a practicing Physician Assistant in the Savannah area for 14 years.His adventure begins at Mars Hill University in North Carolina where he graduated Cum Laude in the major of Biology (pre-med) in 1997. He was then enrolled in South University’s inaugural physician assistant class and graduated Cum Laude in 2000.After completing his physician assistant studies, he spent 4 years working in internal medicine and over the last 10 years has been working in allergy and immunology with Coastal Allergy and Asthma. In all areas of medicine that Tim has had the opportunity to practice, developing a relationship with his patients has been a passion that he feels leads to a healthy family environment and satisfied patients.Tim currently lives on Tybee Island with his wife Joan and daughter Grace. He spends most of his time with his family swimming, biking, and running. He has been competing in triathlons for the last 8 years and has recently had the fortunate opportunity to finish 2 IronMan Triathlons. He is also still in search of the perfect wave.

Lisa Davenport
Lisa began her studies earning a BS in Microbiology from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA.  She obtained her BS and Surgeon’s Assistant Certification from University of Alabama in Birmingham in 1982.  Having obtained her NCCPA with a special recognition in Surgery and her Alabama license, she worked in the Emergency Dept. of the Curtis Cooper Clinic in Birmingham, the indigent hospital for the county.

Once Lisa and her husband, Bill, began a family, moving and child care took precedent.  Lisa’s 3 children were born over the course of the following years and she was able to return to the practice of medicine in 2003, accepting a position with Medical College of Ga, providing healthcare in the state prison system.  Additional career advancement included work as a hospitalist, a Surgeon’s Assistant position in Southeast ENT/Facial Reconstructive Surgery, Adjunct Professor for the South PA Program, and a Sub Investigator for SouthEast Regional Research Group.  She has now (finally!) consolidated positions and  recently accepted a full time faculty position at South.

She is a fellow of the Georgia Association of Physician’s Assistants and the American Association of Physician Assistants.  She and Georgeanne Schopp, MS, LMFT were recently published twice in the Journal of American Association of Physician Assistants.  Their article, Breaking Bad News:  CommunicationSkills for Difficult Conversations, was voted one of the top ten CME articles of the year by the AAPA.

Additional experience includes years on the Memorial Medical Center of Savannah’s Ethics Board, membership of Christ Church, Savannah and a team member of the church Feastmakers.  As mentioned before, she is married, has three children, and assorted animals.

Kathy Dexter, PA-C
Kathy Holmes Dexter, MLS, MHA, MPA, PA-C, is an associate professor and joined the PA Department faculty in September 2010. She is a 2008 graduate of the MCG/GRU PA Program. Prior to becoming a PA, she was a healthcare administrator in federal facilities and private physician practices.

She grew up in Wichita, Kansas, and graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence where she met her husband Steve. She spent 22 years as an Army wife, living in Alabama, Missouri, Virginia, and Texas as well as in Germany. Despite the frequent moves, she earned a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in Health Administration as the second civilian to graduate from the U.S. Army-Baylor University Program. She taught undergraduate and graduate healthcare administration courses online and on-ground for the University of Phoenix from 2002 until 2008. She was CEO of Delphi Consulting, Inc., a healthcare consulting company. After becoming a physician assistant, she was a Neurology PA in private practice and later a Hospitalist PA at the GR Health Medical Center. She teaches the Neurology, Psychiatry and Medical Communications courses. She is a student advisor and lectures on COPD, Heart Failure, Meniere’s Disease, Geriatric ENT issues, the neurological physical exam and health information resources. Ms. Dexter is a regular speaker on neurology topics at state and national professional conferences. She is a trained Family Connections Leader for the National Education Association – Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD) and co-leads a local BPD family support group.

Her leisure time pursuits include genealogy, gardening, travel, cooking and spending time with her grandchildren.

Alicia Elam, PharmD
Alicia B. Elam, PharmD earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy in 1995 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1990.

Professionally, she has over 21 years of practice experience in various pharmacy settings to include Ambulatory Care, Nursing Home Consulting, Clinical Hospital, and Community Medication Therapy Management (MTM).  Dr. Elam also served for 4 years as a Naval Pharmacy Officer (Lieutenant) in Hampton Roads, Virginia from 1996 – 2000 and worked as a civilian pharmacy contractor for the U.S. Navy for 7 years after leaving active duty.

