2020 Conference Speakers

Amy Butts, PA-C, MPAS, CDE, BC-ADM

Amy Butts MPAS, CDE, BC-ADM is a physician assistant and diabetes educator that has worked in endocrinology since 2001. She attended Saint Francis University where she received her masters in physician assistant sciences in 2001. She became a certified diabetes educator in 2003. She earned her board-certified advanced diabetes management certificate (BC-ADM) in 2019. She was a certified insulin pump trainer for Medtronic diabetes and Animas Corporation for 8 years. She has been actively involved with the American Diabetes Association’s Primary Care Advisory Group since 2015. She has contributed to the publications of the yearly ADA Abridged Standards of Care for Primary Care Providers. She has also participated with this group on various publications to promote ongoing diabetes education to providers and spoke at the annual Diabetes is Primary Conference in 2018. Amy spoke at the 2016, 2018, and 2019 AAPA Conference on insulin initiation and intensification. She has been on advisory boards for Amylin/Astra Zeneca/Bristol Myers/Sanofi/Merck. She is currently on speaker bureaus for Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Novo Nordisk. She currently works as an endocrinology physician assistant for Wheeling Hospital at the Wellsburg Clinic in Wheeling, WV. Amy is passionate about educating providers and patients on managing diabetes care.

Jason Cheyney MPAS, PA-C

Mr. Cheyney is a certified physician assistant and also serves as the Director of Clinical Investigations at Skin Care Physicians of Georgia.
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.Mr. Cheyney has agreements with Columbus State University and Medical College of Georgia where he serves as a mentor for Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner students on their dermatology rotations.Mr. Cheyney also serves as a peer reviewer for the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants for dermatology related article submissions.

Barb Dehn, RN, MS, NP

Barbara Dehn RN, MS, NP is a practicing Nurse Practitioner and a television health expert, who’s known as Nurse Barb. She earned her masters degree from UCSF and a BS from Boston College, is certified by the North American Menopause Society and is a Fellow in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

She is the award-winning author of The Hot Guide to a Cool Sexy Menopause and a series of Personal Guides to Health used by over 5 million women in the US. Active in Social Media, she contributes content to HealthyWomen, Huffington Post, NurseBarb, KevinMD and her own YouTube channel. She is also active on social media with over 34,000 Twitter followers.

Over the last 2 years, she has been an active participant in Global Health Initiatives at FAME Hospital in Karatu, Tanzania.

Chetan Deshpande, MD, FACS

Chetan S. Deshpande, M.D., is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery and specializes in orthopedic trauma, joint replacement, anterior hip replacement, and general orthopedics. Double majoring in Marine Biology and Secondary Education at Boston University, he then attended New York Medical College where he received his M.D. After completing his internship and residency at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Dr. Deshpande completed a fellowship at the Georgia Orthopaedic Trauma Institute in Macon, Georgia. In May 2013, Dr. Deshpande was recognized for his work in the field with a nomination for the physician of the year. Dr. Deshpande has given lectures and presentations for various orthopedic events across the U.S. since 2006. He has also been involved in orthopedic research and has several peer-reviewed publications. In addition to his orthopedic work, Dr. Deshpande has volunteered his time as a captain, driver, lieutenant, and other positions in community fire departments.



Lori Gaylor, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA

Lori earned her degree in Business Administration and Psychology from Middle Georgia College and her Physician Assistant degree from Medical College of Georgia and The University of Nebraska. Lori has more than three decades of physician assistant experience in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, Pediatrics, Hemophilia and HIV, Urgent Care, and Orthopedics. In 1999 she became Clinical Coordinator for the inaugural class of Physician Assistant students at the South University Physician Assistant Program. (It was South College back then!) and served as Clinical Coordinator for over ten years.

Lori is a Georgia native, originally from Perry, Georgia, and she graduated from Warner Robins High School. She lives in Richmond Hill, Georgia, on the Ogeechee River with her husband, Tim. She has been blessed with two incredible children, Worth and Rebecca, who are both grown and starting families of their own.

