Keynote Speaker 2010

Keynote Speaker, Memorial Day Service 2010, Atlanta, GA

Vicki Chan-Padgett, PAC, MPAS
Director and Associate Professor
School of Physician Assistant Studies
Touro University Nevada

There is an old Chinese curse that goes: “May you live in interesting times.”  The last 15 years have indeed been interesting, for our nation, our Armed Forces, our profession, and our Caucus.


We have gone from a victorious nation at peace to a wounded nation at war.  We have seen a new generation of physician assistants step forward to answer the call of their nation, who are carrying on the tradition of service to country and humanity, who continue to put service above self.  We in the Veterans Caucus have welcomed and will continue to embrace this new generation of veterans.  We know where they have been, for we have been down the same path, bound similar wounds, comforted the sick, wounded, and dying.


On the morning of September 11th, 2001,  a day that dawned bright and clear but ended in smoke and dust, members of this caucus were not found wanting.  Mary Ann Ramos, at the Pentagon, ran INTO the fire and smoke – instead of away from it – to give first aid, organize survivors, and give what care she could with the little she had available.  Closer to Ground Zero in New York, caucus member Gordon Huie was to meet his sister at the World Trade Center.  Instead, he saw the towers fall and putting aside personal anguish, organized a makeshift clinic in a cafeteria across from the Trade Center, where he triaged and stabilized patients.


Shortly after 9-11 the longest war in our history began, as our nation took the fight to the enemy, and those who would support him.  Physician assistants acting as battalion surgeons formed the vital first link in medical care for the wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. Riding in APCs, going over mountain trails, on the flight line or on board ship, PAs were in the vanguard, and also in the critical support role.  Actions of military PAs and the heroism they have displayed are well documented.  Some, like my husband who became the Public Health Officer for Baghdad, found themselves doing their best to try to repair a broken and outmoded health care system.  As violence escalated, their efforts meant that many indigenous people survived who would otherwise not have had care.


2005 saw our first military PA, CPT Sean Grimes, killed in action.  There would be others.  The same year also saw the father of our profession, Dr. Eugene Stead, pass into history.


As our nation has suffered loss in past years, so have we in the Veterans Caucus.  We have seen the final post for our brothers Dave “Bubba” Gwinn, Tom Lemly, and Ken Gartzke, to name but three.  It is hard to overstate the value that these men brought to our profession, their branches of service, and to this caucus. We have also seen the loss of a son, Craig Ivory, who put on the uniform like his father before him and died while serving his country.  Their departure leaves a space in our ranks that cannot be easily filled.  But like the standard bearers of previous wars, someone – one of us – will step forward to grasp the flag, lest it fall.  We are inspired by them, but we close ranks and continue the mission.


But the past 15 years have also brought us reasons for celebration.  We have had some great weddings (mine included) at our Topics in the Tropics conferences. We have awarded many thousands of dollars in scholarships for veteran PA students, we continue our annual quality CME program, Topics in the Tropics, where education and fun co-exist and great memories are made.  Over the years, attendees at the Topics conferences have made things a little better in the host countries through generous donations to local shelters and orphanages.


The caucus has, and continues to recognize, the contributions of outstanding physician assistants, both uniformed and civilian, through its annual recognition awards here at our ceremony.  You know these men and women.  Their exemplary service and commitment continue to inspire us long after the applause has died away.


Through newsletter articles and CME presentations by its Veterans Health Care Committee, the Veterans Caucus has been active in informing the public and the profession about health concerns of veterans, to include such problems as PTSD, Agent Orange, traumatic brain injury and conditions at veterans’ hospitals.


At the 20th anniversary for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, four caucus members travelled to Washington DC to stand honor guard while all 58,000 names were read, showing the caucus support for those who have fallen.


Our Memorial Day services have, in the past 15 years, continued to grow in attendance and scope.  We have recognized the contributions of such diverse groups as minority PAs to women in uniform to Special Operations forces.  We took time out to recognize that group who gives of themselves most of all: the families of our military and veterans.  We saw Major Lucinda Wilson, the daughter of our Caucus President, speak of her deployment after returning from 14 months in operation Iraqi Freedom.  We were- and are- all very proud of her.


We are also proud that the first physician assistant to be named a flag officer in the uniformed services, is a long time member of our caucus.  ADM Mike Milner has a long record of service both to the United States Public Health Service and the Veterans Caucus.  ADM Milner has our support and admiration as he continues his efforts to make this nation healthier for all.


For me, there are a few things that tie the last 15 years of Veterans Caucus history together.  These can be viewed in terms of what General McArthur said to a West Point graduating class years ago. Those are simply Duty, Honor, and Country.


