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PA of the Year
South Carolina Physician Assistants of the Year
 

The PA profession has grown, matured, and readily accepted by patients, healthcare administration and physician communities because of the dedication of many compassionate, dedicated clinical practicing PAs. Each year SCAPA considers nominations for the PA of the Year and each year we struggle with making the selection since there are many PAs who meet the criteria.

The candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Evidence of commitment to the PA profession.
  • Evidence of outreach to individual PAs, PA students, or aspiring PA students 
  • Evidence of championing the PA cause.
Below are the announcements for each of the recipients of the award since its inception in 2001.

 

2016
Ann-Marie Rader

Ann-Marie Rader was named SCAPA’s 2016 PA of the Year during the SCAPA Sweetheart Express Conference in February, and SCAPA made a $500 contribution to the Elizabeth Gouge Scholarship Fund in Ann-Marie’s name.

 

In presenting the award, SCAPA’s 2015 recipient, Gabby Poole, extolled Ann-Marie’s many contributions to SCAPA and the PA profession. “Ann-Marie has demonstrated her commitment to our profession through several different avenues: her commitment to the leadership of SCAPA, her willingness to serve as a preceptor to PA students and aspiring PA students, her devotion to her patients, and her dedication to teaching PAs and PA students on global mission trips.”

 

Ann-Marie served as a leader on the SCAPA board for many years, beginning as the Student Representative for her class and then transitioning after graduation from MUSC in 2006 to the Lowcountry Area Representative where she served for many years, organizing monthly dinner meetings to educate PAs in the area about the initiatives of SCAPA. During her tenure on the SCAPA board, she was always prepared for meetings, offering insightful suggestions and ideas for our leadership.

 

Ann-Marie has spent her entire career as a PA working in a rural health community in St. Stephens, SC. Together with her supervising physician, she has dedicated countless hours to the patients at North Berkeley Family Practice and truly cares about those who are underserved.  She is also devoted to teaching students and preparing them for clinical practice and always has a student working alongside her and her supervising physician.  Because she works in a rural health community center, Ann-Marie is really able to give students a valuable learning experience and challenges them to give excellent patient care to those less fortunate, to study about things they do not know, to apply the things that they do know and to become more confident practitioners.

 

In addition to her normal 8-5 job at Berkley Family Practice, Ann-Marie has been participating on and leading medical mission trips since she was a PA student. She has led over 10 trips to Togo, West Africa where she has worked alongside Pioneers Togo. She has a heart and a passion for the people of Togo and for the ministry of Pioneers Togo. She is dedicated to sharing their story with people here and bringing new people to Togo on her mission trips each year. She is also dedicated to training and raising up new leaders for these mission trips, which is essential to the future success of the program.

 

2015

Gabby Poole

 

Gabby Poole was named SCAPA’s 2015 PA of the Year during the SCAPA Fall CME Conference in October. In presenting the award, SCAPA President Megan Fulton extolled Gabby’s many contributions to SCAPA and thanked her personally for her mentorship during the past year.

           

Gabby has been a SCAPA member since 2007 when she joined as a student member.  She is a 2009 graduate of the MUSC PA Program and has been active in leadership since graduation serving as Upstate Area Rep, Communications Chair, Vice President, President-Elect, President, and now the coveted role of Past President.

 

As Upstate Area Rep, Gabby was responsible for establishing a professional network of PA’s across all areas of medicine that meet regularly over dinner for professional development and to discuss issues relevant to our profession. As Communications Chair, Gabby spearheaded development of SCAPA’s new website and worked alongside Janet Jordan to give our website a much needed facelift. As a result of this hard work, SCAPA was recognized by the AAPA and awarded the 2014 award for Optimizing the PA Profession. Gabby traveled to Boston to represent SCAPA at their annual Leadership Banquet and gave an acceptance speech that highlighted all of the hard work that PA's are doing here in South Carolina. In addition to speaking on behalf of SCAPA, Gabby spent time networking with leaders from multiple state organizations and discussing ways to make sure SCAPA remains one of the nation’s top constituent organizations.

