If you are eligible to vote in this year's Veterans Caucus Election, you will receive an email with the directions and link for online voting.
Mark F. McKinnon
I am honored to be considered to serve as the President-Elect for the Veterans’ Caucus Board. I am a long-time Life Member of the Veterans’ Caucus and have previously served on the Board of Directors in several capacities, most recently as the President, Secretary and Member of the Executive Committee.
I am a veteran of three uniformed services (Marines, Navy and U.S. Public Health Service), having retired in 2017 from the USPHS after approximately 25 years of active duty service. In retirement, I made the transition to the PA education and served as the Program Director for the PA Program at the Towson University/Community College of Baltimore County-Essex. During my tenure, I strived to increase the awareness of the veteran friendly program.
Since my graduation from the George Washington University PA Program, I have been deeply involved in several constituent organizations. I have served a variety of positions within the Wisconsin Academy of PAs, Maryland Academy of PAs, Public Health Service Academy of PAs and the Veteran’s Caucus. Service within the Wisconsin, Maryland and Public Health Service organizations culminated as the President for each.
At the national level, I have served in the AAPA House of Delegates on an annual basis for the last 16 years. I have served on the Government Affairs and Reimbursement Committee, Clinical and Scientific Affairs Committee, Nominating Work Group and the HOD Standing Rules committee. I have also served as the Chairperson for the Federal Affairs and the Nomination Workgroups.
As a disabled veteran, I am intimately familiar with the Veteran’s Compensation and Pension process and truly understand the challenges that veterans experience in accessing and navigating the VA Health Care System, a system that PAs are an integral part of in many capacities.
As we all know, the PA profession grew out of the uniformed services and their veterans and veterans continue to serve throughout the Nation as PAs. Unfortunately, now there are numerous access barriers that veterans stumble across when attempting to enter our profession. As an educator and former program director, I support institutional programs to assist our veterans in entering the PA Programs. These initiatives need to be addressed and adapted at the national level to ensure an increased number of experienced veterans entering our profession.
In regards to the veteran population at large, we need to strive to improve the health care provided and the amount of time that is required to process a new service connected claim. Suicide continues to plaque our veteran population and resources, to include Physician Assistants, need to be trained and deployed against this ever growing epidemic.
If elected, I promise to serve the constituents with diligence and dedication.
Mark F. McKinnon, DHSc, PA-C
My name is T.J. Bonjour and I am running for Treasurer, 2024-2028.
I am a Midwest native, having grown up in Northwest Arkansas and entered the military in
1988. I am a retired US Air Force Physician Associate after nearly 30 years of service.
I have been a PA for 25 years and have cherished every moment of it. My experience
is well grounded and proven working difficult issues with a team-based approach.
Organizational leadership is challenging at times with limited personnel and fiscal
constraints; therefore, this is where I feel my skill set will be beneficial to the Veterans
Caucus further building on my previous experience as the Caucus President in 2020-
2021 and again 2022-2023.
I believe in servant leadership and truly strive to lead by example strengthening
personal and organizational ties for the greater good of our profession and our fellow
man…...especially Veterans who have served our great country. I am a 1999 graduate
of the Interservice Physician Assistant (PA) Program and completed my Emergency
Medicine PA Fellowship in 2006 followed by completing my Doctor of Science from
Baylor University in 2012. I have had multiple overseas deployments, humanitarian
missions, and leadership positions. It is from this experience I continually draw to move
I currently serve as the Associate Dean of Graduate Allied Health Education at a
large DoD GME platform with 700 physicians and Graduate Allied Health specialists
and multiple university associate professor responsibilities. My additional experience as
the Air Force’s PA Graduate Education Manager and Emergency Medicine PA Program
Director has paved the way mentoring trainees and colleagues alike in challenging
healthcare systems. I have been involved in service, command, and board-level
discussions including decision-making that continued to offer PAs further professional
opportunities beyond the exam room. Overseeing 22 graduate allied health specialties is
is challenging and I have always tried to keep an open dialogue with all stakeholders so
we can work together at critical times. The bottom line is safe and effective Medical care.