In addition to her pharmacy practice experience, Dr. Elam is an Associate Professor in the Physician Assistant program at Augusta University, formerly Georgia Regents University where she serves as the Course Director for the pharmacology curriculum as well as the Associate Director of Admissions.

Mom to 11 year old Alyce-Dean (Ally), Dr. Elam is honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve others, teach, and assist students in reaching their educational goals.

Tony Fullard, PhD
bio coming soon

Jim Gordon, PA
Jim was born in Athens , Georgia, and grew up in Atlanta, about 5 miles from downtown.
He is retired from dual careers, from the United States Department of Justice and from Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine. After retirement he moved to Sautee-Nacoochee, Georgia, where he lives in a small house deep in the woods. e has a bachelor of Business Administration from Georgia State University, a Bachelor of Medicine from Emory University and a Masters of Emergency Medicine from the University of Nebraska. He has been a Georgia Paramedic since 1979. He is an assistant scuba diving instructor , has completed 723 open water dives and 107 cave dives. He was a medical team member for treks to Mt. Everest Base Camp in 1999 and 2002. From 1999 to 2012 he was a medical team member of the Georgia 3 Disaster Medical Assistant Team and spent time serving at several hurricanes as well as 5 weeks responding to the 911 disaster. He was a member of the medical team at Road Atlanta for many years. He has been a medical staff member at the Stone Mountain Highland Games for over 20 years. He has been the GAPA Conference Planning Committee Chairperson since 1998.


Jeff Greene, PA-C
Jeffrey Greene graduated from the Mercer University Physician Asst. program in 2010 and since then has been working for Piedmont Heart in Atlanta GA. Jeff is a critical care PA and primarily works in the Cardiac Care Unit. He is a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and serves as Adjunct Clinical Faculty for the PA Residency Program for Advanced Cardiology.

He is married and has two wonderful boys named Ethan and Hudson. He enjoys spending time with his family, going to sporting events and spending time outdoors.

Laura Gunder-McClary, DHSc, MHE, PA-C
Dr Laura Gunder McClary is an Associate Professor and Academic Director at Nova Southeastern University-Orlando PA program and a Clinical Professor at the Medical College of Georgia PA program. She is the founder and owner of Guardian Health Partners, LLC, a medical education and consulting business.

She is the author of “Essentials of Medical Genetics for Health Professionals” which is currently in revision for a 2nd edition. In 2010, she was named the PA of the year by the American Academy of Family Practice PAs. She is a three time graduate of the Medical College of Georgia (laboratory science, health education in pathology and PA) and earned her Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University Ft Lauderdale. She currently practices psychiatry via telemedicine in Florida. She enjoys gardening, spending time with her family and keeping up with her four children. She always wanted to become a farmer.

Hank Heard, PA-C
Henry Heard, PA-C.  1976 graduate Medical College of GA.  Past president GAPA, past ex-officio member of Composite State Medical Board, retired Colonel U.S. Air Force, assistant clinical professor Mercer University, prn Emory Johns Creek emergency department.

Alan Keating, PA-C
Alan Keating has been a Physician Assistant for twenty years. He practices pain management at MD Pain Care in Conyers, GA. He has over six years experience in pain management, ten years in emergency medicine, and also five years of experience in orthpaedics.

Mr. Keating is a continuing medical education speaker and workshop instructor for AAPA state chapters. He has also a guest lecturer for Mercer University’s master’s level physician assistant program.

He graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology and then Essex College’s Physician Assistant program in 1996. He is currently a student in the Masters of Physician Assistant Studies program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Mr. Keating resides in Conyers, GA with his wife and two sons. He volunteers as an Assistant Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America.

Jason Lucas, PhD, PA-C
Jason Lucas completed his undergraduate degrees in Respiratory Therapy (1995) and Physician Assistant (2001) from The Medical College of Georgia, and his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Cardiovascular Physiology in 2009 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Jason worked in peripheral vascular and cardiovascular surgery as a Physician Assistant prior to completing his PhD. His doctorate involved studying the cellular mechanisms involved in cardiac fibrosis. Following completion of his thesis, he worked as a scientist in the medical device industry. Jason joined the Cardiology Critical Care Service at Piedmont Heart Institute in 2010. He currently serves as the Critical Care Services Team Lead and Co-Director of the Advanced Cardiology Residency Program.

Jason was born and raised in the Atlanta area. Jason is a road cycling enthusiast in his spare time and also enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.