 

Gabby has always felt one of the biggest challenges for SCAPA is the presence of new PA's in leadership positions. As President, she made it one of her main goals to reach out to PA's across our state and get them more heavily involved in the leadership of SCAPA. She encouraged each committee chair to get their committees more involved in the activities and decisions that impact our profession. In doing so, she increased the number of PA's taking active roles within the organization and played a huge role in making sure SCAPA is on track to sustain growth and make positive steps forward in the future.

 

Gabby also serves on MUSC's Advanced Practice Professional Task Force where she is an active voice and representation for PA's at MUSC. In addition to all of the hard work that she does for SCAPA and MUSC, she dedicates a large amount of her free time to global medical missions. She and her husband lead a medical mission trip once a year to Togo, West Africa to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of those people living in the remote villages in Africa.

 

Congratulations Gabby and thank you for all you do!


2014
Tim Stuart

 

Tim Stuart, PA-C is the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants 2014 PA of the Year. The award was announced and presented during the SCAPA annual conference held at Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms. This award honors physician assistants who demonstrate exemplary service to the PA profession, their community, and furthers the image of physician assistants.

 

Tim is a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina class of 2004. He has remained in South Carolina practicing as an independent contractor in emergency medicine, family practice, pediatrics and urgent care. He is an unrelenting advocate for our profession at both the state and national levels. Tim is a valued member of SCAPA. In addition to being involved in clinical practice since 2004, Tim has found time to represent the PAs of South Carolina in the AA PA House of Delegates where he actively engaged and shared his insight about issues and contributed to the debate on issues of national scope. For the past several years, he was an active member of the South Carolina Health and Human Services committee which deals with positioning our state to provide healthcare to the Medicaid population. Tim served SCAPA as President and was an exemplary leader. During his leadership role, he also served on the legislative committee and played a pivotal part in the Modernization of the PA Practice Act.

 

Being one who understands that “Give Back” philosophy, Tim serves as a preceptor for students from the Medical University of South Carolina Physician Assistant Program. He has been described as an exemplary teacher, mentor, and role model. This past year, Tim was also presented with the Preceptor of the Year award from the Medical University of South Carolina PA Program.

 

We are truly fortunate to have someone with Tim's energy and commitment to our profession and to the delivery of healthcare for the citizens of South Carolina. Congratulations Tim!

 

2013
Sean Irvin

Sean Irvin, PA-C, physician assistant at Upstate Bone and Joint, a Baptist Easley Physician Practice, was named the recipient of this year’s Physician Assistant of the Year award. The award honors physician assistants who demonstrate exemplary service to the PA profession and the community and who further the image of physician assistants.

Each year the South Carolina Academy receives nominations for the PA of the Year. The nomination materials must include a written rationale or biographical abstract detailing how the nominee meets the award’s criteria and why the nominee is deserving of the award. The recipient must be a Fellow member of SCAPA, in good standing for a minimum of five years with SCAPA, BME, or NCCPA and whose contributions span the entire career of the individual. The criteria include the following: 1. Evidence of recognition by all segments of the PA Profession and by others. 2. Evidence of commitment to the PA profession. 3. Evidence of championing the PA cause. 4. Evidence of time spent educating and influencing others in support of the PA profession. 5. Evidence of outreach to individual PAs and PA students. 6. Demonstrated speaking and/or writing skills.

Mr. Irvin, a native of Hartsville, SC, has over 35 years of Orthopedic Surgery experience. As a PA working in a surgical subspecialty and Chair of the Reimbursement Committee in 2007, he recognized inconsistencies in the reimbursement of PAs for their services provided in the operating room and was instrumental in launching an initiative to obtain reimbursement for PAs in this area. He has also been named an MUSC Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient, which is given annually to one or more graduates of the MUSC College of Health Professions in recognition of outstanding professional achievement; service to their profession, the community, the college, or the university; excellence in leadership, professional growth, or educational advancement or service. Mr. Irvin was also responsible for setting up the Elizabeth P. Gouge Memorial Physician Assistant Scholarship Fund, and so it seems rather fitting that as part of being named the PA of the Year, a contribution in the recipient’s name is made to this scholarship fund.

