Association of Military Surgeons Inspires Military PAs in Research and Healthcare Advances

Meeting Features 15 Poster Presentations

December 27, 2019

By CPT Robert L. Gipson II and LTC Amelia M. Duran-Stanton

CPT Robert Gipson, LTC Amelia Duran-Stanton, and MAJ Robin Cushing pose with MG (Ret.) Philip Volpe
CPT Robert Gipson, LTC Amelia Duran-Stanton, and MAJ Robin Cushing pose with MG (Ret.) Philip Volpe, the command surgeon during the Battle of Mogadishu.

Physicians, PAs, and numerous other military and federal healthcare providers recently gathered for the 128th Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) Annual Meeting. AMSUS is the Society of Federal Health Professionals, a non-profit, member-based educational and professional development association.

The meeting included American and international medical providers from throughout the world at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland. PAs from all military branches, as well as the Coast Guard and Public Health Service, were in attendance. Of the eight Army PAs present, MAJ Christopher Smith and LTC Mary Janet Coy traveled the furthest distance for the meeting. Originating in Vicenza, Italy, they flew over 4,300 miles to present a poster. CPT Bryan Jow and MAJ Jodi Wernikoff flew slightly less (over 4,100 miles) from Germany.

Through a series of panel discussions and seminars, the AMSUS annual meeting allowed providers and medical administrators to discuss recent transitions to the Defense Health Agency (DHA). It also introduced them to current medical practices and innovative research, all the while earning continuing medical education credits.

The meeting began Dec. 2. Retired Brigadier General (Dr.) John M. Cho, AMSUS Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, and Lieutenant General Ronald J. Place, honorary AMSUS president, presided over the day’s activities. Keynote speakers included the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex M. Azar II, and Congressman Brad Wenstrup (Republican-Ohio). The day ended with 15 formal poster presentations by SP Corps officers plus vendor exhibits where military providers and civilians showcased their work. Of those in attendance, each PA created and displayed a research poster. MAJ Basia Bujak, a physical therapist and member of the Army Medical Specialist (SP) Corps, joined her PA counterparts and presented an academic poster.

During the meeting, speakers included representatives from the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, HHS, and the former Vice Chief of Staff, General (Retired) Richard A. Cody, who dropped in to speak at a panel. During the final awards banquet numerous physicians, nurses, and administrative professionals gained recognition for their contributions to the DHA. Commander Kerri Browne, a former Interservice PA Program instructor and the Orthopedic PA Fellowship Program Director at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, earned one of the facilities awards with her team. The meeting closed with panel discussions and a host of medical providers returning home with new knowledge of the military’s vision for the future.

Andrea Loewendorf, LTC Amelia M. Duran-Stanton, CPT Bryan D. Jow, CPT Robert L. Gipson II, MAJ Basia K. Bujak, MAJ Robin Cushing, MAJ Jodi B. Wernikoff, CPT Torrance Nevels, LTC Mary J. Coy, MAJ Christopher R. Smith
Poster presenters during the 2019 AMSUS General Meeting. Andrea Loewendorf, LTC Amelia M. Duran-Stanton, CPT Bryan D. Jow, CPT Robert L. Gipson II, MAJ Basia K. Bujak, MAJ Robin Cushing, MAJ Jodi B. Wernikoff, CPT Torrance Nevels, LTC Mary J. Coy, MAJ Christopher R. Smith.

Overall the meeting was a great venue to present, learn, network and meet other federal healthcare providers. Meeting several leaders in one location was also beneficial to the professional development of the military PAs. The 129th AMSUS Annual Meeting will be held December 7-11, 2020, at National Harbor. Please submit and highlight deserving providers and their achievements by nominating them for an AMSUS award.

More Resources
AMSUS, The Society of Federal Health Professionals
Interservice Physician Assistant Program