Jill Mattingly, DHSc, PA-C
Dr. Jill Mattingly is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Mercer University’s College of Health Professions where she has served as the Academic Coordinator for six years. She graduated from Western Colorado State University with a degree in biology, and after ten years of high school teaching, she graduated from Emory University PA program in 1998. She finished her Doctor of Health Science at Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale earlier this year.

She regularly sees patients at Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett as a volunteer provider. She is also a regular volunteer provider with the bi-monthly Clarkston Refugee clinic in Clarkston Georgia. Her background is in internal medicine/family practice, rheumatology, and addiction medicine.
Jill was awarded the GAPA Humanitarian of the Year award in 2015. She serves on the board of directors for Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants. She has a passion for medical missions and is working closely with Christian Medical Dental Association and Global Health Outreach planning trips to Nicaragua and Madagascar later this year.

Jill’s current hobby is playing the clarinet in Atlanta’s Seed and Feed Marching Abominable Band and spending time riding her horse MoJo.


Nancy McLaughlin, MHA, DHSc, PA-C
Dr. Nancy McLaughlin is the Assistant Program Director and Georgia Campus Site Director in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee, Georgia. Dr. McLaughlin served 10 years in the United States Army as a medic, orthopedic technician, and a physician assistant. After departure from the Army in 2006, she relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where she practiced in plastic surgery.

Prior to joining the faculty at PCOM, she was on the faculty at Mercer University’s PA Program in Atlanta, Georgia where she served as the Admissions Chairperson and Mentorship Coordinator.

Prior to joining the Army, Dr. McLaughlin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Quincy University, Quincy, Illinois. Dr. McLaughlin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the Interservice Physician Assistant Program at Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas in 2001. She completed a Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska. She earned a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri and a Doctorate of Health Science from Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

John McManus, MD
COL (ret) John G. McManus retired in 2012 from the United States Army with a combined Federal service record of over 24 years as a Medical Corps Officer and decorated combat veteran. After graduating from North Georgia Senior Military College in 1988 with a B.S. in chemistry on a full National Guard Scholarship, Dr. McManus attended his M.D. training at the Medical College of Georgia, (Georgia Regents University) serving as student government president his final year in 1992. Since then, Dr. McManus has served on active duty in numerous leadership assignments and deployments (Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq) throughout the world. Dr. McManus completed a 4 year emergency medicine residency in 1999 at Madigan Army Medical Center and University of Washington, an EMS fellowship at Oregon Health and Sciences University and a Master Degree in Clinical Research. Furthermore, he completed his MBA in July 2012 from Brenau University. He recently had the honor to serve as the Chief Medical Officer of the last Combat Support Hospital (47th CSH) in Baghdad Iraq. His prior assignments include: Director for the U.S. Army’s EMS Department and also the Director for the Center of Pre-deployment Medicine, at the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Fort Sam Houston, Texas (equivalent to Associate Deans). Dr. McManus also founded and served as the program director for both the U.S. Army’s first emergency medicine subspecialty fellowship, at the San Antonio Military Medical Center (2007-11) and at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (2010-11). He currently serves as a professor and EMS Fellowship Director in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Region 6 EMS Medical Director at Georgia Regents University. He is also the Vice-Speaker for the national emergency medical society ACEP(American College of Emergency Physicians).

Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D, PA-C
Dr. Dawn Morton-Rias, PA-C joined the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) as president/CEO in  2014. Prior to assuming that position, she served as Dean of the College of Health Related Professions and Professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center since 2003.  As Dean, she was responsible for the academic administration of health professions programs in Diagnostic Medical Imaging (BS-Sonography and Radiologic Technology); Medical Informatics (MS); Occupational Therapy (MS and Certificate); Midwifery (MS and Adv. Certificate); Physical Therapy (BS/DPT); Physician Assistant Education (BS); and certificate programs in Medical Billing and Coding and Mammography. Dr. Morton-Rias entered academe as the inaugural clinical coordinator for the SUNY Downstate PA Program and quickly rose to Program Chairperson in 1993, a position she held until her appointment as Dean. She has served the larger SUNY Downstate community in a number of capacities, across several health professions and disciplines. Dr. Morton-Rias’ passion and expertise in health professions education centers on curricula innovation, promotion of diversity and educational access, and institutional and student assessment.