Upon receiving the award, Mr. Irvin stated, “First, I was truly humbled being chosen for this award! I’ve always considered myself a ‘worker bee’ and try to stay out of the limelight. There are many members in our midst that I know are far more deserving of this award than I am. SCAPA has been blessed with many members that were instrumental in forming the profession we enjoy today in South Carolina. Going from a group that was required to take a narrative type of state board exam to the prescriptive privileges we have and the presence we have on the SCBME PA Committee today reflects the committed mission SCAPA has obtained over the years. I’m sure this is just the beginning of what will be accomplished as we enter a new phase of healthcare. Thank you again for this wonderful award!”
 
 
2012
Victor Gomez
 

Victor Gomez, PA-C, received the 2012 Physician Assistant of the Year Award on October 8th from the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants. This award honors physician assistants who demonstrate exemplary service to the PA profession and the community, and further the image of physician assistants.

 

"The South Carolina Academy of PAs is an integral part of the PA community. Elected leaders in the academy volunteer their personal time and work incredibly hard behind the scenes all year to promote the profession in many ways. Our state academy strives to promote quality, cost-effective, accessible, patient-centered health care within a physician-led team,” said Victor. "When I think back to all the recipients of this award in the recent past, to all their contributions and accomplishments, I am very humbled and honored to have been nominated by my colleagues and given this award by our state academy.”

 

Victor joined Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery earlier this year and was instrumental in setting up Lexington Medical Center’s first cardiovascular surgery unit. Prior to coming to Lexington, Victor worked as a cardiovascular PA in Greenville, NC and Florence and Columbia, SC. He has more than 12 years of experience in minimally invasive endoscopic vein harvesting, a procedure allowing the veins for coronary bypass surgery to be harvested from a keyhold incision on the leg.

 

Victor is active at both the state and national level for the PA profession. During the past five years, he has demonstrated determination in seeking and achieving insurance reimbursement for surgical PAs as the co-chair of the SCAPA Reimbursement Committee in 2008 and as chair since 2009. In 2007, he was elected as a state representative to the AAPA House of Delegates and became chief delegate in 2010. He also led the efforts to organize the Pee Dee area, serving as the local area representative from 2008 to 2011.

 
 
2011
CJ Parris
 

CJ Parris was named by the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants as PA of Year for 2011. His practice of Nephrology provided him an avenue to provide care to a very challenging population and while doing so he became active in the efforts of the National Kidney Foundation. CJ shares his expertise as a speaker on chronic kidney disease, as he works to help his fellow PAs be champions of kidney disease prevention. He served as president of the SC Chapter of the National Kidney Foundation. This achievement gives credit to his talent, knowledge and advocacy for patient care and PAs.

 

As a preceptor, CJ has been a mentor to many of the practicing PAs in South Carolina and has influenced many young people to seek a career as a physician assistant. The second year PA students who have worked with him obtain a deep appreciate and respect for internal medicine working with him providing compassionate care. The PA students often comment on the respect which he receives from his fellow PAs and physician partners. CJ regularly refers potential PA students to the SCAPA office for shadowing information and information on how to become a PA.

 

CJ has also served SCAPA in many capacities, culminating in his election as SCAPA president in 2003 and serving for 3 years. He was instrumental in the growth of SCAPA which afforded the organization the opportunity to hire an executive director. He was also engaged in the process of selecting a lobbyist that began the process of improving the SC PA Practice Act. The hiring of Ted Riley, Esq. to represent the interests of SCAPA led to the expanded prescriptive privileges for SC PAs.

 

CJ Parris exemplifies the qualifications deserving of SCAPA’s PA of the Year. He is an excellent speaker and writer. He is recognized by all segments of the PA profession and other symbiotic groups. His level of commitment to the PA profession and his patients is unmatched. He is a true champion of the PA cause. He has dedicated himself to educating people about the PA profession, and he has mentored and influenced many students to become PAs.

