Army PAs Go ‘Beyond 50’ at the AAPA Conference in Las Vegas

July 26, 2017

By MAJ Adhana McCarthy, PA-C, MPAS and LTC Amelia M. Duran-Stanton, PA-C, PhD, DSc, MPAS

Army PAs at the AAPA Conference in Las Vegas
COL Pauline Gross, PA-C, AAPA Military Service PA Award recipient, featured with members of her cheering section of Army PAs and Air Force IPAP students. Pictured from left to right: LTC Amelia Duran Stanton, OT Brenda Ayala, OT Erin Moore, LTC Bill Soliz, LTC James Jones, COL Pauline Gross, LTC Christopher Pase, MAJ Jason Adams, MAJ Lakeshia Logan, MAJ Jason Collins, MAJ Ryan McGill, MAJ Adhana McCarthy, (kneeling) MAJ Vivien Guevara.

PAs from across the world, including Army PAs of various ranks, converged on the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas from May 15-19 at AAPA 2017. They came to earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits, get the latest medical updates, share research projects, record oral histories, give lectures, conduct outreach to high school students, and mentor each other on the future of the PA profession. This year’s theme was “Beyond 50” to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the PA profession.

During this year’s conference, Army PAs received several accolades. COL Pauline ‘Polly” Gross was the 2017 Military Service of the Year Award recipient. This honor recognized COL Gross’ 40 years of service and her cheering section of Army PAs made the moment special.  MAJ Christopher Cordova and his wife Maria were both keynote speakers at the Veterans Caucus of the AAPA.  MAJ Christopher Cordova was also selected as the Veterans Caucus’ Military PA of the Year.

Maria Cordova and MAJ Christopher Cordova
Maria Cordova and MAJ Christopher Cordova were keynote speakers for the Veterans Memorial Caucus where MAJ Cordova received the Military PA of the Year award.

Army PAs had four ePoster presentations authored by LTC Amelia Duran-Stanton, MAJ Jason Auchincloss, MAJ Adhana McCarthy and CPT Brandon Carius.  LTC Duran-Stanton also gave an interview with the PA History Society on how she became a PA, what sparked her interest in the profession and her specialty, and in her current work, available here.

Community Activities
Not only did Army PAs contribute to conference CME, they also contributed to the community. Army PAs participated in a fun run with the 6th Medical Recruiting Battalion Headquarters. MAJ Lakeshia Logan, PA-C, also participated in Project Access, a PA Education Association outreach to underserved high schools.

“It gave us PAs the chance to express to students that there are possibilities within their reach regardless of their current circumstances,” she said.

TC Amelia Duran Stanton, MAJ Adhana McCarthy, MAJ(P) Sharon Rosser, LTC Bill Soliz standing in front of the e-Poster on Yoga Therapy in the Army.
Army PAs LTC Amelia Duran Stanton, MAJ Adhana McCarthy, MAJ(P) Sharon Rosser, LTC Bill Soliz stand in front of the e-Poster on Yoga Therapy in the Army.

Additionally, CPT Kelly Guerra, PA-C, who is currently an OIC and Recruiter at the recruiting station in Valencia, California, represented the Army as the color guard for the opening ceremony as well as the Veterans Caucus Memorial Ceremony.

“The 2017 AAPA Conference made me realize that despite being out of the clinical setting for the past year, I have still retained my clinical knowledge. This directly reflects the outstanding education I received from the Interservice Physician Assistant Program,” CPT Guerra said.

The Uniformed Services Symposium
The Uniformed Services Symposium is an AAPA conference track designated to cover topics related to the DoD PAs. Army, Air Force, and Public Health Service PAs gave lectures. Two Army PAs presented lectures, LTC David Hamilton and MAJ(P) Sharon Rosser.

