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2021 Conference Session Descriptions

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Session Descriptions

Keynote Session

From Tragedy to Triumph:
A Journey Through Games & Life
Robb Taylor, Head Coach Wheelchair Basketball, Auburn University

“Sam was born with spina bifida, a condition affecting his spine and mobility. But that hasn’t kept him from having a promising future and being a dedicated athlete. Sam is a Junior majoring in Public Administration. “I’ve played a number of sports in my life but have been playing wheelchair basketball since I was in sixth grade,’ he said. “I loved it from day one and hoped to play in college one day.” Armas was recruited by several universities but he chose Auburn University’s wheelchair basketball program.

Sam will be joined by one of his teammates Mackenzie Johnson. Johnson suffered a spinal cord injury from a 35-foot fall in 2016, and he has been a member of the disabled community for only a few years. Sam and Mackenzie will share their stories and journeys discussing some of their experiences with the medical community and in life. Mackenzie said, “This is a community I never expected to join. I just never thought this would happen to me”. “But my philosophy is to just move on to the next play. That’s what you do when bad things happen – in a game and life.”


Cardiology Track

Introduction to EKG’s and EKG Emergencies
What do you do when your patient walks into your office complaining of chest pain? Dizziness? Syncope? An EKG is one of the most useful and readily available diagnostic tools to rule out an acute emergency. While this is a simple test, the interpretation of EKG’s requires skilled training. This presentation will teach a standardized approach to EKG interpretation. At the conclusion of the course, the attendee will be able to identify ischemia, ST-elevation myocardial infarction, and common arrhythmias that require immediate attention.

Atrial Fibrillation and Hypertension Management
“You might hear, “”My heart feels like it’s skipping a beat. Racing. I feel light-headed.”” Or, you may hear, “”Really, I had no symptoms at all.”” Both of these are common experiences in patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Untreated atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke 5-fold and doubles the risk of heart-related deaths. Nine percent of people ages 65 and older have atrial fibrillation, with the initial diagnosis likely occurring in the outpatient setting. This presentation will review management strategies and current guidelines on anticoagulation related to atrial fibrillation. In this lecture, we will also discuss and review topics with hypertension management. Approximately one out of every three American adults have hypertension. When left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to significant organ dysfunction including, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, peripheral artery disease, renal dysfunction, and vision problems. Screening for secondary causes of hypertension is also necessary in patients with an abrupt onset of hypertension that is uncontrolled and drug resistant, but how do you complete a secondary workup? This presentation will equip the attendees with the most up to date information regarding the management of hypertension in the outpatient setting as well as provide an approach to a workup of secondary etiologies of hypertension.

Management of ACS and Chronic Treatment of Cardiomyopathies
According to the AHA, coronary heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one-third of all deaths over the age of 35. Approximately every 40 seconds, an American will have a myocardial infarction. What can you do in the outpatient setting to minimize risk factors and prevent pre-mature death caused by coronary disease? This presentation will review the pathophysiology, diagnostic studies, and current treatment guidelines related to ACS. We will also discuss the treatment of cardiomyopathies. Your patient walks into the office short of breath, with cool extremities, and lower extremity edema. Six months ago, your patient was running 5k’s, but now they’re struggling to get to the exam table. What changed? You’re concerned your patient has developed heart failure, but from what? This presentation will discuss how to complete a workup of a new cardiomyopathy, including a detailed history, physical exam, laboratory evaluation, imaging, and invasive diagnostics.

COVID-19 and Cardiovascular Disease 
The COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to affect every area of our life. The presence of underlying cardiovascular disease in patients with COVID-19 is associated with increased mortality. COVID-19 itself can cause myocardial injury, acute coronary syndrome, arrhythmias, and venous thromboembolic events. Are these cardiovascular changes permanent, or are there signs of myocardial recovery? This presentation will provide up to date information regarding the latest clinical studies and research related to COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease.