 
2010
Paul Jacques
 

Paul Jacques, DHSc, MEd, PA-C, associate professor and interim director of the MUSC Division of Physician Assistant Studies, has been named by the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants (SCAPA) as the Physician Assistant of the Year for 2010. The award, given annually to honor a physician assistant (PA) who demonstrates exemplary service to the PA profession and the community, was presented to Dr. Jacques in October by last year’s recipient, Michael Overcash, during SCAPA’s 2010 Fall CME Conference held at Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms.

 

Dr. Jacques is in his fourth decade of practice as a PA and has twenty years service, concurrently, in administration and instruction in PA education. Jacques plays an essential part in the MUSC PA Studies Division, and his enhancements of the program have raised it to the national standard for Physician Assistant studies. The MUSC program now rivals any in the country. In addition to his work on clinical curriculum development, Dr. Jacques is responsible for procuring grants totaling millions of dollars for use in promoting such important public health issues as tobacco cessation, Enhancement of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and advancement of the PA degree to the level of Master of Science.

 

For the past eight years, South Carolina PAs have come to know him as a tireless and effective promoter of South Carolina Physician Assistant practice and practice law. He has authored and co-authored effective legislation concerning prescription authority and supervisory oversight, increasing access to care for those who otherwise may not have care available, and raised public and political awareness of the profession to the benefit of all.

 

Through all of these outstanding efforts, Dr. Jacques represents what PAs are striving for across SC and the nation. Upon receiving the award, Dr. Jacques stated, "I’m honored to be recognized as the SCAPA PA of the Year for what I believe is my small contributions to some amazing things. The accomplishments of the profession could only be achieved with everyone’s involvement towards the overall goal—access to quality, patient-centered health care.”

 
2009
Michael Overcash
 

Charleston dermatology physician assistant Michael Overcash, PA-C, MPAS, has been named by SCAPA as the Physician Assistant of the Year for 2009. The award is given annually to honor a physician assistant who demonstrates exemplary service to the PA profession and the community. A ceremony was held on Monday, October 12, at the 2009 SCAPA Fall CME Conference at Wild Dunes Resort. 2008 PA of the Year Arnie Metz presented Overcash with the award.

 

Overcash graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina PA program in August of 2002. Soon after graduating from MUSC and beginning his job at Trident Dermatology, he received his Masters degree in Dermatology from the University of Nebraska. He is the founder and immediate past president of the South Carolina Association of PAs in Dermatology (SCAPAID) and successfully lobbied for the approval of Dermatology PAs in SC to legally start appropriating patients on Accutane. He serves as a preceptor in Dermatology to numerous PAs and medical residents throughout the year.

 

Additionally, Overcash's volunteer work throughout the world has made him a role model for PAs everywhere. Several times a year he takes groups of PA students, doctors, nurses, and other volunteers overseas to serve on medical missions. His missions reach the underserved in Central and South America and West, East, and South Africa, Jamaica and Vietnam. During each mission, the team performs medical check-ups and procedures on more than 1,000 patients with illnesses ranging from the minor cold to tumors requiring surgery. He is not only the leader of these missions, but also serves as a mentor and instructor to the PA students working alongside him, instructing them on minor surgeries and clinical diagnoses.

 

Overcash currently serves on the board of Palmetto Medical Initiative (www.palmettomedical.org), a non-profit organization that serves to take medical students and PA students overseas to participate in medical missions. They have established a training facility in Uganda along with a fully stocked operating room. The students receive intense preparatory and mid-trip training, for which they receive course credit. What's more, Overcash and other board members are working to make the participation of the PA students in clinical rotations abroad earn them course credit as well.

 

As for his immediate community involvement, Overcash is an avid volunteer at free clinics. He serves as a specialty consultant at the Dream Center in North Charleston, and occasionally as a preceptor at the CARES clinic in Mt. Pleasant. Through his efforts, he is able to teach and mentor students as well as expand the recognition of PAs. He regularly participates in other local outreach projects such as free skin cancer screenings and health fairs. He is fluent in Spanish and French and uses these to further extend health care to those in need.

 

Through all of his efforts, Overcash truly represents what PAs are striving for in South Carolina and across the nation. As he received his award, he challenged all PAs to step out of their comfort zone and reach beyond what is "expected” of them, urging all PAs to get involved outside of their office or hospital and make a difference in the community and the world.