Lori has been a member of Georgia Association of Physician Assistants since she was a student over 35 years ago, she is a past GAPA president, and she spoke at the American Academy of Physician Assistants conference in Atlanta in 2010. She received the GAPA distinguished service award in 2004, and the Physician/PA partnership award in 2018. She also was a recipient of the Dylan Maples Memorial Scholarship in 2018, with her daughter Rebecca, who is a brain cancer survivor.

“I am so lucky to be a PA. I get to make a difference every time that I take care of a patient. I enjoy helping people, I enjoy the technical skills, I enjoy the satisfaction of being part of a team, and I particularly enjoy putting the pieces of a puzzle together to solve a problem and come up with a solution to help a patient. I’m part of a terrific team. It’s so much fun to teach students and new PAs and to watch that light come on when a new skill is learned, or a connection is made. The staff where I work is a joy to be with, and we all respect each other and our individual and combined skills.”

Jeff Greene, MMSc, PA-C

Jeffrey Greene completed his undergraduate degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Georgia Southern University. He then worked as a secretary and patient care technician at Piedmont Hospital Emergency Department before obtaining his Masters of Medical Science from Mercer University in 2010. Jeff was part of the inaugural Physician Assistant class where he was the salutatorian and a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honors society. He then joined the Cardiac Critical Care Service at Piedmont Hospital where he serves as a faculty member for the Advanced Cardiology Fellowship.  Jeff has been a regular speaker at the GAPA Summer Conferences since 2014 and the AAPA National Conference since 2017. The last 2 years, he has been part of the I Scan point of care ultrasound workshops for the AAPA where he has helped teach both students and fellow colleagues ultrasound techniques for everyday applications. Some of his work interests include Point of Care Ultrasound, teaching hemodynamic interpretation for patients in cardiogenic shock, and invasive line placement.

During his free time, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family in Marietta, Ga. He has a wife Jennifer and three energetic boys; Ethan, Hudson, and Nolan.

Sharon Kelley, PhD, MS

Dr. Sharon Kelley serves as CEO for a number of corporations including the Associates in Emergency Medical Education, Alliance for Global Narcotics Training and Kelley Consulting Group.  She also oversees related corporations in sports and military medicine.  While completing her Bachelors in Pre-Medical Sciences, she served as a Tampa police officer which afforded her firsthand experience in recognition of street and prescription drug abuse.  She received her Master’s Degree in Drug Chemistry from the University of Florida and went onto obtain her PhD in Toxicology.   She is an affiliate faculty with the University of Florida Toxicology Program as well as the University of South Florida College of Medicine.  She serves, or has served, as a narcotics consultant for the Florida Attorney General, DEA, Department of Health, Veterans Treatment Court and numerous legal entities. She lectures nationally and internationally to medical, legal and corporate entities, including military and sports organizations, with respect to enhanced recognition and medical/legal management of licit and illicit drug abuse.

Jeff Lefeber, PA-C

Jeff grew up in Atlanta, GA.  He received an undergraduate degree in Microbiology at Clemson University in 1983.  Jeff went on to earn his Physician Assistant degree from Emory University in 1985 and went to work in Cardiology at Emory University Hospital with Dr Andreas Gruentzig and Dr Spencer King where he was able to observe coronary angioplasty in its infancy.  In 1989 he joined The Atlanta Cardiology Group at St Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta to join the newly created heart transplant program.  In 2011 Jeff left Saint Joseph’s Hospital to join his colleagues in the creation of Piedmont Heart Institute at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta where he continues to work as the senior PA on the Cardiology Critical Care Team.  Jeff also serves as a faculty member for the Advanced Cardiology Fellowship program.  Jeff has been instrumental in the formation of the critical care services provided at Piedmont Atlanta in the cardiology division.  He has been in numerous leadership positions throughout the years but has remained clinical and at the bedside throughout his 35 years of practice.

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 the 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 on the Critical Care Services staff and also as the Co-Director of the Piedmont Heart PA/NP Fellowship in Cardiovascular Critical Care Program.  

Jason currently resides in the Atlanta area.  Jason is a road cycling enthusiast in his spare time and also enjoys spending time with his wife and four children.