Gabe Najarro, PA-C
Gabriel Najarro is the lead physician assistant in the Emory University Hospital Cardiac Critical Care Unit. He was one of the pilot residents of the Emory Critical Care Center PA/NP residency, is a guest lecturer at the Emory University Physician Assistant Program, and continues to participate in various research projects.  If you’re lucky you might catch him doing the EKG dance. 

Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA
Allan Platt, PA-C graduated with a BS in Health Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1977, a BS in Medical Science from the Emory University School of Medicine, Physician Assistant program in 1979, and a MMSc in Career Physician Assistant from Emory in 2006. From 1984 until 2004 he was Program Coordinator, and Physician Assistant at the Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Grady Health System. This is the world’s first dedicated 24 hour emergency center for sickle cell patients. The Center is one of the largest in the world, currently providing primary and emergency care for 1700 sickle cell patients. The center won AAPA Innovations in Health Care winners in 2000. He is the web designer of The Sickle Cell Information Center at 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 October 2002, June 2006.and third edition in 2011.

He 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.

In 2002 Allan received the, Paragon Teacher of the Year Award from the AAPA, and the SAAPA Presidents award in May 2007. He is currently a academic coordinator and director of admissions at the Emory University School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program. He is author of the e-Connections feature in the AAPA publication PAprofessional and was the Technology in Education feature editor for the Journal of Physician Assistant Education until 2013

Haley Queen, PA-C
Haley Queen is a physician assistant who has been practicing in the north Georgia region for 5 years.  She is originally from Toccoa, Georgia and after graduating high school went on to begin her undergraduate degree at Piedmont College.  She was a student athlete for 3 years at Piedmont and then transferred to complete her degree at Emmanuel College.   Haley graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2008 from Emmanuel College.  She immediately pursued graduate school and was accepted to South University in Savannah, Georgia.  Haley completed her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies in 2011 and began her career as a PA in Cardiothoracic surgery.  Haley is newly married and enjoys running, being in the outdoors and spending time with her family in her spare time.

Rebecca Rote, PA-C
Rebecca Rote, MPA, PA-C Joined the PA Department as full-time faculty in August 2012. She is a graduate of the Medical College of Georgia’s PA Class of 2008 and is a member of the Phi Alpha, Physician Assistant Honor Society. After graduation from the PA Program, Mrs. Rote completed a Physician Assistant Emergency Medicine Residency from 2008 to 2010 through the Medical College of Georgia – Department of Emergency Medicine.

Prior to her career as a Physician Assistant, Mrs. Rote served 12 years in the US Air Force as a Paramedic, Independent Duty Medical Technician, and Air Education and Training Command – Special Operations Combat Medic Instructor. Mrs. Rote obtained a Bachelor of Health Science Degree from Campbell University in 2002.

From 2003 – 2012 she worked for Augusta University’s (formerly the Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University) Department of Emergency Medicine – Center of Operational Medicine as an Operational Medicine Education Coordinator and Director of the EMS Academy. Mrs. Rote provided pre-hospital EMS, critical care, disaster, and tactical medicine education to civilian, State, and Federal Government personnel and served as adjunct faculty with the PA Department from 2008 – 2012.

Mrs. Rote holds instructor certifications in Basic and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (BLS, ACLS), Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS), Advanced Medical Life Support (AMLS), Emergency Pediatric Care (EPC), Basic and Advanced Disaster Life Support (BDLS, ADLS). She is a licensed Level III Georgia Paramedic Instructor and a Critical Care Emergency Medical Transport Paramedic (CCEMTP). Mrs. Rote’s current duties include: serving as a student advisor, small group leader and is the PA Department’s GAPA Representative. She is the Course Coordinator for the Emergency Medicine series, 3 and 12 Lead EKG Interpretation, Basic and Advanced Airway Management, BLS, and ACLS during the didactic year. She practices clinically 1-2 days per week in the Emergency Department and Urgent Care settings.

Jeff Siegelman, MD
Dr Siegelman is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, GA where he joined the faculty after graduating from the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency program in Boston, MA.  He practices clinically at Grady Memorial Hospital and serves as an assistant residency director for the emergency medicine residency at Emory.  He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Melissa, and two children.

Ben Smith, PA-C, DFAAPA
Benjamin J Smith, PA-C, is a physician assistant in Rheumatology at the McIntosh Clinic, P.C. in Thomasville, Georgia. He received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Georgia in 1997 (Cum Laude) and his PA degree in 1999 from the Medical College of Georgia (Summa Cum Laude).