 
2008
Arnie Metz
 

Arnie Metz was named SCAPA’s 2008 PA of the Year. Arnie has been a true proponent of the PA profession, a leader with SCAPA, an educator, and a mentor to the PA students at MUSC. He is a past director and current professor of the MUSC PA program, a past SCAPA board member, and a member of the first PA Advisory Committee to the state Board of Medical Examiners. Arnie continues to work in a clinic setting providing care of the citizens of South Carolina. He is untiring in his academic role to teach the PA students at MUSC and his dedication to making the PA profession more recognizable to the citizens of South Carolina is unmatched. Arnie is a consistent contributor to SCAPA, contributing his time, his financial support, his expertise, and his willingness to make sure that SCAPA remains a viable representative for the PAs of South Carolina. He is committed to the education of PAs in our state and to the ideals and mission statement of MUSC and the Allied Health Program. In presenting the award, Keith Stewart who nominated Arnie for this honor expressed the sentiments of the Awards Committee in stating, "I know of no other individual who is more qualified or more deserving of this award.”

 
 
2007
Martha Green
 

Martha Rawlings Green was named the 2007 PA of the Year. After working for many years in an OB/GYN practice, Martha now works for the MUSC PA Program. She currently serves as Vice President of SCAPA and has co-chaired the CME Planning Committee for the past four years. She is a dedicated SCAPA volunteer and a wonderful advocate for the PA profession.

 
2006
Lisa Sand
 

During the Fall CME Conference in October at Kiawah, Chairman of the Awards Committee and last year’s PA of the Year, Cecelia Cannon, presented the SCAPA 2006 PA of the Year Award to Lisa Sand of Columbia, SC. Lisa came to South Carolina from north of the Mason Dixon line in the early 1990’s and immediately got active in SCAPA, first serving as chair of the CME Committee for six years. In 1997, she was elected Vice President of SCAPA, but had to quickly assume the Presidency when the President stepped down unexpectedly. Lisa served as President of SCAPA for the next two years, doing an outstanding job leading SCAPA into the 21st century and representing us well at the State Board of Medical Examiners meetings. During this time, she was instrumental in working to upgrade and modify the medical practice act and worked hard to change the rules to allow a physician to employ two PA’s not one and to form a PA Advisory Committee to handle PA issues and report to the State Board of Medical Examiners. In 2000, Lisa was elected to the PA Advisory Committee where she continues to serve admirably. Lisa has been a powerful advocate for our profession. She represents the ideal PA. She has always accepted the challenge and also has served as a mentor for students. She has accepted positions of responsibility without fear and has proven herself to be a PA of integrity. Congratulations Lisa on a well deserved honor.

 
2005
Cecilia Cannon
 
During the Fall CME Conference in October at Kiawah, SCAPA President CJ Parris presented the SCAPA PA of the Year Award to Cecilia Cannon of Pacolet, SC. In presenting the award, CJ read from the nomination submitted by last year's recipient Becky Miller. "In the spirit of taking time to honor some of the early SCAPA 'old timers,' I would like to nominate Cecilia Cannon.. Back when SCAPA was a phoenix rising from the ashes (Remember, MUSC closed the program for 10 years and during the first 5 years SCAPA ceased to exist), Cecilia acted as our Newsletter Editor. She won at least two national (AAPA) awards for those news letters (Best Chapter Newsletter), bringing national attention to our little organization (less than 25 members at that time) as well as lending the organization and the profession validation on the local front. Her contributions were integral to SCAPA getting back on its feet and going on to become the organization that it today. I think few current members are aware of how humble and precarious the early days of this organization were, and it makes me incredibly proud to have lived it and tosee it blossom!" A speechless Cecilia graciously accepted the award and also agreed to serve as SCAPA's new historian. Congratulations Cecilia on a well deserved honor.
 