With a collaborative attitude in mind, I believe the Veterans Caucus must
continue to impact and foster the AAPA relationship with new and upcoming legislative
efforts designed to improve PA practice. We will also need to continue to reach out to
our national legislators to help craft legislation expanding veteran care removing PA
practice restrictions…. especially within the Veterans Affairs practice environment. It is
here and addressing these elements and an effort to provide PAs with the best practice
environment to the maximizing our training, licensing, and privileging.
I have enjoyed working with the Veterans Caucus in the past overseeing
increased membership, growing financial stability including the pursuit of a Caucus
endowment, high-quality CME, fostering industry partnerships showcasing our
organization, and ultimately presiding over scholarship funding going directly to our
future and well-deserving PA colleagues. I would be honored to continue this
relationship as we move forward together on this journey caring for our Veteran
colleagues. I presently reside in San Antonio, TX with my lovely wife, Sarah, our 3
beautiful children, and two grandchildren and plan to stay here upon retirement.
Complacency and the status quo are harmful to any organization. It is my
commitment to challenge future Veterans Caucus leadership and continue our vector to
a better and brighter future.
T.J. Bonjour, PA-C, DScEM
My name is Nancy C. Debranski-Ferrell, and I am running for the position of Affiliate Director at Large. I am proud to say that I have previously served as the first non-military member on the board after being elected to this position two years ago.
Since then, I have been assigned to two committees, the CME Committee and the Charity Committee. At the beginning of this year, I took over as the Chairman of the CME Committee and have been actively involved in planning and accreditation of this year's Topics in The Tropics in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. My responsibilities have included recruiting speakers and collecting information in a timely fashion for accreditation. I have also acted as a liaison between the resort and the Caucus to deal with questions, problems, and concerns that arose during the registration and planning process. I have always strived to deal with people efficiently and in a caring and considerate manner.
This year, I became more involved with the Charity aspect of our work, working alongside the resort to find a suitable charity and to ensure that our mission is fulfilled with the help of the resort. If re-elected, I plan on continuing in these roles or whatever may be needed.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Nancy C. Debranski-Ferrell
Directors-at-Large (Fellow) 2024-2026
My name is Kurtis Manley, and I am a Physician Assistant residing and working in
Kingman, Arizona and I am running for the office of Director at Large for Veterans
Caucus of the AAPA. I am currently employed at More MD Kingman where, in addition
to my primary responsibility as a provider, I am also the Practice Manager.
I proudly served 26 years of active duty in the United States Navy, earning my
commission as a Naval Officer upon graduating from the Interservice Physician
Assistant Program with a Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies. During my
time on active duty, I gained experience in a wide range of medical care across a
variety of job assignments, but the bulk of my practice was in primary care. As a PA in a
rural setting, I have been able to utilize that experience and am enjoying the increase in
independence, freedom and flexibility. I also feel that in my current position in an
independent practice, I have more autonomy in my career and the treatment of my
patients than I would in a larger facility.
I have been a member of the Veterans Caucus for the last 10 years and during that time I
have learned a great deal about the structure and function of Caucus. I am an effective
leader, as my experience as an Independent Duty Corpsman, a Naval Officer, and in
independent clinics have provided me with the tools to define goals, enlist support and
implement action plans.
Our current and previous leadership has provided the Veterans Caucus with
phenomenal leadership during a time of exciting change and growth. I look forward to
the opportunity to continue that vision. My initial goal is to increase growth within the
Caucus starting at my local level and then moving onto the state levels. I would like to
see more veteran PA’s be involved with the Caucus and by extension, in the
improvement and growth of the profession.
I have learned to appreciate that there are numerous individuals within the organization
that can provide mentorship, both to me and other PA’s. It is this kind of professional
and personal growth of individuals that will benefit the profession as a whole. I see the
privilege of serving the Veterans Caucus mission as a way for me to pay it forward to
other PA’s and students, and to continue with the vision that the Caucus has
established —just like those who mentored me.
Thank you for considering me for this position and I appreciate your support.
Student Director (Board Appointed)
Student--University of North Texas Health Science Center
- Present of the Student Veteran's Organization
- Class of 2024 President
- Tactical Medic Interest Group Treasurer