Aortic Valve Disease 
Syncope? Palpitations? Orthopnea? New murmur? Do you need to screen your patient for valvular disease? More than five million Americans are diagnosed with heart valve disease each year, with aortic valve disease accounting for the majority of cases. Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from aortic stenosis. Without intervention, as many as 50% of patients with severe AS will not survive without intervention. Join us as we discuss the screening, diagnosis, and management of patients with aortic stenosis, with a focus on transcatheter aortic valve replacement.


Orthopedic Track

Injuries Unique to the Adolescent Athlete
With increasing year-round competition in sports, adolescent athletes are at risk for a myriad of injuries. Given that these young patients are skeletally immature, they often have unique injuries and fracture patterns. This presentation will review the various injuries unique to the adolescent athlete regarding clinical diagnosis, appropriate imaging, and treatment strategies.

Hip Injuries: Evaluation and Treatment
This is a comprehensive review of hip injury pathoanatomy, diagnosis, appropriate imaging, and treatment. In this presentation, we will review femoroacetabular impingement, as well as extra-articular injuries like the snapping hip, hamstring injuries, and athletic pubalgia (aka sports hernia). This presentation will review the pathoanatomy, clinical, and radiographic diagnosis, as well as the appropriate treatment for injuries around the hip.

Evaluation and Treatment of Shoulder Pain: From the Frozen Shoulder to the Unstable One
Shoulder pain is one of the most common orthopaedic complaints seen in the office. This presentation will discuss the shoulder history and physical examination, as well as appropriate imaging. We will review the diagnosis and treatment of common pathologies like the frozen shoulder, shoulder instability, rotator cuff tears, and shoulder arthritis.


Women’s Health Track

Women’s Health Guidelines Update 2021
Clinicians must keep up with all the latest practice guidelines, and this is challenging as guidelines are constantly changing, especially in women’s health. This presentation will provide the attendee with an overview of key aspects of the latest women’s health guidelines, including Cervical Cancer, Breast Cancer, Osteoporosis, Contraception, STIs, and Menopause.  The most recently updated guidelines include changes in Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines, “Risk-Based Management” of Abnormal Cervical Cancer Follow-up Guidelines, and a New Screening Instrument to determine if patients are High Risk for Breast Cancer. Implications for practice and controversies among various guidelines will also be explored.

PCOS Update 2021: Common, Complex and More Serious Than Ever
PCOS is common, increasingly serious, and can be challenging to diagnose and manage. During this session, the current PCOS epidemiology, the complex pathophysiology, and the new and established associated risks and complications will be discussed.  Attendees will learn about the standard and less common symptoms and signs of PCOS & explain the individualized diagnostic work-up, including the differential diagnoses of exclusion and newly identified associated risks. “Best practice” management approaches, including pharmacologic treatments and lifestyle approaches, and evidence-based nutritional guidelines, will be presented.


Dermatology Track

Malignant Skin Lesions: Can You Spot Skin Cancer?
The CDC reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. Risk factors for skin cancer development include sun and UV exposure, skin type, and personal and family medical history. Roughly 20% of patients in the US will develop skin cancer by the time they turn 70 years old. With almost 10,000 patients diagnosed with skin cancer daily, it is important for providers to recognize signs and symptoms of abnormal skin lesions. This presentation will review the most common types of premalignant and malignant skin lesions. Current diagnostic and treatment recommendations will also be presented.

Infectious Skin Disorders: Name This Rash!
Our skin is exposed to microorganisms every day. Exposure to certain organisms, however, can lead to infectious diseases. Whether the exposure is through a tick, a towel, or a family trip, clinicians are asked to diagnose infectious skin disorders regularly. Many dermatology complaints look similar, which highlights the importance of reviewing the diagnoses of infectious etiology. This presentation will discuss specific infectious skin disorders such as dermatophytoses, scabies, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, as well as Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. Clinical presentation, etiology, diagnostic techniques, and management will be reviewed.


Pediatrics Track

The Sports Physical: What is the Heart Telling You?
Approximately 5 million athletes compete in high school each year, and half of a million in college. When considering all youth sports, it is difficult to know the total number of athletes who are screened each year for sports participation. While it is impossible to achieve zero risks in competitive sports, this presentation will review pertinent history and physical exam findings that can identify certain medical problems that would put an athlete at risk for sudden cardiac death while participating in sports. We will also address the newest recommendations for sports physical screening, following the adjustments required during the 2020 pandemic.