Rose Musille, MMSc, PA-C

Rose Musille received her undergraduate degrees in Biology and Literature from Florida State University. She moved to Atlanta in 2009 to work at Emory Structural Biology lab for a few years before going back to school for Masters in Medical Science at Mercer University. After Rose graduated from Mercer’s Physician Assistant program she then went on to complete the Advanced Cardiology Residency at Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta where she currently works with the Cardiac Critical Care Team.

Caroline Pierce, MSN, ACNP-BC

Caroline Pierce is a nurse practitioner with 9 years of experience in cardiology and critical care.  She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she received her undergraduate and Master’s education.  Caroline worked at University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital in the Heart Transplant ICU, working with advanced heart failure, LVAD and heart transplant patient from 2011-2015 before moving to Atlanta in 2015.  Caroline currently works at Piedmont Hospital in cardiology critical care.

Allan Platt, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA

Allan is a 1977 graduate in Health Systems from the Georgia Institute of Technology and 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 for 20 years. 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 its fifth edition in 2019. He is the editor of the monthly sickle cell e-newsletter that reaches over 5,000 people worldwide.

He is the author of the Hematology chapter in O’Connell and Zarbock A Comprehensive Review for the Certification and Recertification Examinations for Physician Assistants Sixth Edition Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams and Wilkins 3/2017 and co-author of Approach to Anemia. In Toy EC, Toy AL. Case Files Teaching Case Collection. New York: McGraw Hill, Online 2019

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 Assistant Professor and Director of admissions at the Emory University School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program. He teaches first-year PA students how to do medical history, hematology, pain management, and business issues.

Katie Rattray, MSN, ACNP-BC

Katie is the lead APP for Piedmont Heart’s Cardiac Critical Care Service in Atlanta, GA. She also serves as the Faculty Lead for Piedmont’s PA/NP Fellowship in Cardiovascular Critical Care. Prior to joining Piedmont in 2014, Katie worked as a Nurse Practitioner specializing in Advanced Heart Failure, Cardiac Transplant, and Mechanical Circulatory Support at both the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Mississippi after completing her training at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing in 2008.

Mary Sparkes, MD

In 1977, being somewhat unfocused, I graduated from the University of Minnesota in mathematics, German, and Classical Greek.  The University of Massachusetts Department of Linguistics accepted me to their graduate program on the basis of a musical composition “Scrambled Eggs.”  Amazing.  I obtained my Master’s degree in Linguistics in 1981. Thereafter I was accepted by the Medical College of Wisconsin, and obtained my M.D. degree in 1986.  After a brief stint in neurosurgery, I was finally boarded in Emergency Medicine and am now a fellow in the American College of Emergency Physicians.  I am a founding member of Georgia Emergency Associates in 1993, and we currently serve the St. Joseph’s Candler Healthcare System in Savannah as well as East Georgia Medical Center in Statesboro, Georgia.

Some twenty years ago, it was my pleasure to teach emergency medicine and electrocardiography to several classes of PA students at South College in Savannah Georgia.  I welcome several familiar faces in this audience today.  You have not changed an iota. I am perhaps a little rougher for the wear.

I am currently reading, writing, learning French, and painting, all in my spare time. I am servant to three dogs, four cats, and three aging horses.  I compete in Western Pleasure Trail with my quarter horse, Cash or Chips, and am currently converting a horse barn into my final resting place = home.  What stories you may have heard of my prior residence, the “Pink Palace,” are completely untrue.  And I have wholly recovered from my falls off of multiple horses.
Biographies are such drab things to write.  In short:  I came.  I rode.  I fell off.  I got back on again.

Robb Taylor Head Coach Wheelchair Basketball, Auburn University

Samuel Alexander Armas was born December 2, 1999. Sam is the child shown in a famous photograph by Michael Clancy, called the “Hand of Hope.  The photograph was taken during a medical procedure to fix the spina bifida lesion of a 21-week-old baby in the womb. The operation was performed by a surgical team at Vanderbilt University. Because he was so young, Samuel could not survive outside his mother’s womb. During the procedure, surgeons remove the uterus from the mother, drain the amniotic fluid, perform surgery on the tiny fetus, replace everything and put the entire package back inside the mother. The procedure on Samuel took about an hour.

