2020 Delegates to the AAPA HOD Candidates
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Candidates Anderson to JacksonCandidates Kuriakose to Sobel


Delegates to the AAPA HOD

12 seats available, including Chief Delegate 

Shinu Kuriakose, DHSc, PA-C

As a PA clinician and educator, one of the biggest challenges faced by NYSSPA remains its visibility and low membership relative to the number of New York licensed PAs. It is imperative that NYSSPA embark on a multipronged approach to solve this issue. Some of the components to help mitigate this challenge would include:

1. Educate various institutions, especially governmental organizations, on the importance of PAs and the value they provide, while providing exceptional care.

2. Engage in advertising the PA profession at the high school and undergraduate college level.
3. Emphasize the importance NYSSPA plays in ensuring that the PAs in New York are able to practice at the top of their license. 

It is important that the various stakeholders, which may influence PA practice in New York, be engaged with on a continued basis while maintaining public confidence in the abilities of PAs.

Cameron Nicholson, PA-C

As a PA student in the AAPA HOD in 2016 I was amazed and intimidated by the leaders of my future profession debating and discussing PA policies. As a PA Student I was awarded the opportunity to serve as a LBGT PA Caucus Student Leader Fellow which launched my strong leadership trajectory and interest in policy work. The following year as a LBGT PA Caucus Director, policy committee member, and Delegate to AAPA, I co-authored two resolutions which became AAPA policy. I now serve as Caucus President-Elect and have served in the HOD each year. In addition to policy work, I serve on the Caucus Student Leader Fellowship Awards Committee, and I enjoy precepting and mentoring students who rotate through the hospitals I work for. 

I have a passion for providing exceptional care to my patients, and I understand the role policy plays for PAs practicing to the extent of their knowledge, education, and training. I have been involved with policy at a national level, and I am familiar with the procedures that take place to make effective change. I have attended the AAPA’s Leadership and Advocacy Summit for the past 2 years to further my engagement and involvement with advancing the PA profession by advocating to our local/state legislators and also attending lectures by our current leaders. Through these lectures I have learned so much on how to grow our state chapters and constituent organizations. I have experience working in board positions, I am familiar with fiduciary responsibilities, and I am comfortable working with different organizations. I have an understanding of what it takes to progress PA practice in New York State and I want to provide the experience I have to do so. I ask you to vote for me to serve the PAs and PA students of New York State by representing NYSSPA in my 5th year in the AAPA HOD.

Kevin OHara, MMSc, MS, PA-C

Please allow me to represent the interests of New York State PAs in the House of Delegates. My experience in AAPA leadership, academic medicine, and autonomous outpatient practice have prepared me to address the complicated issues facing our profession. Moreover, I recognize my presence in the house is to represent the PAs of New York, and not necessarily my own opinions. It is imperative that house of delegate representatives network and learn what is important to PAs throughout the state. The perspective of PAs in all districts and specialties is important to me. Additionally, I recognize the PA profession demographics in New York State are diverse, therefore many cultural perspectives are important to understand.

Given my experience in an autonomous outpatient clinic, I am well informed to advocate and advance optimal team practice. Our inner city and rural clinics need better practice laws to improve patient access. I am concerned about the growth of APRN and PA programs. Few workforce models appreciate the enormous growth of these professions. We must protect our profession from saturation. That being said I recognize there are still primary care shortages in inner city and rural clinics throughout New York. I will advocate for programs that grow clinicians in these areas. I recognize the unique needs of rural medicine clinicians and how AAPA/NYSSPA can impact this important work. I have worked in PA education since 2012 and understand the complex needs of our new graduates and PA programs. The growth of PA doctoral programs and fellowships are not insignificant. It is important for me to learn what PAs in New York State feel about this and bring that to the house. I am in support of profession name change. We do not assist a doctor and the title 'physician assistant' is misleading to the public.

Maureen Regan, PA-C, MBA, FACHE

I have been involved with advocacy and advancement of the PA profession for the majority of my career. While it has been a very rewarding experience both personally and professionally, there is still much work to be done. Medicine has become a very complex entity, both clinically and as a business. It continues to amaze and frustrate me how PAs can practice in very high acuity disciplines, some disciplines which did not exist 10-15 years ago, yet we cannot do some basic administrative responsibilities related to taking care of our patients. These unnecessary administrative barriers are a priority at the state and national level. My involvement as a past delegate has also afforded the AAPA the opportunity to engage with the American College of Healthcare Executives, a national body that educates healthcare leaders from all phases of healthcare delivery….operations, medical informatics, population health, human resources and more. The PA profession needs to be represented at and beneficiaries of the efforts of the ACHE.

The work of the AAPA House of Delegates is vitally important, it is the voice of practicing PAs across the country. The work is both functional and visionary. As PA practice is determined at the state level it is the work of each State constituent organization to enact AAPA scope of practice policies. NYSSPA has made significant progress at the state and regional level establishing key relationships with stakeholders and educating those who don’t truly understand our practice statutes. The AAPA has done the same. I thank my Board colleagues and Committee Chairs who donate many volunteer hours to accomplish this. During my recent tenure as President, NYSSPA has brought many resolutions to the AAPA HOD to ensure that current and future generations of stakeholders are aware of a PAs education and training and our economic value to healthcare delivery. It is vitally important to have a continuity link between NYSSPA and the AAPA which is why I seek your vote as a NYSSPA Delegate to the AAPA House of Delegates. Allow me to take this opportunity to thank each of you for what you do every day for the patients of NY, especially in our “new normal” as it relates to COVID 19. 