We see our duty as Americans, as PAs, as colleagues and mentors.  And we do that duty.  Not because we are compelled, but because it is the right thing to do.


We honor the service, sacrifice, courage and vision of those who have pioneered our profession, of all American and Allied veterans –especially this Memorial Day.  We honor the genuine heroes in our profession and in this room, and we honor the memory of those brothers and sisters who have gone on.


Country.  Our country, that for which so many have given so much.  Sometimes it is difficult to define why we feel compelled to put on the uniform, eat bad food, get no sleep, march in the rain, and maybe have unappreciative people try to put holes in our anatomy.  But if you have worn that uniform, you understand.


We have accomplished much, and there is more to do.  As long as the veteran returns from the fight and has need of us, the Veterans Caucus will welcome him or her with camaraderie, friendship and service. And maybe even a beer!  As we look back on the last 15 years of the Caucus, indeed the last 30, we can look back with pride, a little laughter, and some tears, too.


Sir Isaac Newton, speaking of the development of science in his generation, used a phrase that we can certainly apply to the Veterans Caucus: “I can see this far because I stand on the shoulders of giants.”


FEDERAL REGISTER – Camp Legune – Jan 13, 2017

FEDERAL REGISTER – Camp Legune – Jan 13, 2017

Diseases Associated With Exposure to Contaminants in the Water Supply at Camp Lejeune

82 FR 4173 - A Rule by the Veterans Affairs Department published on 01/13/2017

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its adjudication regulations regarding presumptive service connection, adding certain diseases associated with contaminants present in the base water supply at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Camp Lejeune), North Carolina, from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987. This final rule establishes that veterans, former reservists, and former National Guard members, who served at Camp Lejeune for no less than 30 days (consecutive or...  SEE LINK ABOVE FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION


Lifetime Membership

Lifetime Membership Availability

The Board of Directors has approved the option for Lifetime Membership to the Veterans Caucus for a limit period of time for the following categories: Fellow, Affiliate and Associate Members. See the Membership menu option for further information. Effective 1/1/2015 the Lifetime Membership fee will be $300.00. (11/9/2010)

Caucus or Not to Caucus?

Caucus or Not to Caucus?

What is a “caucus” and what do they do? Webster’s defines “Caucus” as 1) part of a legislative process; 2) any meeting or group organized to further a special interest or cause. The AAPA has several Special Interest Caucuses who support various issues. So AAPA members who are veterans, friends or family of veterans, care for veterans, or are simply interested in veteran’s health or any veteran’s issues are eligible to become a member of the Veteran’s Caucus (known from this point as “the Caucus”) of the AAPA.

To read more: Caucus or Not to Caucus?

Women in Uniform Print

Women in Uniform

New in the Veterans Caucus Store

a signed, numbered print of "Women in Uniform" by artist Don Pedersen, PA.  The print is 18"x24" and perfect for framing. A limited number are available at this time.

It celebrates the many roles played by women over the years in service to their country. The print has been signed by many women veterans.

Offered in the Veterans Caucus Store for $75.00 (including S&H). $50.00 of each sale with be donated to the efforts to expand and upgrade the John McElligott Veterans Memorial Garden at the Eugene A. Stead, Jr. Center for Physician Assistants located in Durham, NC.



Effective immediately, the Veterans Caucus is offering free membership to ALL veterans enrolled in a Physician Assistant Training program. Use this link to JOIN US.

The Veterans Caucus hopes this will become the start of a long realtionship between the Caucus and you.

Frederick C. Brace, III, PA-C, DFAAPA
Veterans Caucus of the AAPA

Date posted 1/25/2016

Veterans Garden Pavers

Subject:  Purchase a Paver to Honor PA Veterans and PAs in the Uniformed Services

Donation of brick for Bubba Gwinn scanned info.pdf page 1
On October 15, 2016, landscaping and construction will begin to upgrade the Veteran Memorial Garden at the Eugene A. Stead, Jr. Center for Physician Assistants into a place of remembrance for Physician Assistants who are veterans or who are currently serving in the uniformed services of the USA.   The PA History Society welcomes all to become a part of this wonderful event by purchasing name engraved brick pavers to be embedded in the wheelchair accessible walkway and the patio area surrounding the life-size bronze combat medic statue and flagpole, the centerpiece of the garden. 

  Beginning July 1st 2016 through October 1, 2016 we are offering the opportunity to purchase a 9x9 inch named engraved brick pavers to PAs who are veterans or who are on active duty for $100 each.  We have the capacity to embed 400 pavers in the sidewalk and patio, so please do not delay in purchasing pavers so that your name or that of someone you want to honor is displayed prominently in the garden.  The insignia of your branch of service, name and date of service can be engraved on the paver.  For more information on this project, and to  order your pavers, please visit  the PA History Website at