18th Annual AASPA CME Meeting and Surgical Update Highlights

October 29, 2018

The 18th Annual AASPA CME Meeting and Surgical Update marked itself as one of our most successful conferences! This year's meeting was held on October 11th-14th at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida. Even despite potential hurricane threats, it was very well-attended with many attendees bringing friends and family to enjoy the benefits of the local Disney attractions.

As the first year where we have chosen a location separate from the American College of Surgeons (ACS) annual conference, we were pleased to hear the positive feedback from attendees and speakers regarding our location. AASPA plans to hold the 19th Annual AASPA CME Meeting and Surgical Update on October 17th-20th next year back at the same location in Orlando, Florida. We hope to continue in a location that is more easily accessible, family-friendly, and economical for all. Don't miss out on next year's opportunity to attend the conference and visit Disney World with your family and friends!


We had a tremendous show of volunteers this year! We would like to recognize Jerry Pimentel, PA-C for his assistance and contributions from many years of first-assisting experience with our Basic Wound Closure workshop. The following PA students and Pre-PA volunteers were also outstanding, helping us as ultrasound models, clean-up, moderating, front-desk assistance, and workshop setup: Julie Quintrall, Victoria Strand, Jeannine Calderon, Amanda Gianikas, Tiffany Papeika and John Williams. These students showed tremendous effort and initiative in volunteering their time, and we wish them the best in their future PA careers!

Speaker Highlights

Our meeting started on Thursday with an NCCPA update by Greg P. Thomas, PA, MPH and wrapped up with Surgical Infection and RLQ Quandries lectures by AASPA board member Jerry Simons, MPAS, PA-C on Sunday.  Each day was packed with surgical, critical care, trauma, and peri-operative care focused lectures by speakers from across the United States. A new addition included an outstanding lecture on the ABCs of Your 403b which was taught by Michael Rachwalski, MSPAS, PA-C regarding retirement account options that are useful to all of us. For the past several years we have had Dr. Brian Yorgitis speaking on pertinent topics such as anticoagulants and opioid prescribing... they were again highly rated lectures.

The Stop the Bleed trauma initiative training was led by Maj. Jon Van Horn, MPAS, PA-C and staff from Orlando Health. Attendees learned on site training with more than 30 attendees receiving certificates of completion of Stop the Bleed! We hope the individuals trained will spread the knowledge to the public and promote the initiative in their respective workplaces.

Our Fundamentals of Critical Care Support (FCCS) course ran concurrently this year with our CME conference. Each attendee worked hard to gain FCCS certification and will return to their respective jobs with additional confidence and critical care management skills. We are proud of each of you!


The majority of afternoon workshops were completely sold out! We were pleased to offer a new imaging workshop, Radiology Review by Kristopher Maday, MS, PA-C; a packed workshop complete with case studies and reading of real CT scans, x-rays, and other imaging studies. The Leadership Summit Series continues to be a pertinent and wanted resource at our yearly meeting and is valuable material for us as PAs who are looking to advance and invest in the PA profession. Additionally, we were honored with the presence of plastic surgeon, Dr. Sarosh Zafar, with training in microsurgery and reconstructive techniques to teach both our Advanced Wound Closure workshop and Plastic Surgery Update lecture.

Research Poster Presentation

The poster presentations were an exciting addition to our conference and were prominently displayed in the main foyer for all to view. Special thanks to all the submitting authors! Please continue to encourage our fellow students, PAs, NPs, and MDs in their research endeavors. We all have a responsibility to support evidence-based medicine. If you are interested in submitting your research for our next conference, please contact me at [email protected].


Our meeting is always enhanced by the presence of vendors! A complete list can be found in our printed meeting brochure, but included KCI (Acelity), Ethicon, Lincoln Memorial University PA program, and Precision Assist.

Special Thanks

Thank you to all my fellow AASPA board members who did tremendous work to bring about this conference and make everything run smoothly! It took late nights, tedious organization, hundreds of emails, days off work, flying from out of the country, and even flying while nearly full-term pregnant to accomplish all the work. And a special thank you to Linda Kotrba, CEO, and Renee Powell. Linda's hard work in facilitating the inner workings of the conference and her many years of dedication to AASPA are much appreciated!

This year, we were also thrilled to have onsite App help from Russ King and Event Owl technology! A big thank you for helping registration run smoothly and troubleshooting our AASPA App. Although not named here, there are many more individuals that contributed their time and energy to facilitating the meeting. AASPA extends a BIG thank you to everyone!

Where We Are Headed

We look forward to continuing the tradition of AASPA's high quality, inspiring, and cutting-edge CME meeting! It is an incredible opportunity for personal growth, education, networking, and inspiration. All of your feedback from surveys provided at our conference will be used to tailor next year's conference to meet your education needs. AASPA will continue providing high-quality CME and we are looking to also provide advanced workshops in additional areas such as laparoscopic skills and robotics. Stay tuned for updates!

What You Can Do

  • Sign up for next year's conference... bring your friends and family!
  • Get involved. AASPA needs YOU as it's members to continue producing high quality CME
  • Give us feedback. You speak, we listen. Help us tailor our CME conference to meet your educational needs!
  • Submit your research! Be a leader in the PA world and stand on the cutting edge of research.
  • Share AASPA with your coworkers. Let them know how you benefit from AASPA membership! There are few conferences available where you can earn as many as 32.5 Category 1 CME credits in just a few days.