Melissa Rodriguez, DMSc, PA-C

Every day since starting my PA career, I have felt blessed to be a part of such a great profession. Throughout the years, there have been several legislative victories that we should be proud of as a profession. Still, we continue to identify barriers, and I plan to help move our PA agenda forward and remove the unnecessary barriers that impede care to those most in need. PAs inhabit a space in healthcare where we have a broad primary care base but can also specialize in acute care, surgical specialties, oncology management, and even leadership roles. We also have a team-focus, which is proven to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety. While PA practice is vastly diverse, we are uniquely situated to be the solution to the current healthcare crisis due to our versatility and clinical knowledge. By participating in AAPA’s leadership and advocacy summit and the NYSSPA Lobby Day for consecutive years, I was able to see first-hand what it takes to advocate for our profession. Fortunately, I was also able to witness the intense work our PA leaders contribute to our profession each day, mainly through the Government Affairs Committee and the Executive Leadership Conference. I will use what I have learned thus far to advance our legislative goals, work on removing barriers to care and prioritize improving public understanding of the crucial contributions PAs make in healthcare each day.

Joanna Sacks, PA-C

I’m declaring my interest in serving as a member of the HOD on behalf of PAs in NY. I have been a practicing PA for the last 16 years, and I’m one part of a two PA household. I have watched for several years as my husband advocated tirelessly for our profession, while my focus had been on clinical leadership. In this current climate the importance of every PA getting more involved and hands on in professional advocacy is paramount and I’ve put my name forward because I’m ready to step up. Mike (my husband) and I have no alternate source of income, and the success of this profession is what feeds, and will continue to feed our children. You can expect that will motivate my commitment to this position should you elect me to fill it.

Mike Sacks, DMSc, PA-C

When I had planned to declare my intent to represent you at the HOD, I had intended to go into great depth and make the case, for both why I’m interested in this seat, and why you should be interested in my filling it. In the weeks since, like for many of you, my world has been completely shaken. My practice in the New Rochelle area, was hit hard by this pandemic from the onset and in the time since I’ve found little opportunity to sit down and make my case. In light of current events please accept the following as my declaration.

Since my first semester of PA school I have served the PAs of NY, and NYSSPA in one capacity or another. As one part of a two PA household the betterment of this profession is at the very top of my priorities. If you elect me to fill this role I will continue as I always have, serving this profession with every bit of energy within me.

Inessa Shlifer, PA-C

I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1986 I entered the Medical College for PAs. I was on the Dean's List from 1986-1989, received a College Scholarship for Academic Excellence from 1986-1989 and became a permanent Member of the Honor List for Excellence. I graduated with honors and received my PA degree in 1989. In 1990, I came to the USA and began to pursue my Bachelor of Science degree. I did my undergraduate studies at Long Island University and was on Dean's List from 1992-1993. In August of 1995 I graduated from the PA Program of Long Island University/The Brooklyn Hospital Center. I developed my passion for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery while studying at the PA Program and made a choice to pursue a carrier in this field.

My first job as a PA was at Maimonides Medical Center in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department. I studied along with doctors that were enrolled in the Fellowship of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and together we made rounds on surgical and medical floors, scrubbed for surgeries and did clinical consultations with new patients. After a year of intense studying I decided to go into private practice. I begun to work as an independent contractor with two Plastic Surgeons and twenty three years later both practices were very successful. A few years ago we had one more Plastic Surgeon join one of the practices and on her first surgical encounter she realized the importance of having a PA. All three Surgeons that I work with understand and fully appreciate the value of PA by their side. Our education, knowledge, competence and reliability makes us the most valuable source that any Plastic Surgeon wish and hope to have. Many times we would have Follows or other Plastic Surgeons to come to our both offices and all of them would ask how they can find "such an assistance." What I do, as any other PA in our field does, is what otherwise would take another Plastic Surgeon. Together we plan, execute and follow up, we make procedures go faster, smoother and safer.

I held a Secretary, President and Past President position of APSPA. My term as a Past President is coming to an end and I would like to serve NYSSPA as a Delegate for the AAPA House of Delegates. In the last years I acquired the leadership skills and what it takes to balance my professional, private and volunteer jobs. During the last four years I have been attending LAS that AAPA holds every year in Washington DC. At the summit we discuss important for profession topics. We share and learn how to lead our constituent organizations. I spoke at length with our current and past Presidents and numerous leaders of AAPA. They all share one common trait - passion for our profession and they work every day to position PAs to where we should be to benefit us and our patients. Presently I serve on a Surgical Task Force for AAPA to prepare a platform that would allow PAs extend their scope of practice, widen their job description and let us practice at the level of our expertise that many PAs acquired during their extensive surgical years.

Jonathan Sobel, DMSc, PA-C, MBA

As a member of the AAPA Board of Directors since 2015, I worked hard to see OTP approved by the House of Delegates and then funded by the BOD. It is imperative that we continue our national support for this initiative which levels the playing field for PAs amongst other health care providers. One thing that continues to hold our progress back is our professional title.  

I had the opportunity to champion the AAPA Title Change Investigation and I look forward to the full report to the HOD in May. The actions of our chapter delegates in debating and deciding the outcome for our professional title is paramount to the continued success of our profession. As delegate, I will work tirelessly to see that any policy adopted to change our title and rebrand our profession is done with the utmost thought and careful consideration.


Candidates Anderson to Jackson |  Candidates Kuriakose to Sobel



P: 917-679-4005
E: info@nysspa.org