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AASPA Leadership

AASPA leaders are all surgical PAs or PA students who volunteer their time to support and advance the surgical PA profession and ultimately better surgical patient care.

Congratulations to our Leadership Team!

Congratulations to the following members elected to the Board of Directors positions for the 2014-2016 term. The term for all positions is July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016. To volunteer for leadership, visit Volunteer Opportunities or email us. Do it today!

Board of Directors

Catherine Gaines, PA-C, Lt. Col (Ret.), COANG, BSC

Catherine graduated from Emory University in 1993 with a Master's in Medical Science and PA degree. She went into the active Air Force and traveled extensively throughout the US and abroad. She returned to Colorado, working in indigent health while serving in the Air National Guard. She then attended Montefiore's PA Surgical residency after serving in the gulf coast following Katrina. She settled back in her home state of NC practicing cardio-thoracic surgery for 6 years. She then left to start the first Patient Navigation department for her hospital, bridging cancer patients from diagnosis, through surgery to definitive treatment. She has been a member of AASPA since 2005.

Immediate Past President
Bob Sammartano, PA-C

After graduating from Fordham University with a degree in biology, Bob Sammartano started his surgical career in 1972 as the surgical research associate to Dr. Scott J. Boley, then Chief of Pediatric Surgical Services at the Montefiore Medical Center-Albert Einstein College of Medicine. With Dr. Boley’s guidance, Bob helped to elucidate the causes of acute mesenteric ischemia and develop an aggressive radiologic and surgical approach to patients with the various forms of intestinal ischemia. These research efforts spawned over fifty peer-reviewed articles, presentations at national meetings, three surgical monographs, chapters in surgical texts and meritorious recognition by the American College of Surgeons and the Radiologic Society of North America for those contributions. In 1991, following almost twenty years in research studying vascular disorders of the intestine and other disorders of the gut, Bob went to Yale to become a PA. In 1993, he returned to Montefiore and entered the Postgraduate Residency in Surgery for PAs. He has been the director of that same program since 2003. After completing the residency, Bob became and remains the Senior Surgical PA in Pediatric Surgery at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. Since 2003, Bob has served on the AASPA Board of Directors. He currently serves, as Immediate Past President. He was honored by Montefiore Medical Center Staff and Alumni Association in 2011 as the first Physician Assistant to earn the Distinguished Service Award and again by his surgical PA peers with the John W. Kirklin, MD, Award in 2012 for professional excellence. He continues his interest in ischemic disorders of the intestine and has “spread the word” both locally and at the national meetings of the AAPA and AASPA.

ACS-CSPS Representative
Dan Vetrosky, PhD, PA-C

Dan is a part-time clinically practicing PA for Cordova Urology Associates in Pensacola, Florida. He is a recently retired Associate Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, College of Allied Health Professions, at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. He has been a PA for 34 years and has worked in the field of Urology for 25 years. He is a member of the Florida Academy of Physician Assistants, American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants, Urological Association of Physician Assistants, and the AAPA. He is a Past President of the Urological Association of Physician Assistants, The American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants, The North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants, and is the AAPA liaison to the American College of Surgeons. He is an Allied Health representative to the American College of Surgeon’s Committee on Patient Care. He has been the past chair of the Council on Surgical and Perioperative safety and is the AASPA representative to the Council.

ACS-CSPS Representative
Roy Constantine, PhD, PA-C

Roy Constantine PA-C, MPH, PhD - FCCM, DFAAPA graduated from the Cornell University Surgeon Assistant Program, holds a Master Degree in Public Health in Health Policy and Management and a PhD in Health Education and Research. He is the Assistant Director of Mid-Level Practitioners at St. Francis Hospital - The Heart Center in Roslyn, New York and is on the faculty at Trident University International and The Joan and Sanford Weill Medical College of Cornell University Physician Assistant Program. He is a past President of the American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants. He is board member of the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety (CSPS) and is co-chair of the Society of Critical Care (SCCM) - Surgery Section - Patient Safety Committee. In 2010 he was presented with the John W. Kirklin Award for Professional Excellence. His interests are in surgery, critical care, patient safety, quality care, informatics, education and research.