His Professional Memberships include being a distinguished fellow member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and a member of the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), Georgia Association of Physician Assistants, and the Georgia Society of Rheumatology.

Mr. Smith was elected the 43rd ARHP President in November 2011, the first physician assistant to serve in this capacity. He is the first ARHP member to serve on the American College of Rheumatology Executive Committee. He currently serves as the Scientific Editor for the ACR/ARHP online educational tool, Rheumatology e-Bytes.

He works with his supervising physician, Dr. Victor McMillan.

Judith Stalling, EdD, MHE, PA-C
Dr. Judith Stallings is currently Program Director and Associate Professor at Augusta University.  She received her doctorate in Educational Administration from Georgia Southern University and her Masters of Health Education and Physician Assistant degree from Augusta University. Clinically she has practiced in Gynecology Oncology, Family Medicine, and now at Student Health Services at Augusta University.  She teaches and coordinates the Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Gastrointestinal clinical medicine courses.

Greg Thomas, MPH
A PA for more than 35 years, Greg Thomas currently serves in a consultative role as Director of External Relations with the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) on topics related to education and certification maintenance. Previously, he worked for nearly 20 years with the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), most recently as Senior Vice President of education, membership, and resource development. Mr. Thomas received his PA education at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, and a masters degree in public health with focus on health care administration from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, TX.

Mary Vacala, ATC, PA-C
Practicing as a Physician Assistant and specializing in Orthopaedics sports medicine for 28 years, Mary Vacala resides in Savannah GA. Mary has extensive experience working with patients and athletes of all ages and professions. Mary started her sports medicine career in college where she was both a scholarship athlete and athletic trainer. Mary’s philosophy is to continue to enjoy participating in fitness for the health of it until she no longer can. She has participated in over 53 triathlons and countless road races including half marathons and marathons.

Mary has been certified as an athletic trainer for 36 years and a Physician Assistant for the past 28 years. Mary has coordinated and designed several athletic training and sports medicine programs. She designed several PA programs and served as department chair/program director of a Physician assistant program. She continues to mentor student interns. Mary is an instructor for the Family Medicine Residency program at Memorial Health / Mercer University School of Medicine. Mary has been presenting guest lectures throughout the country and internationally for the past 15 years.

Mary was one of 3 medical coordinators and a Chief athletic trainer in the Atlanta Olympic games in 1996. She 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 she was selected to work with the USA Men’s wheelchair basketball team. She has been a member of their gold medal Americas cup team and their Silver medal World Championship team. She continues to work with them as they prepare for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio Brazil.

Mary has served as a two-term president of the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants, and presently serves as the GAPA secretary. Mary has served as a delegate for the AAPA House of Delegates for eleven terms. She was elected by her peers as the GAPA PA of the year in 2015.

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 include; The Hu. C Myers Award (awarded annually to an Alderson Broaddus University graduate.) She is a member of the AAPA Distinguished Fellow Award.

Mary continues to always look for new innovative approaches in treating patients. She has recently partnered with two former students and an ER physician to start their own Urgent Care clinic in Savannah. They wanted to give back to the community that collectively they have served for over 55 years. The Urgent Care of Berwick clinics slogan is “Your family is Our family”. Every patient that walks into the door is treated like family and the group prides themselves on having a diverse team of expertise.

Christy Wilson, PA-C, MPAS
Christy Wilson is the Lead Pulmonary Advanced Practitioner at Piedmont Physicians Georgia Lung Associates in Atlanta, GA where she has practiced pulmonary/critical care medicine since 2002. She is a graduate of Saint Francis University with a Master’s Degree in physician assistant sciences and is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians.

In addition to practicing pulmonary medicine, Christy enjoys lecturing at Mercer and Emory University PA programs and is a preceptor for several PA programs including her Alma matter. She has spoken at numerous conferences across the country including CAPA, GAPA and AAPA.

She has served on the Board of Directors and AAPA House of Delegates for the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants and for the past several years she has dedicated her time as GAPA Student Affairs Committee Chair where she organizes the student track and student medical challenge bowl at GAPA’s annual conference.

In 2013 Christy was awarded Outstanding PA of the Year by Emory University School of Medicine and in 2014 was named Physician Assistant of the Year by GAPA for her outstanding service and dedication to the PA profession.


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