Pediatric Nutrition: Preventing an Epidemic, While Fighting a Pandemic
The obesity epidemic did not go away simply because we were amidst a life-changing pandemic. It is likely that while we have been all consumed by the coronavirus, we have been ignoring one of the most important aspects of well-child health and patient education. Studies have shown that prevention starts early. Adolescent and adult obesity can be predicted as early as preschool. Not only is pediatric obesity the most common chronic condition of childhood, but it is a primary predictor of poor outcomes for those infected by the recent virus. This presentation will explore the impact of obesity on the pandemic, comorbid conditions, and the ever-changing approach to well childcare in this new normal. Following this discussion, you will be equipped with tools, techniques, and tips for teaching pediatric parents and families how to build healthy habits in infancy, as a toddler, and amidst a pandemic.


Diabetes Track

Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY: Diabetes Medication Update
The tornado of diabetes medications may make you want to go home. But when we pull back the curtain, things may be much simpler than we thought. This presentation will review diabetes medications as they impact the metabolic defects of T2DM. Now we can treat diabetes, not just chase blood glucose.  CV and renal benefits are also in that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Case studies will help navigate that yellow brick road.


Urgent Care Track

Urgent Care in a Nutshell – Part 1 & Part 2
Urgent care is shaking up the landscape of traditional medicine. By the year 2020, there will be nearly 10,000 urgent care centers in the United States, many of which are staffed with physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Interest in the on-demand, affordable option of urgent care continues to grow. Health care providers in this trend need the skills, tools, and strategies to make urgent care shifts as fun, safe, and productive as possible. Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned crustacean, this rapid-fire, two-hour workshop will include a wide-ranging variety of information, including the approach to the urgent care patient and why it’s such a fun, but intense specialty, and how to make it as safe as possible for you and your patients, regardless of your level of experience. We will cover hoofbeats and zebras and what that expression means in the urgent care setting, the importance of disposition and follow up and how this guides your decision making, what constitutes an emergency vs an urgency, bread, butter, and jam, how to deal with overwhelm and multitasking, and your ownership of patients, for better and for worse. We will discuss topics including the skin and its contents, we will take you back to the basics, we will address the antibiotic dance, we will remind you that sometimes a headache is a brain tumor, we will cover coughing and sneezing and buggers (oh my), heartaches, belly aches, waterworks, bones, and groans, and then there’s the fun stuff, including kids (more fun stuff), procedures, and drugs, as well as what to do when you don’t know what to do. After attending this workshop, you will leave with a toolbox full of skills and a much better understanding of the nuances and joys of urgent care medicine.


Mental Health and Addiction Track

The Silent Fallout: The Rising Tide of Substance Use Disorder Caused by the Pandemic
Substance use disorder (SUD) treatment has improved over the last decade with increased focus on the opioid epidemic. Many clinicians have been educated in screening techniques and medication-assisted treatment. Across all care environments, physician assistants are playing an essential role in the care of patients struggling with SUD. The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a significant impact on mental health and access to care. It is unknown how devastating the effect has been in the area of substance use, but it is projected to be massive. Not only are those that struggle with SUD considered to be a vulnerable population for contracting the disease, they are also challenged in receiving treatment for their SUD resulting in higher rates of relapse. More importantly, many patients with no history of SUD initiated substance use during the pandemic due to associated psychologic factors. This presentation will review screening, recognition of withdrawal symptoms, and treatment options for several different use disorders including alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids. A review of FDA approved medications for medication-assisted treatment as well as interviewing techniques for all types of clinical settings will be discussed.

The Silent Fallout: Response to the Rising Tide
As a continuation of The Silent Fallout:  The Rising Tide of Substance Use Disorder Caused by the Pandemic.