2004
Becky Miller
 
Becky Miller of Lowcountry Women's Specialists was named SCAPA's 2004 PA of the Year at the recent Fall CME Conference at Kiawah Island. The award was presented to Becky by her co-worker and co-chair of the CME Planning Committee, Martha Green. The Awards Committee, chaired by Kim Weiss Reisenaur, selected Becky for this year's award because of her unselfish service to SCAPA, for her long history of promoting the PA profession in SC, and most importantly for improving the health care for thousands of women in SC in the past and into the future. Becky served as the SCAPA CME Coordinator long before "SCAPA was cool"....back when there was plenty of work to be done, but no workers to be found. As the CME coordinator, she nearly single handedly coordinated the annual conference, which is the "financial engine" that keeps SCAPA rolling. Without Becky's effort, SCAPA could have simply withered on the vine. Subsequently, she served as the Charleston Area Rep for many years on SCAPA Board of Directors. Becky has a long and excellent record of providing health care services for thousands of women in the Lowcountry area and has provided outstanding care in a primary care field to compliment the outstanding work of her physicians. She has the respect and admiration of her physician supervisors, her PA colleagues, and the thousands of patients that she has cared for throughout her almost 20 year career. Becky has remained loyal to her calling and has given back generously to the profession through her past efforts and current support for SCAPA and for the many PA students and prospective students that she has mentored.
 
2003
Kirk Heinold
 

Kirk Heinold was named SCAPA’s Physician Assistant of the Year for 2003. In presenting the award, PA of the Year Committee Chair Kim Weiss attributed SCAPA’s successes to Kirk’s dedication and outstanding leadership. Kirk served as SCAPA President for three years during which time SCAPA management moved from Washington, DC to South Carolina. SCAPA participated in its first PPAP program (strategic planning and leadership training through AAPA), SCAPA hosted one of the largest Southeast Regional Meetings (SERM) for AAPA, SCAPA received the AAPA Award of Excellence for the first time, and attendance at SCAPA’s Annual Fall CME Conference increased by 50%. Kirk has also represented SCAPA at the AAPA House of Delegates meeting for the past several years and was recently selected to serve on the AAPA Reimbursement Committee. In addition to being honored by SCAPA, Kirk also received the Outstanding Community Teacher Award from the graduating class of the Trident/MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program for his efforts in coordinating their orthopaedic clinical rotations and workshop instruction on orthopaedic issues. Kirk manages to balance his work for SCAPA and the physician assistant profession with a very demanding work schedule and still spend quality time with wife and four kids.

 
2002
Buck Harvey
 

During the closing night cookout at the Fall CME Conference and with his family in attendance, H. Buck Harvey, PA-C was named SCAPA’s 2002 PA of the Year. In presenting the award to his long time friend and colleague Arnie Metz recognized the many accomplishments and attributes that lead to Buck receiving this award.


Buck Harvey has been the epitome of the original spirit of the PA Profession for nearly 20 years. As a rural health care PA, Buck has provided outstanding and unselfish service to the citizens of Hampton County, South Carolina throughout his career. Not only has Buck provided the high quality, cost effective health care that we all strive for, but he has taken a significant role in fostering the same spirit in many other PA’s as well. As one of the early leaders of SCAPA, Buck helped to develop what today has grown into a unified voice for PA’s in SC. As an adjunct professor of the Physician Assistant Program at the Medical University of SC, Buck has often volunteered for presentations to the PA’s of the future. He also serves as a highly regarded clinical instructor for PA students on rotations as well. Buck has been a constant voice and figure for rural health care in SC. Not only has he dedicated his professional career to this cause, but he has also given much of himself personally. Buck recently served as the first Physician Assistant ever to hold the position of President of the SC Rural Health Association. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Low Country Area Health Education Consortium, Inc. and is a member of the Hampton County Council.

 

Congratulations Buck for being selected as the 2002 SCAPA PA of the Year, and for your accomplishments as a PA, community leader, mentor, and as a longstanding SCAPA leader, contributor, and role model.


 
2001
Keith Stewart

Keith Stewart was awarded the inaugural SCAPA PA of the Year Award. As a physician assistant in rural South Carolina for many years, Keith was selected by the committee for the outstanding care provided to his patients, his unselfish mentoring to PA students, and his efforts as the Chairman of the newly formed PA Advisory Committee to the Board of Medical Examiners.


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