President Elect
Donald Adams, MPAS, PA-C

Erika Nigam, MPAS, PA-C



Director of Education
Erin Sherer

Erin Sherer is a PA currently practicing in New York City. Her work experience as a physician assistant includes surgical critical care, emergency medicine, and PA education. She enjoys all aspects of PA education, including working with students. In addition to being a PA, she is also a registered dietitian and is passionate about nutrition and fitness. She has been involved with AASPA since 2004.

Director of Information Technology
Carey Szymczak, PA-S

Carey graduated from the New York Institute of Technology in 2014 with a Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies. After graduating, she moved back to her home town of Pittsburgh, PA and started a job as a Neurosurgical Physician Assistant with Tri-State Neurosurgical Associates at UPMC Passavant. Carey started as our Assistant Student Representative for AASPA in Fall 2012. Carey then became the Student Director at Large before moving into her role as Director of Information Technology. She is also a member of the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants and American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Director of Marketing
Gerald Simons,

Director at Large
Brittnay Thurston

Student Representative
Dustin Jones, PA-S

Asst. Student Representative
Matthew H. Klein


Committee Chairpersons

CME Committee Chair
Erika Nigam, MPAS, PA-C

Reimbursement Chair
Rolando Garcia, PA-C

Membership Chair
Scott Cackler, PA-C

Scholarship Chair
Kent Wallace, PA-C


Nominating Committee
Catherine Gaines, PA-C


Website Chair
Gerald Simons, MPAS, PA-C

Corporate Relations Committee
Daniel Vetrosky, PhD, PA-C

Student Affairs Chair
Erika Nigam, MPAS, PA-C

Strategic Planning Committee
Daniel Vetrosky, PhD, PA-C

Finance Committee
Erika Nigam, MPAS, PA-C

AASPA Historian
Gerald Simons

Awards committee
Dana Gray, PA-C

Specialty Representatives

Vascular Representative
Gerald T. Simons, PA-C

Pediatric Surgery Representative
Robert Sammartano, PA-C

Plastic & Reconstruction Representative
Leah Kenney, PA-C

Bariatric Surgery Representative
Amy Biedenbach, MS, PA-C

Transplant Surgery Representative
Seeking a Representative Chairperson

Contact AASPA for more information

Anesthesia Representative
Mike Champion, PA-C

Ophthalmology Representative
Seeking a Representative Chairperson

Contact AASPA for more information

Colon & Rectal Surgery Representative
Brian Lane, MD

Orthopaedics Representative
Carol Fiore, PA-C

Neurosurgery Representative
Joseph Hlavin, PA-C (Spine)
James Piotrowski, PA-C (Brain)

Trauma Representative
Jonathan R. Van Horn, PA-C

Military Representative
Lt. Col. Catharine Gaines, Ret.

ENT/Head and Neck Surgery Representative
Seeking a Representative Chairperson

Contact AASPA for more information

Surgical Oncology Representative
Seeking a Representative Chairperson

Contact AASPA for more information

Hepato-Biliary Representative
Roy Constantine, PhD, MPH, PA-C

Critical Care Representative
Ashish Seth, MBA, PA-C

Cardiac Surgery Representative
Michael Nowak, PA-C


Management Staff (

Linda Kotrba


Director, Advertising & Media
Renee Powell

ACCM Convocation

Dr. Roy Constantine. MPH, PA-C, former President of AASPA and current Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety Liaison was inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Critical Care Medicine at the Society of Critical Care Medicine's Annual Congress in January in San Francisco, CA. Fellows of the American College of Critical Care Medicine (ACCM) are practitioners, researchers, administrators and educators who have made outstanding contributions to the collaborative field of critical care.

When the American College of Critical Care Medicine was created in 1988, the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) began a tradition dedicated to the recognition of excellence. The College emphasizes quality management in the practice and administration of critical care through the development of multi-professional guidelines and practice parameters, and also honors individuals whose achievements and contributions demonstrate personal commitment to critical care excellence. The College also provides the Society with a consultative body possessing recognized expertise in the practice of critical care.

More Information

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