Workshop Descriptions

Urgent Care Skills Bootcamp (Lead Instructor: Jim Gordon, PA) $195
Are you comfortable with your skills in the Urgent Care setting?  Would you like to master tips and techniques from a 35-year veteran of Atlanta’s Grady ER, the fifth-largest public hospital in the United States?  Designed specifically for GAPA, this four-hour comprehensive bootcamp will cover many skills for conditions encountered in the Urgent Care setting.  We’ll cover conditions including basic and advanced suture, wound care for abscess, fish hook injuries, central lines, peritonsillar abscess, Bartholin Cyst treatment, nerve blocks, dental emergencies and conditions, evaluation of the eye and treatments, and much more.  Many of these conditions presented will include hands-on practice, and participants will be provided instrument sets to use in class and can take them home.  The final section of the bootcamp will feature the use of radiology in the urgent care setting with case studies of common complaints, appropriate studies, and their interpretation.

Board Review (Joe Gilboy, PA-C) (Rx=.5) (Complimentary)
Prepare for your certification exam with a free eight-hour Board Review (a $399 value). Offered the day before the conference begins, our dynamite presenter will give you the confidence and knowledge you need to pass your certification or recertification exam.

Orthopedic Skills Bootcamp (Lead Instructor: Mary Vacala, ATC, PA-C, MSPAS, DFAAPA; Team: Dan Vacala, PA-C; Meagan Conway Ruehling, NP; and Beatriz Aponte Bidgood, PA-C) $195
Casting/Splinting: Meagan and James; Joint Injections: Beatriz; Common x-ray findings: Mary; Inter-compartment pressure monitoring: Dan
Introducing a BRAND NEW addition to GAPA’s annual conference, here’s your chance to submerge yourself in a hands-on, multi-station opportunity to perfect your skills in casting/splinting, joint injections, common x-ray findings, inter-compartment pressure monitoring, and much more. The lead instructor will navigate participants through several stations, allowing clinicians the chance to practice each skill hands-on.
Additional orthopedic experts will be available at each station with models, materials, supplies, and instruments needed to practice these essential skills.
Participants will be able to demonstrate correct cast application of the extremities, demonstrate proper technique of intra-articular injections utilizing sterile procedures, demonstrate knowledge and techniques used when performing Inter-compartment pressure monitoring, understand basic principles of fracture management and treatment, and understand how to immobilize common fractures using splints and braces.

Learning EKGs and the Unstable Patient (Jason Lucas, PhD, PA-C, and Team) $95
In this workshop, the participants will be able to identify a normal 12-lead EKG, calculate rates and the QTc, identify heart blocks, and recognize STEMI and signs of ischemia. We will also spend a portion of the workshop discussing management of the unstable patient. The participants will be presented with several case studies for which they will provide an initial assessment, discuss differential diagnoses, determine the additional information needed (labs, imaging, etc), and establish a bedside management plan for their patient.

New Virtual Workshops!

ACLS/BLS (Lead Instructor: Tony Fullard, CEO of Atlanta Training Center) $175
Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) refers to a set of clinical interventions for the urgent treatment of cardiac arrest, stroke and other life-threatening medical emergencies.  This course covers the key changes in ACLS, reflecting the most recent AHA guidelines.  Recognition and early management of pre-arrest conditions such as symptomatic bradycardia, BLS with ACLS has the availability of improving survival outcomes in cardiac arrest. Basic life support (BLS) skills, including effective chest compression, use of a bag-mask device and early management of respiratory and cardiac arrest. This course will review changes in 1 & 2 rescuer CPR, adult, child, and infant.  As well as use of the Automatic External Defibrillation (AED) and Foreign Body Obstructed Airway (FBOA).

PALS/BCLS (Lead Instructor: Tony Fullard, CEO of Atlanta Training Center) $175
The Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course is for healthcare providers who respond to emergencies in infants and children. Key changes in pediatric advanced life support, reflecting the new science from the most recent AHA guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Management of respiratory emergencies. Resuscitation team concept Rhythm disturbances and electrical therapy Systematic Approach to Pediatric Assessment Vascular access. PALS covers 1- and 2-rescuer child CPR and Automatic External Defibrillation (AED) use 1- and 2- rescuer infant CPR.

 

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