Army PAs joining the 6th Medical Recruiting Battalion Headquarters for a fun run
Army PAs join the 6th Medical Recruiting Battalion Headquarters for a fun run. Front, left to right: SFC Shawn Jones, 6th MRBn Master Trainer, Las Vegas, NV; MAJ Vivien Guevara, Cardiology Instructor, Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP), JBSA Fort Sam Houston, TX; SSG Castro Roberto, AMEDD Healthcare Recruiter, 6th MRBn, Las Vegas, NV; CPT Kelly Guerra, AMEDD Healthcare Recruiter/OIC, 6th MRBn, Valencia, CA; SFC James Guevarra, AMEDD Healthcare Recruiter/Center Leader, 6th MRBn, Las Vegas, NV; LTC Matthew Mapes, 6th MRBn, Battalion Commander, Las Vegas, NV; SFC Brandon Butcher, 6th MRBn Master Trainer, Las Vegas, NV; MAJ Racquel Junio, 6th MRBn, Battalion Executive Officer, Las Vegas, NV; LTC Amelia M. Duran-Stanton, Deputy Chief, Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division (TMMD), United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), Natick, MA; Mrs. Jennifer Mapes, Family member; Back, left to right: MAJ(P) Sharon Rosser, Executive Officer, AMEDDC&S HRCoE, JBSA Fort Sam Houston, TX; LTC David Hamilton, Deputy Commander for Health Readiness, Evans Army Community Hospital, Fort Carson, CO; LTC Christopher Pase, Health Director, Soldier for Life, HQDA, Pentagon,Washington, DC; LTC James Jones, Director, Medical Evaluation & Treatment Unit PA/Physician to the President, White House Medical Unit, Washington, DC.

“Although I have been a practicing PA for 16 years, this was my first time attending the AAPA Conference and I cannot believe I waited so long to attend. The conference is top-notch in professionalism and opportunity,” MAJ(P) Rosser said. Additional topics included a lecture on lower extremity stress fractures, given by Air Force Ortho PA, CPT Eric Salinas, and a lecture on transitioning military PAs, given by CPT(R) James Richard.

Each year, there are opportunities to submit a presentation to AAPA for the Uniformed Services Symposium. According to CPT Courtney Legendre, who is worked with AAPA this year through the Training with Industry Program, “If you already have experience speaking on a national level, you may also want to consider submitting for the main forum or one of the other tracks.”

House of Delegates Report
Each year during the conference there is a meeting of the House of Delegates (HOD), which is composed of state constituent groups as well as specialized groups like dermatology PAs and surgical PAs. AAPA does not forget its roots; it also offers a seat to military constituent groups (i.e. Society of Army PAs, Society of Air Force PAs, etc.). This year’s major policy development from the HOD was Optimal Team Practice (OTP). OTP aims to remove requirements for a PA to maintain a specified physician supervisor or collaborator.

Some civilian PAs have reported problems with the medical board when their physician does not have the same scope of practice as the PA, or if the physician suspends their practice. The practice of naming a supervisory/collaborating physician with medical boards has also been a reported impediment to hiring PAs as the clinics and hospitals cannot meet the ratio requirement of physicians to PAs (Munk, 2017).

OTP recommends autonomous state boards governed primarily by PAs to oversee licensure, regulation and discipline of PAs. AAPA is very clear that OTP is not full practice authority, a practice that nurse practitioners have achieved in 22 states. According to AAPA, “PAs would continue to collaborate with physicians and other qualified medical professionals as dictated by the patient’s condition and the standard of care, and in accordance with each PA’s education, training and experience” (Grygotis, 2017).

The 2017 AAPA Conference in Las Vegas provided several venues to showcase Army PAs and to learn and network from all PAs worldwide. The 50th Anniversary celebration was a memorable one for the awardees, presenters and attendees. We hope to see you next year at the AAPA Conference 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana from May 19-23, 2018 (mark your calendars)!




  1. Munk, C. (2017). PAs Vote to Advance Profession to Meet Modern Healthcare Needs. Retrieved from Accessed June 8, 2017.
  2. Grygotis, L. (2017). AAPA House of Delegates approves Optimal Team Practice policy.  Clinical Advisor.  Retrieved from  Accessed June 8, 2017.

For more information contact: MAJ Adhana McCarthy, [email protected]