We are better together

August 2019 – Vol. 38, No. 7

Society of Physician Assistants in Otorhinolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery (SPAO) report

Kristi Gidley, PA-C, MSHA,
Liaison AAPA to AAO-HNSF

The SPAO Board of Directors seeks to advocate for the physician assistant profession in otolaryngology through education offerings and collaboration with AAPA and AAO-HNS/F leadership, with the goal of promoting the growth and development of all members. The 2019-2021 Board members are outlined below and can be contacted directly by visiting https://entpa.org/board.

  • President Jose Mercado
  • President Elect Kristi Gidley
  • Past President Jennifer Brooks
  • Treasurer Kevin Prater
  • Secretary Howard Ritz
  • Directors at Large
    Laura Kirk
    Brigitte Shaw
    Kimberly Lakhan
    Trina Sheedy
  • AAPA House of Delegate Representative Susan Kepes
  • Liaison AAPA to AAO-HNSF Kristi Gidley
  • CME Committee Chair Marie Gilbert
  • Scholarship Committee Chair Ryan Marovich
  • Membership Committee Chair Nabilah Ali
  • Newsletter Committee Chair Brittany Gunville

In 2018, AAO-HNS/F debuted the “We are One” campaign and brand. According to James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F EVP/CEO, “It will take a concerted effort by all participants in the healthcare delivery system as well as the patients to create a focus on the high-quality care that this country’s citizens deserve. A great strength of our organization is the diversity of thought, experience, and culture that provides a basis for an even better product that all our patients deserve. The ‘all-hands-on-deck’ strategy accentuates the fact that we all need each other to succeed.”

Physician Assistants (PAs) represent many of the hands on deck and we agree; we are better together. The Society of Physician Assistants in Otorhinolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery (SPAO) is the official specialty organization for PAs in ENT. Founded in 1991, SPAO is a nonprofit constituent organization of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). It operates exclusively for the educational and scientific benefit of its members. Various membership categories are available for AAPA Fellow PAs, nonfellow PAs, NPs, physicians, and students. More information can be found at https://entpa.org/membership.

One of the many ways SPAO advocates for the field is by identifying a pipeline of talented and motivated PAs. SPAO is proud to provide scholarships to PA students interested in pursuing otolaryngology as a career.

The principal event for SPAO is the ENT for the PA-C meeting that occurs in the spring annually. Highlights of this meeting are the high-quality, hands-on workshops, such as basic and advanced scoping, tracheostomy care, basic and advanced otology, ENT procedures, and ENT coding. Simulation labs offer an introduction to first assisting on open and robotic head and neck surgeries. The education sessions are organized by Core and Advanced tracks to ensure participants, regardless of experience level, will find valuable and relevant learning opportunities. The next meeting will be held April 3-5, 2020, at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco, CA. Further validating team-based care, SPAO and AAO-HNSF are planning an Otolaryngology Practice Symposium as part of the annual ENT for the PA-C meeting, where physician-APP teams share best practices, challenges, and solutions to ensure we are providing high-quality otolaryngology care. We hope to see you there.