When his tiny hand slipped out of the incision in his mother’s womb, Dr. Joseph Bruner, Samuel’s surgeon, slipped his finger into the baby’s fist, and a USA Today photographer snapped a picture.

Sam has beat all odds and been a very active young child. He  started playing wheelchair basketball in the 6th grade for the BlazeSports Junior Hawks.  In juniors, he won two national titles, many all-tournament awards, and multiple MVP awards.  He is now a sophomore at Auburn University majoring in public administration, with hopes of becoming involved in adapted athletics non-profit one day in an executive role.

Mackenzie “Mack” Johnson is from South Carolina. After graduating from high school with honors, he enrolled as a student at Wofford College. His accident occurred on Nov. 5, 2016, in which he fell off a balcony in Gatlinburg, TN during his sophomore year at Wofford. Mack now attends Auburn University, where he studies Accounting and plays on the Wheelchair Basketball team.

Robb Taylor, head coach for Auburn’s wheelchair basketball team, came to Auburn in March 2016. Taylor has been involved in wheelchair basketball since 1999. He began coaching at the University of Illinois, where he received his undergraduate degree and served as assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s teams on campus. After graduating, he moved to Arizona and became the head coach of the Phoenix Mercury, a women’s wheelchair basketball team. After several successful years in Arizona, Taylor returned to Chicago and became the head coach of the Windy City Warriors, a junior team.

Throughout his career, Taylor has been involved with the both the men’s and women’s U.S. National Paralympic Teams. Taylor has worked with the US Women’s Paralympic Team from 2002-2008, officially as assistant coach from 2005-2008.  Taylor was part of the staff that won gold during the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games in Beijing, China.  Taylor has been an assistant coach with the US Men’s Paralympic Basketball Team since 2013, including the 2016 gold medal winning team that participated in the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil.  Taylor will continue as assistant coach of the U.S. Men’s Paralympic team through the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo.

Taylor received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation, Sports and Tourism from University of Illinois and his Master’s in Education with a focus on Counseling and Psychology from University of Missouri.  He resides in Auburn, AL with his wife Sara.  They have two sons, Jeremy and Jaxson.

Deirdre Walsh MMsc., PA-C

Deirdre Walsh grew up in Nashville, TN. She received an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and nutrition from Miami of Ohio in 2013. She earned her Physician Assistant Degree from Mercer University in 2014. After graduating from Mercer, she was accepted to an Advanced Cardiology Fellowship at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, GA, which she completed in 2016. She since joined the Cardiac Critical Care service at Piedmont where she serves as a faculty member for the Advanced Cardiology Fellowship. She is also an instructor for CSU-ALS (Cardiac Surgical Unit Advanced Life Support). Her research interests focus on the prediction of neurological recovery following a cardiac arrest.

During her free time, Deirdre loves to participate in mud-runs and triathlons. She also enjoys spending time with her family, husband, and fur-baby, Teebo.

Amynah Welji, MMSc, PA-C

Amynah Welji is a PA Critical Care Cardiology PA at Piedmont Heart in Atlanta, GA, where she also serves as the Co-Director for the Piedmont Heart Cardiovascular Critical Care Fellowship for the past 7 years.  She received her MMSc at Emory University PA Program and has been practicing in the field of cardiology for the past fourteen years.

Brian Wingrove PA-C

Brian Wingrove graduated from the Duke PA program in 1999. He worked in primary care pediatrics in North Carolina for 3 years before moving to Atlanta, joining the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta primary care network. In 2005, he joined what was Georgia Pediatric Pulmonology Associates, but is now part of the Children’s Physician Group at Scottish Rite. Brian has also worked in the Children’s urgent care network on a PRN basis.

He is a past president of the Society for PAs in Pediatrics and currently serves as the American Academy of PAs liaison to the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a PALS instructor, coordinates student rotations for his practice, volunteers at Camp Breathe Easy overseeing the Asthma Ambassador program, and is co-chair of the Advanced Practice Provider Practice Performance Evaluation committee. He lectures at the Georgia State Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program and the Emory PA Programs, in addition to having giving numerous presentations at conferences. In 2017, he was awarded the Advanced Practice Provider Preceptor of the Year Award at Children’s.

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